Interpol secretary warns: malware developed by states must not fall into the hands of criminals

Interpol secretary warns: malware developed by states must not fall into the hands of criminals

29. May 2022 0 By Horst Buchwald

Interpol secretary warns: malware developed by states must not fall into the hands of criminals

Brussels, 29.5 . 2022

In the ongoing conflict between Russia and Ukraine, malware developed by state and non-state actors poses a serious threat to critical infrastructure and organizations worldwide.

Threat actors could reverse engineer military-produced malicious code and deploy their own versions in attacks in the wild. The scenario also opens the doors for false flag operations. National actors could have access to cyberweapons used in conflict and use them in attacks in the wild, making attribution impossible.

“That’s a big problem in the physical world – weapons used on the battlefield and used tomorrow by organized crime groups,” Juergen Stock, Interpol’s secretary general, said during a CNBC-moderated panel discussion at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, on Monday.

“The same is true for digital weapons that may be used and developed by the military today and will be available to criminals tomorrow,” he said.

In the first months after Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, security firms observed numerous attacks on Ukrainian government agencies and organizations. Russia-linked APT groups used Wiper to take down targeted systems. In some cases, these attacks hit companies operating in other regions, such as VIASAT.

Earlier this month, the European Union blamed Russia for the cyberattack that hit the KA-SAT satellite network operated by Viasat in Ukraine on Feb. 24.

This cyberattack caused communications outages and disruptions in Ukraine and also impacted several EU member states. 5,800 Enercon wind turbines in Germany were unavailable due to the impact of this attack. Security researchers at SentinelLabs, who investigated the attack, discovered a previously undiscovered destructive wiper known as AcidRain that attacked routers and modems.

Stock urged close cooperation between governments and law enforcement to prevent nation-state malware from spreading on the dark web.

“On one hand, we know what’s going on – on the other hand, we need the data that’s in the private sector,” Stock said. “We need your reports [of cyber breaches]. Without your reports, we are blind” Stock emphasized. That gap, he said, needs to be closed – and it needs to be closed together.

 

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