Addressing a conference on cyber security in Turkey, Mikko Hypponen, Finland-based F-Secure’s head of research, said he would rather pay for Google and similar companies’ services with money than his privacy.
“Google services are free, which is actually weird when you look at how much money it invests in its infrastructure. It is the fourth-largest service manufacturer although you can’t go to a store and buy a Google service, which is something really odd,” he said.
“We made them $12 billion in profit last year without paying a cent. That’s the value of our data,” he added.
Touching upon the changing nature of malware makers over the years, Hypponen said the “teenage boys with no motives” making viruses at the beginning now had various motives, with some of them making millions or using technology to protest.
“It is now governments writing malware. They have much more budgets and resources than anyone else,” he said.
Upon a question about the cyber threats Turkey faces, Hypponen said attacks are everywhere and Turkey is no different.
“However, Turkey is creating more malware than it should. There are active organized crime gangs operating right here from Turkey. We have seen many large carding gangs involved in stealing credit card information,” he said.
Hypponen said they saw Russian government in action launching spying cyber attacks when the Russian-Ukrainian crisis started to escalate in 2013.
Pointing to China as another example of governmental cyber attacks, Hypponen says Chinese state espionage targeted defense contractors, companies and ministries in the West, and claimed these assaults were continuing today.
“Protestors in Hong Kong got a message through What’sApp on their mobile phones that looked like one of the organizers of protest suggested demonstrators download an application to organize protests,” adding it was malware demonstrators think was sent by the government in Beijing.
The two-month old democracy protests in Hong Kong are being seen as the biggest challenge to Beijing's grip over the former British colony since the handover in 1997.
Hypponen said another two countries on the hotspot cybercrime list are North Korea and Iran which he claimed were the target of cyber attacks due to their nuclear activities.