The Kaspersky AV-Russian Hacking saga is taking different twists and turns, and it doesn’t seem like a clear answer is on the horizon. Last month, the US Senate voted to bar Kaspersky Lab products from military and civilian agency networks due to espionage concerns. At the time, the Trump administration issued an order against the use of the product, and several companies like Best Buy refused to stock the software in stores.
Of course, co-founder and CEO Eugene Kaspersky has denied any wrongdoing whatsoever, citing the company’s happy 400 million global customers. He even agreed to testify before Congress on the security of his software and his vehement stance that his company and its library of products in no way work for the Russian government.
Hold on a minute…
Well, that might have been a hasty proclamation. A report by CRN outlines Israeli intelligence that found Russian operatives hacking US computers with Kaspersky antivirus software. Unfortunately, the Israeli findings were shared with the US government more than two years ago, and nothing was done about it. Interestingly, the hacking was discovered while Israeli officials were hacking Kaspersky’s network; the discovery also included Russian operatives using espionage tools that had been developed by and stolen from the NSA.
Now, new reports have come out about further Russian hacking, this time of a US government official’s personal computer. Again unfortunately, he was not only running Kaspersky on the machine – which is being blamed as the gateway through which they accessed his computer – but he brought classified information home with him and opened it on his computer.
Dr. Herb Lin, writing for Lawfare Institute, has a different concern over the allegations, and it has less to do with the games that governments play and more to do with those 400 million consumers: has Kaspersky been the key to unlocking individuals’ computers for hackers all this time?
“Of more concern to me is the idea that Kaspersky software has the capability to inspect the media of any computer running it for interesting files and to forward such files to Russian intelligence.”