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Kaspersky: ‘Greater frenzy’ of global cybercrime during COVID-19 lockdowns

Kaspersky Labs (Alexander Plushev/WikiCommons)

This article was originally published by Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty and is reprinted with permission.

Russian cybersecurity magnate and the CEO of the Moscow-based cybersecurity Kaspersky Lab says cybercrimes have risen during lockdowns introduced across the world to slow down the coronavirus spread, adding that the majority of cybercriminals are Russian-speakers.

In an interview with the TASS news agency that was published on May 14, Yevgeny Kaspersky said that the quarantines “have forced cybercriminals to hunt for prey with greater frenzy.”

“Every day we fish out several million files on the suspicion they may have malicious functions. Also, every day we identify more than 300,000 malicious samples we’ve never come across,” Kaspersky said, adding that each of those samples can be used hundreds of times.

According to Kaspersky, as people have to stay at home due to the coronavirus, they spend more time surfing the net to buy food and other items and sometimes venture into no-go areas, which has led to an increase in cyberattacks by 25 percent globally.

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Kaspersky also said that Russia and some other former Soviet republics train “the best programmers in the world,” but that has a negative side, too, as the world’s most advanced hackers are mainly Russian-speakers.

Programmers from Russia and other former Soviet states earn much less than their counterparts in the West, partially explaining the greater proclivity to engage in cybercrimes.

“We are known for having the world’s best programmers and software developers, but also for having the world’s top hackers. They all graduated from the same universities but went on different paths in the end. While one part works to create something new, the other one seeks to hack and destroy. In almost 100 percent of the cases, the hackers’ motivation is the same — to reap money, and money again, and still more money, and not only from a victim, but also from their clients,” Kaspersky said.

The United States has arrested several Russians hackers over the past year.