Kaspersky the antivirus software giant and NSA contractor has been the subject of claims of ties to Russian intelligence.
On October 25th, the multinational cybersecurity firm Kaspersky claimed to have obtained the hacking code from a personal computer in the Us belonging to the National Security Agency (NSA). According to Kaspersky analysts, the file contained a source code for a tool used for hacking which belonged to the Equation Group.
This hacking code, according to experts at Kaspersky, was related to NSA’ loss of data. Sarah Kitsos, an antivirus software maker spokeswoman said, “we deleted the archive because we don’t need the source code to improve our protection technologies and because of concerns regarding the handling of classified materials”. Removals of such uninfected material happen “extremely rarely” spokeswoman Yuliya Shlychkova told Reuters.
Back in October 2017, an unidentified NSA contractor was put under vigilance, after his computer which was equipped with Kaspersky, had shared confidential details with the Moscow-based company. Although he knew the consequences of moving such a classified and confidential data without approval is not only against NSA policy, it also falls under criminal offense, even still the unidentified NSA contractor had reportedly downloaded a cache of classified information from his workplace.
After these events, a letter rote by Democratic Senator Jeanne Shaheen was sent to the Department of Homeland security (DHS) Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats and secretary Elaine Duke, which contained a demand urging the Us government to reveal information about Kaspersky antivirus products.
Kaspersky also highlighted that more than 85% of its revenue comes from outside Russia, so having any kind of unethical ties to Russia, including cyberespionage would be counterproductive. The company has declared to have no connection or link to the Russian Intelligence, they are registered with the FSB, however.
A report earlier this month from the Wall Street Journal stated that an NSA worker using Kaspersky software was targeted by hackers working for the Russian government, who had the intention to identify classified files. Israeli officials reported the operation led by the Russian Hackers after they hacked into Kaspersky network on October 10th, according to the New York Times.
The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) banned Kaspersky lab software in September this year after allegations of interference of Russian Hackers into the 2016 United States elections were made public. Kaspersky on a conference from October 23rd allowed to have his company’s source code audited independently by internationally recognized independent authorities in the first months of 2018.
As part of a comprehensive transparency initiative led by Kaspersky, and in order to restore people’s and government’s trust once more, the firm plans to open three transparency centers across the U.S., Europe, and Asia by 2020.