If You Run Kaspersky Products, You MAY Want To Switch To Something Else

Bloomberg has made a stunning accusation that Russian based antivirus company Kaspersky has a tight relationship with the FSB which is the Russian spy service. And I do mean TIGHT:

Internal company emails obtained by Bloomberg Businessweek show that Kaspersky Lab has maintained a much closer working relationship with Russia’s main intelligence agency, the FSB, than it has publicly admitted. It has developed security technology at the spy agency’s behest and worked on joint projects the CEO knew would be embarrassing if made public. The previously unreported emails, from October 2009, are from a thread between Eugene Kaspersky and senior staff. In Russian, Kaspersky outlines a project undertaken in secret a year earlier “per a big request on the Lubyanka side,” a reference to the FSB offices. Kaspersky Lab confirmed the emails are authentic.

The software that the CEO was referring to had the stated purpose of protecting clients, including the Russian government, from distributed denial-of-service (DDoS) attacks, but its scope went further. Kaspersky Lab would also cooperate with internet hosting companies to locate bad actors and block their attacks, while assisting with “active countermeasures,” a capability so sensitive that Kaspersky advised his staff to keep it secret. In this case, Kaspersky may have been referring to something even more rare in the security world. A person familiar with the company’s anti-DDoS system says it’s made up of two parts. The first consists of traditional defensive techniques, including rerouting malicious traffic to servers that can harmlessly absorb it. The second part is more unusual: Kaspersky provides the FSB with real-time intelligence on the hackers’ location and sends experts to accompany the FSB and Russian police when they conduct raids. That’s what Kaspersky was referring to in the emails, says the person familiar with the system. They weren’t just hacking the hackers; they were banging down the doors.

Given the current political climate in the US, this is simply stunning if true as Kaspersky products are extremely popular. But it’s a safe bet that with this news, Kaspersky products may become very unpopular very quickly. Thus it won’t shock you that the company has issued a statement in response to Bloomberg’s report. Here’s part of it:

Regardless of how the facts are misconstrued to fit in with a hypothetical, false theory, Kaspersky Lab, and its executives, do not have inappropriate ties with any government. The company does regularly work with governments and law enforcement agencies around the world with the sole purpose of fighting cybercrime. In the internal communications referenced within the recent article, the facts are once again either being misinterpreted or manipulated to fit the agenda of certain individuals desperately wanting there to be inappropriate ties between the company, its CEO and the Russian government, but no matter what communication they claim to have, the facts clearly remain there is no evidence because no such inappropriate ties exist.

So, what’s true and what’s “misinterpreted”? Who knows, but it’s a safe bet a lot of people are trying to find out as we speak.

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2 Responses to “If You Run Kaspersky Products, You MAY Want To Switch To Something Else”

  1. […] up on this story from yesterday which suggested that Russian antivirus company Kaspersky had ties to Russian […]

  2. […] this has been going on for months as evidenced by these posts on the subject. But this is a major escalation. And one that is sure to get a response from […]

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