Cybercrime is a threat to countries and companies alike, and needs to be dealt with through global cooperation, senior officials and information technology industry engineers said on Sunday.[Special Coverage]
"This (2017) has been a special year for the internet because it is the first time the number of global web users has surpassed half of the world's total population," said Dominique de Villepin, former prime minister of France.
He made the remarks during his address to the plenary session of the 4th World Internet Conference in Wuzhen, Zhejiang province, which opened on Sunday and will end on Tuesday.
"Cybersecurity is a global challenge … and as the internet blends into our public sectors and daily lives, our privacy is also at risk," he said.
"We are entering a new age of collective responsibility, we need to strengthen multilateral cooperation and take political action to strengthen internet security and connectivity."
Eugene Kaspersky, founder of Kaspersky Lab, an antivirus protection and internet security provider, echoed Villepin's concerns.
In 1997, when Kaspersky Lab was found, its virus database recorded only around 500 malicious codes, he said.
This year, Kaspersky Lab has detected more than 90 million malicious codes already, totaling 500 million computer viruses and malware, he said.
"Cybercrime is an increasingly messy, massive and global issue," Kaspersky said. "Hackers are also becoming more professional, organized and advanced than ever before."
Kaspersky said his firm is currently monitoring more than 100 highly professional, sophisticated and large-scale cyberattacks. This number is 100 times higher than that in 2010.
Most people believe cybersecurity only concerns the virtual world and gadgets like smartphones and computers, he said. "But, in fact, the internet has connected everything in our lives."
From large infrastructure such as power plants and assembly lines to small gadgets like security cameras, traffic lights and hotel doors, "they are all connected to the network in one way or another".
"But they are not designed to withstand sophisticated cyberattacks and could be undermined," he said.
The worst-case scenario is for cyberattacks to seep and affect us in the real world, which is very possible, he said.