Mikko Hypponen has spent his life reverse engineering malware. He has seen the industry grow from the casual exchange of floppy disks 28 years ago, to the multi-billion dollar industry it is today.
But now, the F-Secure chief research officer is more worried than he has ever been. “The situation is developing faster than ever before,” Hypponen told a conference in Sydney.
“The most surprising thing I have seen in 24 years of working with computer security is that our enemies turn out to be our own governments.”
“Democratic Western governments are today developing and deploying malware. This would have been science fiction just a few years ago. Today it’s a reality.”
Hypponen was quick to stress that this was not the most pressing concern for individuals or business.
“If you look at individuals and companies here in Australia, the most likely attack they will run into is not going to be Governmental malware, or targeted espionage. They are going to run into criminal attacks. Organised crime using cyber attacks and malware to make money.
“The surprising thing is how creative those criminal gangs are when converting an infected computer or infected phone into cash.”
He went on to detail the most common types of Malware attacks in Australia in 2014.
Hypponen said that the most at risk program for the last two years is Java. He also detailed a number of exploit kits being developed and sold to online criminals for the purposes of hacking systems. He also spoke at length about the advent of ransomware, describing it as the biggest headache the firm has had to deal with in the last 18 months.
Hypponen has also allegedly been a target of Western Governments (US, UK, Australia, New Zealand and Canada) attempting to ride the coat tails of security professionals in the pursuit of mutual targets.
The allegation comes from documents reportedly leaked by Edward Snowden.