from the Kaspersky-the-Friendly-Ghostsky dept.
According to emails from October 2009 obtained by Jordan Robertson and Michael Riley at Bloomberg it appears that Kaspersky Lab has been working with Russian Intelligence. Despite long standing rumours over these connections Eugene Kaspersky has always denied this to be the case, including as recently as last week in response to questions in the US Senate by Florida Republican Marco Rubio when he stated that "Claims about Kaspersky Lab's ties to the Kremlin are "unfounded conspiracy theories" and "total BS,"" on Reddit, and even offering to hand over the source code to the US Government for inspection.
While the exact nature of the co-operation with the FSB is still unclear, in the emails Kaspersky outlines a project undertaken in secret a year earlier "per a big request on the Lubyanka side," a reference to the FSB offices, that "includes both technology to protect against attacks (filters) as well as interaction with the hosters ('spreading' of sacrifice) and active countermeasures (about which, we keep quiet) and so on," Kaspersky wrote in one of the emails. Kaspersky Lab has confirmed that the emails are authentic. Whether this was legitimate work with the FSB in the prevention of cybercrime or securing FSB facilities or something more nefarious, it seems likely that this is not going to alleviate concerns over the use of their software putting further pressure on Kaspersky's business in other countries.
Recently, we have reported several claims (here, here, and here) made by the Russian security software manufacturer Kaspersky Lab that they have discovered 'evidence' of NSA involvement in malware. Now, Bloomberg claims that the Moscow-based computer security company has effectively been taken over by the FSB. Company founder Eugene Kaspersky was educated at a KBG-run school, which was never a secret, but the new report describes a much more current and intimate connection.
Kaspersky Lab is denying the allegations, as one might expect, and counter with the statement:
It's not as though the US has clean hands in all of this. The CIA has funded the development of security software firms like FireEye, Veracode, and Hytrust though its In-Q-Tel investment fund, and American firms have been noticeably silent when it comes to investigating suspected US state-sponsored malware.
We are unlikely to hear the truth from either side, nor should we realistically expect a confession from the NSA or the FSB. Nevertheless, it is possible that the security industries on both sides are 'guilty' of looking after their respective government's interests and what we are seeing is just another day in the world of intelligence collection and cyber-security, the world of claim and counter-claim.
[Editor's Comment: Typo fixed at 15:39 UTC]
Kaspersky Lab is willing to go to extreme lengths to reassure the U.S. government about the security of its products:
Eugene Kaspersky is willing to turn over computer code to United States authorities to prove that his company's security products have not been compromised by the Russian government, The Associated Press reported early Sunday.
"If the United States needs, we can disclose the source code," said the creator of beleaguered Moscow-based computer security company Kaspersky Lab in an interview with the AP.
"Anything I can do to prove that we don't behave maliciously I will do it."
Also at Neowin.
In Worrisome Move, Kaspersky Agrees to Turn Over Source Code to US Government
Over the last couple of weeks, there's been a disturbing trend of governments demanding that private tech companies share their source code if they want to do business. Now, the US government is giving the same ultimatum and it's getting what it wants.
On Sunday, the CEO of security firm Kaspersky Labs, Eugene Kaspersky, told the Associated Press that he's willing to show the US government his company's source code. "Anything I can do to prove that we don't behave maliciously I will do it," Kaspersky said while insisting that he's open to testifying before Congress as well.
The company's willingness to share its source code comes after a proposal was put forth in the Senate that "prohibits the [Defense Department] from using software platforms developed by Kaspersky Lab." It goes on to say, "The Secretary of Defense shall ensure that any network connection between ... the Department of Defense and a department or agency of the United States Government that is using or hosting on its networks a software platform [associated with Kaspersky Lab] is immediately severed."
Jeanne Shaheen, a New Hampshire Democrat tells ABC News, that there is "a consensus in Congress and among administration officials that Kaspersky Lab cannot be trusted to protect critical infrastructure." The fears follow years of suspicion from the FBI that Kaspersky Labs is too close to the Russian government. The company is based in Russia but has worked with both Moscow and the FBI in the past, often serving as a go-between to help the two governments cooperate. "As a private company, Kaspersky Lab has no ties to any government, and the company has never helped, nor will help, any government in the world with its cyberespionage efforts," an official statement from Kaspersky Labs reads.
U.S. lawmakers are urging AT&T Inc, the No. 2 wireless carrier, to cut commercial ties to Chinese phone maker Huawei Technologies Co Ltd and oppose plans by telecom operator China Mobile Ltd to enter the U.S. market because of national security concerns, two congressional aides said.
[...] Earlier this month, AT&T was forced to scrap a plan to offer its customers Huawei handsets after some members of Congress lobbied against the idea with federal regulators, sources told Reuters.
The U.S. government has also blocked a string of Chinese acquisitions over national security concerns, including Ant Financial's proposed purchase of U.S. money transfer company MoneyGram International Inc.
The lawmakers are also advising U.S. firms that if they have ties to Huawei or China Mobile, it could hamper their ability to do business with the U.S. government, one aide said, requesting anonymity because they were not authorized to speak publicly.
Related: NSA Spied on Chinese Government and Huawei
Kaspersky Willing to Hand Source Code Over to U.S. Government
Kaspersky Lab has been Working With Russian Intelligence
FBI Reportedly Advising Companies to Ditch Kaspersky Apps
Federal Government, Concerned About Cyberespionage, Bans Use of Kaspersky Labs Products
According to unverifiable sources, an NSA contractor stored classified data and hacking tools on his home computer, which were made available to Russian hackers through the contractor's use of Kaspersky Lab anti-virus software:
Russian government-backed hackers stole highly classified U.S. cyber secrets in 2015 from the National Security Agency after a contractor put information on his home computer, two newspapers reported on Thursday.
As reported first by The Wall Street Journal, citing unidentified sources, the theft included information on penetrating foreign computer networks and protecting against cyber attacks and is likely to be viewed as one of the most significant security breaches to date.
In a later story, The Washington Post said the employee had worked at the NSA's Tailored Access Operations unit for elite hackers before he was fired in 2015.
[...] Citing unidentified sources, both the Journal and the Post also reported that the contractor used antivirus software from Moscow-based Kaspersky Lab, the company whose products were banned from U.S. government networks last month because of suspicions they help the Kremlin conduct espionage.