Russian PC protection takes the internet security fight to IT fraudsters

Antivirus software developers say Russia retains leadership in IT related fraud, but Kaspersky Labs is leading the fight against it from within Russia.

Up to 3 million malicious programmes are created every month, which makes plenty to keep anti-virus developers busy. Evgeny Kaspersky, the head of Kaspersky Lab, Russia’s biggest internet security firm, says his industry is the only one that hasn’t suffered from the financial downturn.

“We are the company which enjoys the financial crisis because we’re in a very protected area, we are in IT security services. I don’t know anyone who stopped using Internet because of the financial crisis.”

But users across the world still don’t feel protected, with over 73 million cyber-crimes registered globally in 2009. Though half of the attacks were made from China, Russia retains the ‘gold medal’ for fraudulent hackers. According to Anna Aleksandrova, marketing director at Kaspersky Lab, the damage to the global financial system is calculated in hundreds of millions of Russian Roubles.

“In January several millions of Russians suffered from virus attacks which blocked their computers. The malicious programme demanded to send costly text messages to unblock computers. Losses reached hundreds of millions of Roubles.”

A recent survey says that despite the cyber-threat only 29% of Russians use licensed antivirus software, with the rest using either bootlegged copies or freeware from the internet. But the head of Kaspersky Lab says most of the free software has no immunity against sophisticated viruses and warns that a miser pays twice.