Eugene Kaspersky believes we are living in what he calls “The Dark Ages of Cybersecurity.”

Kaspersky once again preached his advocacy for stronger cybersecurity awareness last week during the Kaspersky Lab North American Partner Conference, where about 100 of the company’s top channel partners and resellers gathered in Cancun to learn how to protect their customers from cyberattacks. During his keynote, Kaspersky detailed a new landscape of cybercriminals, from hacktivists to nation state-driven attacks, as well as terror groups with designs to destroy physical infrastructure.

Much like the literal Dark Ages that preceded the Italian Renaissance hundreds of years ago, Kaspersky said the international community remains largely oblivious to the dangers of cybercrime lurking just behind every corner. From personal ransomware attacks against consumers to targeted DDoS attacks and even nation state-funded and terrorist-driven cyber threats, the risk of falling victim to some sort of cybercrime is very real, he said.

Normally, this kind of doom and gloom-type talk might not be surprising coming from the founder and CEO of a widely known enterprise security solution provider, but Eugene Kaspersky speaks with an urgency about him that signals he is not simply fear mongering for the sake of selling software. It is apparent that he truly believes in educating the public to protect itself against the looming threat of cybercrime and the irreparable damage it can do both to businesses and society at large.

“Our role and the way of the company is to save the cyber world,” said Kaspersky, in an exclusive interview with The VAR Guy. “It is time to educate the market.”

Why Does Cybercrime Continue to Increase in Frequency?

Unlike several years ago, cybercrime is no longer the sole domain of skilled engineers and black hats bent on extorting money or taking down corrupt systems for financial gain. These days, Kaspersky said, better software has made hacking a common occurrence, especially in regard to small-time crimes like virtual extortion or data leaks. However, this has also lead to a rise in the number of state-sponsored attacks motivated by political agendas, particularly in regard to governments and other influential groups looking to gain the upper hand in the geopolitical arena. Additionally, traditional organized crime outfits are increasingly turning their attention to the digital world as they seek to benefit from new forms of crime.

Check out this interview with Kaspersky for his take on the current landscape of the cybersecurity arena:

How Can We Stop Cybercrime From Occurring?

Kaspersky believes that although both individuals and governments now have a greater understanding of the risks associated with cybercrime than ever before that there is still a very long road ahead before we can stamp out these occurrences. Although more governments are aware of the dangers of cybersecurity breaches, Kaspersky said the sluggish pace of legislation has slowed many nations’ ability to effectively implement security solutions.

So while awareness is at an all-time high, the international community’s ability to take action remains slow and ineffective, he said. Once this issue can be solved Kaspersky said there will be a “golden age” of cybersecurity, in which operating systems are completely secure, apps are immune to hacking, and devices and equipment are safe by design.

So when can we expect this golden age to occur? Not very soon, especially in regard to complex industrial systems like railroads and government defense networks, Kaspersky said. While it may be possible to secure simple systems within the next several years, there is no telling how long it will take to fully protect others with longer development cycles. This is particularly true of those designed to last for multiple decades.

Part of the problem, Kaspersky said, is that national cybersecurity solutions cannot be deployed as simply as consumer security solutions.

“To deploy security software to the enterprise network is more complicated. And it’s expensive,” he said. “In industrial [networks] it is even more expensive because it’s not a product, it’s a project.”

Until then, Kaspersky will continue in his crusade to educate and inform both enterprise customers and world leaders as to the severity of potential cyberattacks. We can only hope they heed his advice.