Viruses and cyber crime: we talk to security expert Eugene Kaspersky

We picked the brain of Kaspersky Lab’s head honcho

PCW: You once said that Kaspersky Lab is not employees working for money, but a team looking for success. Explain this philosophy to us.

EK: Like in any business, money is important. But our belief is to have fun, to enjoy our work and its results and successes. Unfortunately, still our employees want to have salaries, but we're about to change that. [Kaspersky Lab's Head of Technology PR Group Timur Tsoriev was sitting in on the interview. Kaspersky's remark caused him to look up sharply and demand more details, to much laughter.]

PCW: Speaking of money, what effect has the current global economic crisis had on Kaspersky Lab and IT security in general?

EK: Well, there are products and there are services. Because IT security companies deliver updates, we are not so badly affected — if your anti-virus software is out of date, it doesn’t exist. So we’re in a [financially] safer area. Of course, there has been an impact from the financial crisis, which has slowed us down. More consumers are using pirated versions of our software, and businesses have started to count every licence because of reduced budgets. This all affects our business, but it is not depressing and we are still growing. We have not cut our expenses.

PCW: You've long supported the idea of Internet passports or ID cards for every Internet user. Do you think this is something consumers would embrace or resist?

EK: It requires much organisation and combining of many things: security solutions and endpoints, Internet passports, cyber police, user education — all this has to be done. Before driving a car, you first need to educate [yourself] and get a driver’s licence. Probably in school, or kindergarten, we have to educate kids how to use the Internet — what to do there, what not to do there. Then we introduce an Internet ‘driving’ licence to them.

PCW: You've frequently expressed doubts about the rumoured links between cyber criminals and organised crime such as the Mafia. And yet, there is obviously money to be made from online crime. What makes you doubt the involvement of traditional criminal organisations?

EK: Cyber criminals have more money [laughs]! Who is paying whom? Cyber criminals have the funds to acquire traditional criminals if they wish — it’s not the other way around. Still, we don’t have any reports from police about this connection. When traditional criminals are arrested there are no links to cyber criminals, and when cyber criminals are arrested there are no links to traditional criminals. Also, most organised crime members are not well educated; they do not understand IT — cyber crime is just IT people.

PCW: And finally, apart from thwarting cyber criminals, what does Eugene Kaspersky do for fun?

EK: Ha! I love to record videos when I am on the road. I film them on my (still) camera and they are sent to my fan club in Moscow for editing. You can find them on our forum page; Kaspersky on the Road Again. Unfortunately it is all in Russian! [Note: to watch a video of Eugene’s arrival in Dubrovnik for the Kaspersky Lab Press Tour, click here.]

Chris Jager flew to Croatia as a guest of Kaspersky Lab.

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Chris Jager

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