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posted by martyb on Wednesday July 12 2017, @01:48AM   Printer-friendly
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.


Original Submission

Related Stories

Ties Alleged Between Kaspersky Lab and Russian Intelligence Agencies 37 comments

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 Willing to Hand Source Code Over to U.S. Government 60 comments
Kaspersky Willing to Hand Source Code Over to U.S. Government

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.

Source: Gizmodo


Original Submission #1Original Submission #2

U.S. Lawmakers Urge AT&T to Cut Ties With Huawei 17 comments

Exclusive: U.S. lawmakers urge AT&T to cut commercial ties with Huawei - sources

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


Original Submission

Kaspersky Lab and Lax Contractor Blamed for Russian Acquisition of NSA Tools 23 comments

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.

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  • (Score: 3, Insightful) by t-3 on Wednesday July 12 2017, @02:18AM (1 child)

    by t-3 (4907) on Wednesday July 12 2017, @02:18AM (#537906) Journal

    Computer security corporation that tries to land contracts with US governments also works with other governments - big surprise!

    • (Score: 2) by RamiK on Wednesday July 12 2017, @03:51AM

      by RamiK (1813) on Wednesday July 12 2017, @03:51AM (#537942)

      Honestly? On principle alone, a country as big and powerful as the USA can, and should, afford it's own security measures. Besides, anti-competitive as it may be, Win10's built-in anti-virus is just as shitty and broken as everything else on the market so they might as well use that and save tax-payers some money.

      --
      compiling...
  • (Score: 4, Touché) by jmorris on Wednesday July 12 2017, @02:19AM (5 children)

    by jmorris (4844) Subscriber Badge <reversethis-{gro.uaeb} {ta} {sirromj}> on Wednesday July 12 2017, @02:19AM (#537907)

    All right thinking people must express outrage at this. A Russian company selling products to their government! Don't they know that in $current_year Russis is EVIL? And not just selling to the government, they sold to their government's intelligence service. Horror! Shun, shun, shun!

    Microsoft would never sell product to the USG. Never! Google wouldn't either. Apple? Need you even ask whether Holy Apple would sell to USG? Of course not! Not even while Chocolate Jesus was in charge, because they know that a fluke like that is a one off and their products would fall into the hands of the next evil white guy elected, and look how wise they were to prevent Trump from getting this grimy paws on their tech.

    Seriously though, this daily Russia!, Russia!, Russia narrative is growing tedious.

    • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday July 12 2017, @03:00AM

      by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday July 12 2017, @03:00AM (#537930)

      Tedious, but it gives them sweet, sweet clicks. Factual news reporting is so '90s.

    • (Score: 2) by Absolutely.Geek on Wednesday July 12 2017, @03:08AM

      by Absolutely.Geek (5328) on Wednesday July 12 2017, @03:08AM (#537933)

      Agreed; this is stupid a Russian company deals with Russian gov.

      --
      Don't trust the police or the government - Shihad: My mind's sedate.
    • (Score: -1, Troll) by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday July 12 2017, @05:04AM

      by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday July 12 2017, @05:04AM (#537951)

      Ah ha...so now it is revealed, jmorris is a Russian agent.

    • (Score: 1, Insightful) by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday July 12 2017, @07:33AM (1 child)

      by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday July 12 2017, @07:33AM (#537991)

      But it's different! There's a difference between selling to your Gov and unethically selling out other citizens to your Gov.

      There seems to be more evidence that various US companies have sold out US citizens unethically to the US Gov than there is evidence that Kaspersky has done a similar thing.

      Cooperating with the Russian Gov to locate people doing a DDoS? "Damn I'm evil".

      Cooperating with the US Gov to spy on millions of phone calls with just one wiretap order: http://www.zdnet.com/article/one-federal-wiretap-order-recorded-millions-phone-calls/ [zdnet.com]
      "OK I'll help you spy on millions, just following orders as a good citizen".

      Or how about this: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Room_641A [wikipedia.org]

      See also: https://qz.com/620423/heres-how-often-apple-google-and-others-handed-over-data-when-the-us-government-asked-for-it/ [qz.com]

      By the way, most people normally have more to fear from their own government than a foreign government. So if you are a US resident not dealing with US national secrets or doing similar work, and have little to do with Russia, it might actually be a good idea to use Russian security software or online services. Assuming everything else is equal (quality, technical security etc). Whereas if you were in Russia you might prefer to use stuff from the USA or other non-Russian/ex-Soviet related countries. Especially countries without extradition treaties with your country or similar. e.g. if you were in Russia and Putin wanted to _secretly_ read your emails he might be less likely to succeed if you were using gmail than if you were using mail.ru or yandex mail.

      That said do see: https://www.csmonitor.com/Technology/2015/1112/Governments-around-the-world-demand-more-user-data-from-Facebook?cmpid=TW [csmonitor.com]
      http://www.zdnet.com/article/what-google-does-when-a-government-requests-your-data/ [zdnet.com]
      (non-US Governments have succeeded in getting data from Facebook, Google etc).

      I wonder whether this is why Kaspersky is getting "the treatment", perhaps they weren't cooperative enough with the US Gov.

      • (Score: 2) by Unixnut on Wednesday July 12 2017, @11:03AM

        by Unixnut (5779) on Wednesday July 12 2017, @11:03AM (#538021)

        By the way, most people normally have more to fear from their own government than a foreign government. So if you are a US resident not dealing with US national secrets or doing similar work, and have little to do with Russia, it might actually be a good idea to use Russian security software or online services. Assuming everything else is equal (quality, technical security etc). Whereas if you were in Russia you might prefer to use stuff from the USA or other non-Russian/ex-Soviet related countries. Especially countries without extradition treaties with your country or similar. e.g. if you were in Russia and Putin wanted to _secretly_ read your emails he might be less likely to succeed if you were using gmail than if you were using mail.ru or yandex mail.

        This is something I cottoned on a while ago. I actually put an effort to use as much Russian software and services as I can, because a) I have no connections to Russia, b) I have never even set foot in the country, and c) I am not a threat to them. They don't care about me, and as a matter of principle they won't just share everything with the five-eyes setup for a boring citizen. if the US/five eyes actually wanted some data about me stored on Russian servers, they would need to make use of some political capital with the Russians (currently in short supply) to get it, so unless you really really peeved someone off in your home country, you will most likely be left alone. There is no scope for rummaging through your private life "just in case" as happens if you use local services.

        Indeed, a lot of "Russian activists" that are anti-government go out of their way to only use US software/technology for the very same reasons.

  • (Score: 1, Insightful) by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday July 12 2017, @02:57AM (3 children)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday July 12 2017, @02:57AM (#537929)

    And Cisco works with the NSA.

    • (Score: 2) by mendax on Wednesday July 12 2017, @03:38AM (2 children)

      by mendax (2840) on Wednesday July 12 2017, @03:38AM (#537939)

      Yeah, but CISCO is not in the business of selling virus and worm protection. Frankly, I would not want my computer to become part of a botnet servicing some interest of the Russian government.

      --
      It's really quite a simple choice: Life, Death, or Los Angeles.
      • (Score: 3, Touché) by http on Wednesday July 12 2017, @04:51AM

        by http (1920) on Wednesday July 12 2017, @04:51AM (#537950)

        You also wouldn't want your VPN routers discretely copying your office data (that you think is passing between your Manhattan and Bronx offices) to Room 641A in San Francisco. Along with the session keys.

        --
        I browse at -1 when I have mod points. It's unsettling.
      • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday July 12 2017, @09:05PM

        by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday July 12 2017, @09:05PM (#538342)

        lmao! pull your head out of your ass!

  • (Score: 3, Insightful) by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday July 12 2017, @05:35AM

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday July 12 2017, @05:35AM (#537960)

    An anti virus company is providing software solutions to a government enterprise!? What is this world coming to!? Thank god no good true blue blooded patriotic American companies like Microsoft, Cisco, Google, Facebook, AOL, Apple, or other companies would ever consider working with government agencies, let alone those intelligence agencies in the UNITED STATES OF FREEDOM. I bet those Russkie companies are even working with the government in domestic surveillance - making sure Putin and his Gestapo GB have unfettered access to the secrets and identities of the public online. Damn backwards Russkies. I bet they'd even come up with creepy dystopic names for them too, like PRISM [wikipedia.org]. Wait, that's not trademarked now is it?

    To be clear, I'm not stating that because one country drops the ball - it's okay for other countries to do so as well. But rather what is mentioned here is similar to declaring that the employees at the CIA Starbucks [businessinsider.com] are 'working with American intelligence.' They also change how they operate and go out of their way to meet government demands, but at the end of the day they're just serving coffee. So too in this case, at the end of the day they're just providing security solutions for a client - in this case against DDoS. The allegations were not that Kaspersky was servicing the Russian government, but rather that they were colluding in cahoots with the Russian government implicitly against the people. In other words, the allegations were that Kaspersky are doing what all the named American companies have been shown, beyond a doubt, to be doing. But to date, there's 0 evidence of such behavior. And the fact that we're now shifting the goal posts so hard left makes it look like that's probably because we now know that's because they're likely not engaging in such behavior.

  • (Score: 2, Insightful) by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday July 12 2017, @06:43AM

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday July 12 2017, @06:43AM (#537979)
    It's not like Microsoft, Cisco, Google, IBM, and all these other major American companies weren't likewise working with the NSA and the CIA. Not a big surprise to hear that Kaspersky is similarly working for the KGB.
  • (Score: 4, Insightful) by pgc on Wednesday July 12 2017, @08:34AM (3 children)

    by pgc (1600) on Wednesday July 12 2017, @08:34AM (#537997)

    Which aspect of this story is news-worthy?

    • (Score: 2) by DeathMonkey on Wednesday July 12 2017, @06:02PM (2 children)

      by DeathMonkey (1380) on Wednesday July 12 2017, @06:02PM (#538209) Journal

      Which aspect of this story is news-worthy?

      The fact that they lied about it and then got caught lying about it.

      It takes a real partisan to have that not affect your trust in an organization.

      • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Thursday July 13 2017, @04:37AM (1 child)

        by Anonymous Coward on Thursday July 13 2017, @04:37AM (#538565)

        One might say it takes an even bigger partisan to rewrite history to justify unfounded conspiracy theories.

        Here [go.com] is what the news media was reporting: In particular, current and former U.S. officials fear Kaspersky Lab products have the potential to facilitate Russian cyberattacks on power grids or other key utilities. “That is something I have followed for a long time and have significant concerns about,” former U.S. Deputy Secretary of Energy Liz Sherwood-Randall said.

        This is why Kaspersky immediately offered to allow complete source code access. The allegations, which genuinely can be labeled conspiracy theories, had no justification in reality whatsoever. Since it seems the investigation into such allegation has generated exactly 0 evidence, we've now dramatically shifted the goal posts to Kaspersky is providing cybersecurity solutions for the Russian government. Which not only has nothing to do with what was first alleged, but is also in no way a secret or an untoward activity. It's like alleging that Microsoft is part of PRISM [wikipedia.org] in a parallel dimension which they weren't, and then upon discovering this - shifting the goal posts to Microsoft providing operating system software to US intelligence agencies which is a non-issue.

        • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Friday July 14 2017, @05:48PM

          by Anonymous Coward on Friday July 14 2017, @05:48PM (#539233)

          This is why Kaspersky immediately offered to allow complete source code access. The allegations, which genuinely can be labeled conspiracy theories, had no justification in reality whatsoever.

          Probably true, but the source can be clean, and the binaries not if the compiler is designed to inject the malicious code. So they would also need to provide source for the compiler as well, unless known clean copies of it can be obtained from a trusted source.

  • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday July 12 2017, @03:13PM (1 child)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday July 12 2017, @03:13PM (#538123)

    Like Trump.

    • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday July 12 2017, @08:27PM

      by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday July 12 2017, @08:27PM (#538309)

      Don't forget Junior.

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