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WATCH: Eugene Kaspersky: Flame virus has opened a “Pandora’s box” for global terrorists, cyber weaponry much easier to produce than conventional military hardware.

In dramatic conference, founder of Kaspersky Labs tells Tel Aviv press corps that release of Flame could usher in “the end of the world as we know it.” Calls on nation-states to cease and desist from cyber weapons development for the safety of future generations

 (N.B. PLEASE WATCH ALL FOLLOWING VIDEO WITH HEADPHONES).

Eugene Kaspersky at Tel Aviv University on Wednesday

Eugene Kaspersky, the CEO of Kaspersky Labs told reporters in Tel Aviv Wednesday (6 June 2012) that the recent discovery of the so-called “flame” virus could mark the beginning of a terrifying new era in cyber-warfare and terrorism.

When asked what the planet would look like after a worldwide cyber-terrorist attack, Kaspersky’s answer was surprising: “Die Hard 4”, he responded, the last instalment of the popular Bruce Willis action movies.  The film’s plot revolves around a group of hackers wreaking havoc on the U.S. by taking control of transportation, infrastructure and military systems.  “In this movie, Hollywood has taught the possibilities of cyber-war to the bad guys”, said Kaspersky.

At the Tel Aviv University press conference, Kaspersky called on the global bodies such as the UN to take steps towards developing a framework of international law and cooperation to deal with the new threat posed by cyber-warfare.  This is the only way to solve the problem says the Anti-virus magnate, as no anti-virus or security software can prevent outbreaks like this from occurring in the future.

However, there are some in Israel who have attempted to downplay the importance of Flame. Zvi Netiv for example, a security expert at NetZ Computing contends that Flame has been “over-hyped”.  In response, Timor Tsoriev, Chief of Staff at Kaspersky Labs, told the Israeli Internationalist that such claims were ridiculous and completely erroneous.

“Flame is a totally unique phenomenon”, said Mr Tsoriev.  “It’s incredibly complex and has been evolving year upon year, going through multiple versions while active in the wild.  “In short, Flame is a masterpiece.  It marks a new and unprecedented step in the development of malicious programs,” he said.

My photo from Kaspersky press conference featured on Times of Israel frontpage, June 6th 2012

In particular both Kaspersky and Tsoriev are worried that terrorists, cyber-criminals or so-called “hacktivists” could get their hands on the sophisticated code of viruses such as Flame, thus unleashing mayhem on a global-scale.  At present many states possess the know-how and capability to develop highly sophisticated cyber-weapons including lesser-known computing heavyweights such as Romania or Portugal for example.  Even states like Iran which may not have the expertise at the moment to develop weapons-grade software, can easily recruit or even kidnap engineers in the future warns Kaspersky.

“I’m scared, believe me” he said, “if we continue developing weapons like this and going down this path, I’m afraid it could be the end of the world as we know it.  The world will become a very different place.”

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