Kaspersky Lab's annual Cyber Security Weekend took place on April 17-20 in Baku, and brought together company experts, journalists and business guests from the Middle East, Turkey, Africa and the host country Azerbaijan. This year the main topic of the event was industrial cybersecurity, an area that is becoming increasingly important, especially following a series of high-profile incidents in recent years. The company’s experts also gave an overview of global and regional cyberthreats and security trends, discussed the main threat vectors affecting the region, including ransomware and financial fraud, and highlighted the threats to smart cities.
"The threat landscape is changing along with technologies, impacting new fields, such as industrial infrastructures, which are becoming increasingly connected. Smart cities are also developing fast with many devices, web services and cloud solutions helping people, businesses and governments grow further, but at the same time leaving them vulnerable from a security point of view. We presented our research to draw attention to these problems and how they should be dealt with," said Mohammad Amin Hasbini, Senior Security Researcher, Global Research & Analysis Team, Kaspersky Lab.
The security risks of connected devices – from home appliances to the industrial systems used in smart cities – were also on the agenda. In particular, the Kaspersky Lab experts presented their research into the security issues of smart city transport infrastructure and gave recommendations on how to address them. The field research focused on a specific type of road sensors that gather information about traffic flows, and found that the data gathered and processed by these sensors can be compromised. The research complements the work Kaspersky Lab is conducting together with Securing Smart Cities, a not-for-profit global initiative that aims to solve existing and future cybersecurity problems of smart cities.
The conference also covered instances of industrial facilities being affected by cyberthreats, including the recent BlackEnergy attack on a power grid, as well as an attack on a Swiss water treatment facility. This preceded the unveiling of Kaspersky Industrial CyberSecurity, a specialized solution designed to provide holistic cybersecurity for industrial networks and critical infrastructure, regardless of the level of industrial automation. The solution comes with unique technologies, specialized services and educational programs. Kaspersky Industrial CyberSecurity has already been successfully piloted and integrated in a number of projects, including at the VARS petrochemical terminal and TANECO oil refinery that have chosen Kaspersky Lab to protect their industrial networks.
Roman Yanukovich, SIA VARS Technical Director, commented: "VARS continuously monitors the evolution of the cyberthreat landscape and we realized that we were an increasingly vulnerable target for attack. Left unprotected, an IT security breach could severely disrupt and disable our automated operations with severe implications for the port’s commercial viability, the safety of our employees, the population of the nearby town of Ventspils, not to mention the risk of potential contamination of the Baltic Sea. Kaspersky Industrial CyberSecurity enables us to protect the terminal and its customers from such an attack."
The experts went on to present the Kaspersky Security Network statistics for January-March 2016 showing that in the Middle East, Turkey and Africa (META region) an average of 45% of users encountered security incidents related to local networks and removable media, and 15% of users faced web-related threats. The total number of cyber-incidents detected by Kaspersky Lab’s products in the Middle East during the first quarter of 2016 was up 15% compared to the same period of 2015; in South Africa the increase was 20%, while in Azerbaijan it was 4%. The total number of cyber-attacks detected in Turkey during Q1 2016 was 25% more than in Q1 2015.
Ransomware continued to spread globally and in the region, affecting both organizations and home users. The number of attacks detected and prevented by Kaspersky Lab technologies grew in all the countries of the region compared to the first quarter of 2015: in South Africa the number of ransomware incidents nearly doubled, the Middle East saw an increase of 67%, Turkey 58% and Azerbaijan 14%.
Growth in the use of mobile services in the region has attracted cybercriminals who are constantly refining their tools. According to Kaspersky Lab statistics for Q1 2016, a number of countries from the region appeared in the global top 20 rating of those who encountered incidents on their smartphones: 12% of users in Egypt (13th place), 10.7% in Turkey (14th place), 9.4% in Kenya (18th), and 9.3% in Azerbaijan (20th). Cybercriminals found that mobile malware infections were most effective when they occurred via malware in mobile applications from app stores and when malware was present in the phone’s initial software package, which was the case with a number of inexpensive devices.