The discovery of the new super virus Flame marks “a before and after” for the whole antivirus industry, says Janus R. Nielsen, security expert and CEO of MYSecurityCenter. He encourages the industry to rethink how we shall combat increasingly sophisticated cyber crime.
The world’s most advanced virus
Virus Flame, which was discovered by the Russian-based security firm Kaspersky Lab has recently surprised even the most experienced security experts. With its enormous size of 20 megabytes and its advanced codes that are likely to have taken at least five programmers working for a year to develop, it is the largest and most complex virus the world has ever seen. Its ability is indeed very impressive. It is an intelligent spyware program that can control virtually anything on your computer, it deletes itself without a trace, encrypts its own codes and organizes the data it collects. It can systematically intercept keystrokes and secretly activate the built-in microphone or webcam that exits in many laptops. It can propagate itself via network and decidedly harm the machines it has penetrated, primarily in military units, private businesses and governments.
We must think out of the box
“The most frightening thing is that Flame has been active since 2010 but has just recently discovered. That in itself should cause some self reflection throughout my industry, “says Janus R. Nielsen. He explains that while ordinary users should not be afraid of a virus as the Flame, he will nevertheless describe the discovery of it as a before and an after in the antivirus industry. There is according to him, no doubt that this is the kind of attack method, we will see in the future, also on millions of home PCs worldwide. “Flame is so complex and so cleverly designed that it surpasses anything we have seen so far. It is for sure not the only virus that is secretly doing damage out there, not now nor in the future. Therefore, we must ask ourselves how we can rethink the whole way that the antivirus software works. We must dare to think out of the box – we must be as innovative as the hackers. We simply have to if we want to fight them.” According to Janus R. Nielsen the antivirus developers need to continue to be proactive and operate on multiple platforms. “The antivirus industry has undergone a tremendous development since the first virus was found back in the ’70s, but now we come to a point where the professional hackers are so advanced that it puts new demands on us. It requires that we begin to think about security in a new and more comprehensive manner. This development I am looking forward to follow,” he says, adding that the safety of mobile phones must follow, as keeping smartphones secure is an even greater challenge than the PC side.
Global rather than national solution
But how do we in general meet the major challenges in fighting cyber crime? Janus R. Nielsen stresses the importance of standing together to solve the problems and suggests prioritizing more resources to the development of resistant operating systems. “It’s also positive that the national governments allocate funds to the area, and they are creating national cyber military units, but we must remember that this is not only a national problem. It will be much more effective if the governments focused on collaboration between existing stakeholders across national borders”, he says.