* Kaspersky warns nation's cyber warfare can get out of hand
* Says governments must cooperate and software redesigned
By Tova Cohen and Maayan Lubell
TEL AVIV, June 6 Eugene Kaspersky, whose lab
discovered the Flame virus that has attacked computers in Iran
and elsewhere in the Middle East, said on Wednesday only a
global effort could stop a new era of "cyber terrorism".
"It's not cyber war, it's cyber terrorism and I'm afraid
it's just the beginning of the game ... I'm afraid it will be
the end of the world as we know it," Kaspersky told reporters at
a cyber security conference in Tel Aviv.
"I'm scared, believe me," he said.
News of the Flame virus surfaced last week. Researchers said
technical evidence suggests it was built for the same nation or
nations that commissioned the Stuxnet worm that attacked Iran's
nuclear programme in 2010.
In recent months U.S. officials have become more open about
the work of the United States and Israel on Stuxnet, which
targeted Iran's Natanz nuclear enrichment facility.
The West suspects Iran is developing atomic weapons. Tehran
denies this and says it is enriching uranium only for civilian
Security experts say Flame is one of the most sophisticated
pieces of malicious software so far discovered. They are still
investigating the virus, which they believe was released
specifically to infect computers in Iran and across the Middle
Kaspersky named the United States, Britain, Israel, China,
Russia and possibly India, Japan and Romania as countries with
the ability to develop such software, but stopped short of
saying which nation he thought was behind Flame.
When asked whether Israel was part of the solution or part
of the problem regarding cyber war, Kaspersky said: "Both."
"Flame is extremely complicated but I think many countries
can do the same or very similar, even countries that don't have
enough of the expertise at the moment. They can employ engineers
or kidnap them, or employ 'hacktivists'," he said.
"These ideas are spreading too fast," Kaspersky later said,
"That cyber boomerang may get back to you."
Kaspersky said governments must cooperate to stop such
attacks, as they have done with nuclear, biological and chemical
weapons. Operating systems must be redesigned, he added.
"Software that manages industrial systems or transportation
or power grids or air traffic, they must be based on secure
operating systems. Forget about Microsoft, Linux, Unix."
Kaspersky said malware like Flame and Stuxnet have a limited
lifetime and that undiscovered viruses could be out there.
"It's quite logical that there are new cyber weapons
designed and maybe there are computers which are infected."
At the conference Kaspersky got celebrity treatment, with
students huddled around to have their picture taken with him. He
spoke alongside Israel Defence Minister Ehud Barak and top
security experts from leading hi-tech companies.
Barak said a more comprehensive approach was necessary to
deal with cyber threats and it required cooperation on an
"The damage you can save yourself from proper defence may be
more than what you achieve through the offensive action, though
both aspects exist," Barak said.