If Russian cybersecurity magnate Eugene Kaspersky rarely steps away from a challenge, this week has been even more combative than usual. On Tuesday the Moscow-based chief of Kaspersky Lab gave an interview in which he claimed that the world’s top hackers all come from Russia.
“If you take the highly professional segment of cybercrime, you’ll see that all top cyber villains speak Russian,” Kaspersky told news agency TASS yesterday. “We boast the world’s best programmers, and software developers, along with the world’s top hackers, too.
“All of them went to the same universities, but the end result turned out to be different,” Kaspersky added. “Whereas the first group tries to create something new, the other half seeks to hack and ruin.”
As part of the far-ranging interview, Kaspersky insisted that his company’s operations had not been catastrophically affected by the Coronavirus. “Like before, hackers mostly stay at home,” he said. “Their activity is a remote mode of operation.” Russia now has over 250,000 cases of the virus, making it the third most-affected nation by COVID-19 after the US and Spain (Chinese figures notwithstanding).
Kaspersky says his collegues prefer Microsoft Teams or WhatsApp to Zoom for video conferencing. “It looks like those who created (Zoom) did not care about protecting communication from outsiders at all,” he said. “Now they’ve begun to correct the mistakes, but some questions remain.”
The interview comes in a week when Kaspersky—who travels frequently and blogs about it on his personal website—announced the creation of an accelerator for the tourism industry, called ‘Kaspersky Exploring Russia.’ The platform will receive entries until May 29.
“Our team, including me personally, wish to provide a platform from which to help entrepreneurs within this beleaguered industry see their ideas come to fruition,” said Kaspersky. “This will include marketing and media support as well as creating a forum for them to attract both attention and investment from large companies, businesses and foundations.”
With borders shutting worldwide, tourism is one of the pandemic’s most-affected sectors. The OECD predicts a drop of up to 70% in travel among its 36 members states. Up to a third of all travelers will cancel their plans this year.