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October 24, 2017

Spying for Russia? It “would simply kill our business”, says Eugene Kaspersky

The Kaspersky Lab CEO is expecting the allegations of Russian spying to have a negative impact on US business.

By Ellie Burns

Eugene Kaspersky has once again denied any links to the Kremlin, saying that any collaboration with Russian intelligence to steal cyberweapons “would simply kill our business”.

Speaking to Sky News, the CEO of Kaspersky Lab denied that his cybersecurity firm had helped the FSB steal malware from the NSA.

The cybersec boss did admit, however, that it was “technically, a very possible scenario” that Kaspersky anti-virus had picked up the NSA hacking tools via an employee’s home computer.

All in all, after again denying that his firm was in cahoots with the FSB, the allegations surrounding the Russian cybersecurity firm have left the CEO confused. Eugene Kaspersky

Denying knowledge of where the allegations originated from, Mr Kasperksy blasted the New York Times and Wall Street Journal for their reports lacking in any evidence and revealed that his company has since issued legal warnings to US media regarding the “false allegations.”

Evidence or no evidence, the reports have been hugely damaging for the anti-virus giant, with Mr Kaspersky admitting that he was “expecting the allegations to have a negative impact on the United States”.

“It’s not too much but unfortunately after all these stories we’ll have negative growth in the United States. But in many other nations our business is growing,” he told Sky News.

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The cyber Cold War between the US and one of Russia’s biggest tech exports started in September of this year, when the US Department of Homeland Security told government departments and agencies that they should remove all Kaspersky Lab security software from their systems.

The allegation was made that Kaspersky Lab was working with Russian intelligence services and therefore could not be trusted. This then escalated, with Homeland Security looking to the US Senate to enforce a ban of all Kaspersky Lab technology used by government agencies.

“The department is concerned about the ties between certain Kaspersky officials and Russian intelligence and other government agencies, and requirements under Russian law that allow Russian intelligence agencies to request or compel assistance from Kaspersky and to intercept communications transiting Russian networks,” the Department of Homeland Security said in a statement.

From the very beginning, Mr Kaspersky has denied all claims that he or his company has any links to the Russian intelligence services.

Kaspersky

However, an article written by US Senator Jeanne Shaheen in the New York Times entitled “The Russian Company That is a Danger to Our Security” added more fuel to the fire. The article outlined how big of a threat Russia is and referred to Kaspersky by asking why “millions of Americans unwittingly inviting this threat into their cyber networks and secure spaces?”

Mr Kasperksy responded by saying that the piece “is not only damaging the reputation and livelihood of the 300-plus Kaspersky Lab employees in the United States, but also detracting from valid concerns about the ability of different nations to engage in cyberespionage and to direct digitally enabled attacks against critical infrastructure.”

“Are we now banning companies based on its origin? Is it really the path we go on now? Imagine just how easy it is for any other country to exclude, for example, Microsoft, Oracle, SAP, Hitachi from governmental contracts based on allegations and speculations, without evidence saying “They’re a potential threat…; we’re very concerned about them foreign software developers] and the security of our country!…”

Mr Kasperksy also stated that, “misinformation and inaccurate perceptions are driving forward a dangerous agenda that may impact global cybersecurity, as origin may start dictating what technology is used instead of being able to choose the best solutions and experts available.”

In efforts to win back trust and be more transparent, Kaspersky Lab announced that it will open up its software to review, asking independent parties to review the security of its anti-virus products.

The cybersecurity firm will submit the source code of its software and future product updates for review, with both security experts and government officials set to be part of those conducting the reviews. The firm also promised to let external parties review other aspects of their business, including software development.

“We’ve nothing to hide,” Mr Kaspersky said on Monday. “With these actions we’ll be able to overcome mistrust and support our commitment to protecting people in any country on our planet.”

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