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5 things we learnt at Kaspersky NeXT 2020

October 2020 by Kaspersky

This year’s Kaspersky NeXT event embraced some of the most significant evolutions in cybersecurity from the most extraordinary of years. Addressing past shortfalls across Europe’s healthcare sector, present dangers in mobile banking, and future opportunities in the field of augmentation, here are five things we learnt from the discussion.

Augmentation is both a threat and an opportunity

A stage-headlining discussion between four of the industry’s most informed analysts couldn’t yield a definitive, universal consensus as to whether human augmentation is more of a threat or an opportunity.

Kaspersky’s David Jacoby and Marco Preuss were joined by American transhumanist, Zoltan Istvan and Australian philosopher, Julian Savulescu to discuss the evolution, impacts, ethics and forecasts regarding human enhancement through digital means.

Jacoby veered towards the former notion of threat, built upon fears of identity mismanagement and the creation of an access gap where only wealthier individuals and states would reap the benefits of super strength, speed or intellect.

On ‘team opportunity’ Istvan led the way, citing the importance of liberty among individuals to choose how they better themselves. Final agreement: a positive glance towards augmentation’s potential as a gamechanger for people with disabilities and afflictions.

We can’t let augmentation be another IoT

One overriding conclusion from this discussion is that it will be market forces, rather than strategic regulation, that dictates the acceleration of human augmentation into mainstream consciousness.
As Wired posed as long ago as 2014: “…where there’s attention, buckets of cash soon follow, and even the most egregious ideas end up with their piece of the pie if only the caterwauling is loud enough.”
This was in direct reference to IoT’s premature acceleration into the enterprise domain. Those buying simply couldn’t keep up with those selling, and levels of privacy, cost-effectiveness, workability, and – of course – security fell by the wayside.
This time, we’re dealing with people’s bodies and minds. Jumping into the trend without deliberating ethics, regulations and impacts, FIRST, is a dangerous idea.

Cerberus is very much alive

There has been an immediate rise in mobile application infections and attempts to steal money from consumers across Russia and Europe – all coming from an Android banking malware that was presumed dead earlier this summer. The rise of Cerberus follows the leak of its full source code on underground forums back in July, and Kaspersky’s Dmitry Galov was on hand during this session to dissect its reincarnation, while alerting mobile banking users to protective actions.

The malware’s two factor authentication grabbing feature and remote access tool (RAT) functionality enables the now-free malware to steal and send SMS codes, open tailored overlays for online banking applications, and to access customer credit card and contact details, amid a host of evolved capabilities. Hospitals aren’t immune to cyberattacks

What 2020 and COVID-19 have demonstrated is that some sectors and some enterprises are more vulnerable to cyberattacks than others. In March alone, Kaspersky witnessed a 30,000% increase in phishing, malicious websites and malware, as evidence that cybercriminals saw lockdown as a prime opportunity. But surely not healthcare?

Wrong. Echoing the 2017 NHS Wannacry attack, attempts to breach Brno University Hospital in the Czech Republic and even the World Health Organisation soon after, put the sector on high alert that the coronavirus wouldn’t be the only test for them this year.

However, as explained by Cyber Volunteers 19 co-founder, Lisa Forte, the threat of attacks has shone light on a concerning trend within the healthcare industry. With some hospitals comprising only two-strong IT teams, and some doctors even sharing - and losing - patient data from home, a lack of funding, manpower and education have all been brought to the fore.

Good overcomes evil: the information security community unites Ending on a truly inspirational note, Lisa Forte’s regaling of the Cyber Volunteers 19 initiative showed the positive side of information security expertise.

Rallying thousands of volunteers to the cause of protecting and advising Europe’s medical institutions, Lisa explained to Kaspersky’s Yury Namestnikov both why and how CV19 intervened.

A multilingual, pan-European report has already been distributed across Europe; an awareness campaign is currently being promoted by nations’ independent Computer Emergency Response Teams (CERTs); and sister movements in Australia, Dubai, Brazil and the US have also mobilised.

Compounded by the upcoming film, hacker:HUNTER H(ack)cine, which previewed at NeXT, the healthcare sector is coming to terms with its cybersecurity shortcomings, and is in good hands as it looks to safeguard more appropriately in the future.

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