Q&A: Here’s why the BYOD craze may lead to the need to carry two smartphones

By Byron V. Acohido

Eugene Kaspersky, co-founder and CEO of Moscow, Russia-based Kaspersky Lab, has made Kaspersky antivirus software a well-regarded product in Russia, Europe and North America. Kaspersky believes, as do several other technologists, that some day in the not too distance future many employees will routinely carry and make use of two sets of computing devices — one for company use, the other for personal use. He explains why in this LastWatchdog interview

LW: Cyberattacks, especially so-called advanced persistent threats that drill deep into corporate systems, continue to accelerate. How come?

Kaspersky: Unfortunatly for enterprises, the bad guys behind Stuxnet and DigiNotar and other such cyberattacks are extremely professional. They devote time and resources to what they’re doing, making them extremely difficult to stop.

LW: What should the good guys be doing?

Kaspersky: Enterprise networks need to be redesigned to where the digital certificate is just one layer. They need much more strict rules about who can get access to internal systems and they need to consider switching off access to certain assets.

LW: Security vendors have been preaching these same best practices for years. What’s different today?

Kaspersky: Today there are so many more attacks than even just two years ago. Companies are getting compromised everywhere, in the United States, Europe and Japan. Thousands of corporations have been attacked in Russia, so now Russia has finally joined the club of victims.

LW: So what’s next?

Kaspersky: We are now in a much bigger arms race. Enterprises will pay more attention to security and have stricter rules for security systems. The bad guys won’t stop. They’ll invest more into new attack technologies. It’s a new level of the arms race.

TL: What does this mean for employees who bring their personal touch tablets and smartphones to work, and spend time during the workday on Facebook and other social networks?

Kaspersky: I’m afraid there’s going to be no more freedom for social network use in certain kinds of strict work environments. Instant messaging and e-mail for personal use needs to be limited. Employees will have a front line computer, with full access, but any personal-use devices mst be disconnected from the corporate environment.

LW: Doesn’t that scenario run counter to the rising popularity of cool mobile devices and our increasing reliance on Web apps and cloud services?

Kaspersky: Yes, it is a big step. But for critical environments, very, very strict rules are needed. It is the only way to fight effectively with the bad guys. Enterprises don’t need to be paranoid. But they must pay attention to security and understand the different scenarios of how the bad guys can get in. They need to understand how much damage can be caused. Risk management must be much more strict.

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