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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Workers Are No. 1 Threat to Russia's IT

Hackers may the greatest danger to computer systems in the West, but in Russia the biggest problems are employees, legislative failings and vandalism.

Only 2 percent of damage to computer systems in Russia is connected with hackers, said Ivan Kurnosov, deputy head of the Communications Ministry's information department.

Some 55 percent of damaging incidents are the result of employee errors, according to the Documentary Electronic Communications Association, while 25 percent are caused by intentional employee abuse.

Russia's biggest problem, however, is the continuing absence of laws to combat the majority of computer crimes, said Yelena Volchinskaya, a consultant with the State Duma security committee.

"There is nothing in our legislation that outlaws spam," she said, referring to junk e-mail.

Dangerous attacks like flooding servers with fake requests from different computers are not considered a crime under Russian law, she said.

"Denial of Service" attacks, as they are called, are considered the most widespread and dangerous form of computer crime in the world.

The Documentary Electronic Communications Association is developing a concept for information security that would expand an earlier presidential decree on information security, said Alexander Sundukov, deputy head of the Communications Ministry's security department.

The document should be adopted later this year, he said.

The original concept of information security scarcely touches on protecting telecommunication systems.

The greatest threat to telecoms infrastructure is excavating equipment, which often damages communication lines during construction operations, said Azat Yarmukhamet, one of the developers of the concept and director of communications with the Kazan-based ICL-KPO VS. Theft of cables and their sale as scrap is another major problem, he said.

Hackers and viruses, however, are the greatest danger to computer systems in the West, according to a survey by the KPMG auditing and consulting company.

One company lost $10 million after a so-called postal virus penetrated the company's e-mail system. The name of the company was not revealed in the report.

"The main problem is that many companies clearly overestimate the means they have at their disposal for protecting information," said Sergei Tatarchenko, the head of KPMG Russia's risk management department.

"Having wasted millions of dollars on implementing security systems, companies often don't even check their effectiveness."

Ninety-six percent of the respondents to the KPMG survey said they had confidence in their information defense systems. But further questioning revealed that only about 35 percent of the companies had actually tested their systems, while 52 percent had no system for detecting hacker intrusions.

Many companies suffer from simple technical failures, and almost 12 percent of companies suffered major losses due to electricity cuts.