Military cyber weapons could become available on the dark web: Interpol

Digital tools used by the military to wage cyber warfare could eventually end up in the hands of cybercriminals, a senior Interpol official has warned.

Jurgen Stock, secretary general of the international police agency, said he was concerned that state-developed cyberweapons could become available on the darknet – a hidden part of the internet that is not accessible via search engines. search like Google – in a few years.

“This is a major concern in the physical world – weapons that are used on the battlefield and tomorrow will be used by organized crime groups,” Stock said during a CNBC-moderated panel at the World Economic Forum in Davos. , in Switzerland, on Monday.

“The same goes for digital weapons that maybe today are used by the military, developed by the military, and tomorrow will be available to criminals,” he added.

Cyberweapons come in many forms, with ransomware – where hackers lock down a company’s computer systems and demand a ransom to restore control – being a key component. The subject of cyber warfare has long preoccupied world governments, but it has received renewed attention amid the Russian-Ukrainian war.

Moscow has been blamed for numerous cyberattacks that took place before and during its military invasion of Ukraine. The Kremlin has always denied these accusations. Meanwhile, Ukraine has enlisted volunteer hackers from around the world to help defend against Russian aggression.

Stock called on business leaders to strengthen their cooperation with governments and law enforcement authorities to ensure more effective policing of cybercrime.

“On the one hand, we are aware of what is happening – on the other hand, we need the data, which is in the private sector,” he said.

“We need your [cyber breach] reports. Without your reports, we are blind.”

A “large number” of cyberattacks go unreported, Stock said. “It’s a gap we need to bridge together, not just law enforcement who demand that we build bridges between our silos, the islands of information.”

The number of cyber attacks more than doubled worldwide in 2021, according to the World Economic Forum’s Global Cybersecurity Outlook report. According to the report, ransomware remains the most popular type of attack, with organizations being targeted 270 times per year on average.

Cybersecurity incidents endanger critical energy infrastructure and supply chains, leaders and government officials on the panel said.

Robert Lee, CEO and co-founder of cybersecurity firm Dragos, urged companies to focus on real-world scenarios – like the Russian state-backed attack on Ukraine’s power grid in 2015 – rather than risks more hypothetical. Ukraine rebuffed a similar attempt to compromise its energy infrastructure in April this year.

“Our problem is not that we need ‘next-gen’ AI or blockchain or anything else,” Lee said. “Our problem is usually deploying things that we’ve already invested in.”

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