Cyber threat growth ‘almost exponential,’ expert says

The growth in cyber threats is happening on an “almost exponential” basis, as hackers around the world become more sophisticated, a leading expert said this week.

Adam Firestone, president of Kaspersky Government Security Solutions, called the online world an “inherently hostile environment” that can be navigated safely nonetheless with the right tools.

“As the volume of threats multiply, the likelihood that you will be confronted with a threat multiples,” Firestone told NextGov.

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“And what that should do is not terrify anyone. What that should do is say to us, ‘Hey, we really need to understand how this can affect us and what we can do to ensure continuity of operations despite what may happen.’ ”

Firestone, who oversees Kaspersky’s Washington, D.C., office, sought to strike a balanced tone when describing mounting cyber threats. The Russia-based company is one of the most frequent identifiers of NSA cyber tools.

“If I had to educate people of one thing, [from] elementary school all the way [to the] workforce, [it would be that] cyber is about risk management,” he said.

“Understand that just because the environment is neutral or hostile — like space or the ocean — doesn't mean you can't navigate it successfully. It means you have to understand the risks.”