June 13, 2013

Mikko Hyppönen knows cyber-threats

"Beware of shady messages on the internet. If something is too good to be true, at least on the internet it definitely is," advises Mikko Hyppönen.
"Beware of shady messages on the internet. If something is too good to be true, at least on the internet it definitely is," advises Mikko Hyppönen.

Following the bombshell news in the US about systematic surveillance on popular websites by US intelligence agencies, Mikko Hyppönen, chief research officer for F-Secure, became an even busier man. As usual, demand for the expert’s statements on the matter was high.

Prying into web users’ business infuriates Mikko Hyppönen. The recent news bombshell proved that international internet espionage and electronic communications data surveillance are serious and real cyber-threats.

“The PRISM program used in the US for surveillance is a worrisome example of how a government can abuse its authority on the internet,” Hyppönen says. “By monitoring data communications in the rest of the world, the program chips away at everyone’s privacy.”

Data security pioneer

Hyppönen can be called a data guru, and with good reason. The research officer, who started working for the data security company F-Secure in 1991, is known in Finland and abroad as a sought-after data security expert, speaker and performer.

Hyppönen has been a member of the Computer Antivirus Research Organization since 1995. In 2011 he was ranked 61st in Foreign Policy Magazine’s list of the Top 100 Global Thinkers. The magazine described him as “a leading expert on cybersecurity”. Hyppönen is a prime example of Finnish know-how and pioneering status in the sector.

“Considering its size, Finland has an incredibly extensive data security sector,” Hyppönen says. “For decades now we have also had an exceptional amount of training in the sector and, as a result, a high level of competence in it. Our recent cyber-security strategy, which we can use as an example for the rest of the world, also attests to this.”

Security, security, security!

Hyppönen points out that when Finns communicate using Gmail, Hotmail, Outlook.com, Facebook and Twitter or when they exchange files on, for example, Dropbox, the majority of the messages travel via the US.

“Windows users also face the threat of automated exploit kit malware tools from websites, which increase the vulnerability of software programs,” Hyppönen says. “Even in the mobile world, Android users are increasingly coming into contact with malware.”

According to Hyppönen, every web user today is exposed to threats, and the situation is not likely to improve in the future. Hyppönen again urges people to protect themselves in every possible way:

“Be sure to back-up your computers, tablets and mobile phones so that even if your house burns to the ground, you can still get your data back,” Hyppönen advises. “Update your system, meaning make sure that all operating systems and system software in your devices are always the latest ones offered. It’s also a good idea to install a security product for added protection against cyber-threats.”

Text by: Sari Okko

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