Posts Tagged ‘Eugene Kaspersky’

Treasury’s Mnuchin says Russian oligarch report to lead to sanctions

January 30, 2018

Reuters

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The Trump administration will seek to impose sanctions in connection with a U.S. government report identifying Russian oligarchs who are close to the Kremlin, Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said on Tuesday

 Image result for Steven Mnuchin, photos

U.S. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin testifies to the Senate Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs Committee on “The Financial Stability Oversight Council Annual Report to Congress” on Capitol Hill in Washington, U.S., January 30, 2018. REUTERS/Joshua Roberts

In testimony before the Senate Banking Committee, Mnuchin said while the administration has not levied sanctions under a new law designed to punish Moscow for alleged meddling in the 2016 U.S. election, it viewed the report as an initial step.

“This should in no way be interpreted as we’re not putting sanctions on any of the people in that report,” Mnuchin told lawmakers.

“There will be sanctions that come out of this report,” he said, adding that it could happen as soon as next month.

Late on Monday, the Treasury Department named major Russian businessmen, including the heads of the country’s two biggest banks, metals magnates and the boss of the state gas monopoly on a list of oligarchs close to the Kremlin.

Mnuchin said there was a classified component to the report, which was mandated by the law passed by Congress in July.

Democrats have criticized the Trump administration for failing to impose new sanctions on Russia. The State Department has said it was not yet seeking sanctions as the new law was already acting as a deterrent.

Reporting by Pete Schroeder; Editing by Paul Simao

Related:

Advertisements

Russian bank CEOs, metals magnates and gas chief named on U.S. ‘oligarch list’

January 30, 2018

MOSCOW (Reuters) – The U.S. Treasury Department named major Russian businessmen including the heads of the two biggest banks, metals magnates and the boss of the state gas monopoly on a list of oligarchs close to the Kremlin.

Image result for German Gref, photos

FILE PHOTO – German Gref, chief executive of Russia’s Sberbank

The list, drawn up as part of a sanctions package signed into law in August last year, does not mean those included will be subject to sanctions, but it casts a potential shadow of sanctions risk over a wide circle of wealthy Russians.

Russian President Vladimir Putin’s inner circle is already subject to personal U.S. sanctions, imposed over Russia’s 2014 annexation of Ukraine‘s’ Crimea region.

But the so-called “oligarchs’ list” that was released on Tuesday, prompted in part by Washington’s belief the Kremlin meddled in the 2016 U.S. presidential election, covers many people beyond Putin’s circle and reaches deep into Russia’s business elite.

After the release of the report, the rouble opened down 0.1 percent against the dollar, while shares in some of Russia’s biggest companies fell too.

 Image result for Vladimir Potanin, photos
Vladimir Potanin

Among the biggest fallers was Norilsk Nickel, down 1.2 percent after its co-owner Vladimir Potanin was included on the U.S. list. Rusal, the world’s second-biggest producer of aluminum, whose co-owner Oleg Deripaska was also on the list, saw its shares tumble 1.4 percent in Hong Kong.

Representatives of many businessmen, including Potanin, Deripaska, metals magnate Alisher Usmanov and Alexei Mordashov, co-owner of Severstal, declined to comment. Some other businessmen are yet to reply to requests for comment.

Image result for Oleg Deripaska, photos

Oleg Deripaska

But Russian market-watchers said the damage from the list was not as great as it could have been.

 Image result for VTB Bank Chief Executive Andrei Kostin, photos

FILE PHOTO: VTB Bank Chief Executive Andrei Kostin 

The list appeared to have been drafted based on oligarchs’ net worth, rather than attempting to establish who is closest to the Kremlin, an exercise that could have made it more toxic for those included. The White House said it would not immediately impose new sanctions on Russia.

“For now it all looks pretty mild,” said Oleg Kuzmin, an economist with Renaissance Capital, an investment bank.

Image result for Gazprom Chief Executive Alexei Miller, photos

FILE PHOTO – Gazprom Chief Executive Alexei Miller (R) 

The Treasury Department, in a statement accompanying the list, said people had been included on the list based on their net worth and “their closeness to the Russian regime.”

It said inclusion does not denote that people on the list are subject to sanctions or any other restrictions, that they meet the criteria for being put under sanctions, or that they are involved in any malign activity.

Among the businessmen on the list are German Gref, CEO of state-controlled Sberbank, Russia’s biggest lender, and Andrey Kostin, chief executive of the second-biggest lender, VTB, which is also controlled by the Russian state.

Sberbank declined to comment. VTB has not replied yet.

Image result for Leonid Mikhelson, photos

Leonid Mikhelson (R) with Russian President Putin

Alexei Miller, CEO of state-controlled gas export monopoly Gazprom, was also on the list, as was Severstal’s Mordashov and Leonid Mikhelson, co-owner of private gas producer Novatek.

Usmanov, who is part owner of London’s Arsenal soccer club, and Eugene Kaspersky, CEO of the Moscow-based cyber security company that carries his name, were included on the same list.

Reporting by Polina Devitt, Maria Kiselyova, Zlata Garasyuta, Jack Stubbs, Polina Nikolskaya, Anastasia Lyrchikova and Andrey Ostroukh; Writing by Christian Lowe; Editing by Louise Heavens

Image result for Gazprom Chief Executive Alexei Miller, photos

Russian gas giant Gazprom Chief Executive Officer Alexei Miller (L) and Chairman of Board of Directors Zubkov. June 30, 2017

How Kaspersky’s Software Fell Under Suspicion of Spying on America

January 5, 2018

Officials lack conclusive evidence, but incidents involving the firm’s antivirus products raised alarms

 Image result for Eugene Kaspersky, photos
Kaspersky CEO Warned of Cyber Attacks on 2017 European Elections
In an interview with The Wall Street Journal at the World Economic Forum in Davos last year, Eugene Kaspersky, CEO of cyber security firm Kaspersky Labs, said European governments should expect highly sophisticated cyber attacks during their elections. (Originally published Jan 1, 2017.) Photo: Bloomberg News.

Eugene Kaspersky was late for his own dinner party.

Eugene Kaspersky at his company’s Moscow headquarters in 2017.Photo: Pavel Golovkin/Associated Press

At his invitation, guests from the Washington cybersecurity community waited one evening in 2012. Seated at the National Press Club were officials from the White House, State Department, Federal Bureau of Investigation and other agencies, said people who were there. Guests had started their first course when Mr. Kaspersky arrived, wearing a tuxedo with a drink in hand.

Mr. Kaspersky, chief executive of Russian security-software vendor Kaspersky Lab, proposed a toast to the ranking guest, Estonian President Toomas Hendrik Ilves, whose country had suffered a cyberattack five years earlier. The assault followed Estonia’s decision to remove a Soviet-era monument from its capital, and U.S. officials suspected Russia was behind it.

“Toomas,” Mr. Kaspersky said. “I am so sorry that we attacked you.”

The comment stopped all conversation until Mr. Ilves broke the silence. “Thank you,” he said, raising his glass. “This is the first time anyone from Russia has ever admitted attacking my country.”

​No one suggested Kaspersky was involved in the Estonian hack, but Mr. Kaspersky’s toast played into a suspicion held by many in the U.S. intelligence community that his company might be wittingly or unwittingly in league with the Russian government—a suspicion that has only intensified since.

The process of evaluating Kaspersky’s role, and taking action against the company, is complicated by the realities of global commerce and the nature of how modern online software works. A top Department of Homeland Security official said in November congressional testimony the U.S. lacks “conclusive evidence” Kaspersky facilitated national-security breaches.

While the U.S. government hasn’t offered conclusive evidence, Wall Street Journal interviews with current and former U.S. government officials reveal what is driving their suspicions.

Some of these officials said they suspect Kaspersky’s antivirus software—the company says it is installed on 400 million computers world-wide—has been used to spy on the U.S. and blunt American espionage. Kaspersky’s suspected involvement in U.S. security breaches raises concerns about the relationship between the company and Russian intelligence, these officials said.

Employees at Kaspersky Lab in Moscow, October 2017. Photo: Kirill Kallinikov/Sputnik/Associated Press

DHS, convinced Kaspersky is a threat, has banned its software from government computers. The company sued the U.S. government on Dec. 18 in U.S. District Court in Washington, D.C., saying the ban was arbitrary and capricious, and demanding the prohibition be overturned. DHS referred inquiries to the Justice Department, which declined to comment.

Kaspersky, in a statement, said: “Unverified opinions of anonymous officials about Kaspersky Lab continue to be shared, and should be taken as nothing more than unsubstantiated allegations against a company whose mission has always been to protect against malware regardless of its source, and which has repeatedly extended an offering to the U.S. government to help alleviate any substantiated concerns. We have never helped and will never help any government with its cyberespionage efforts.”

The company in a court filing said any Russian government engagement in cyberespionage isn’t evidence that a Russia-headquartered company such as Kaspersky is facilitating government-sponsored cyberintrusions, adding: “In fact, more than 85 percent of Kaspersky Lab’s revenue comes from outside of Russia—a powerful economic incentive to avoid any action that would endanger the trusted relationships and integrity that serve as the foundation of its business by conducting inappropriate or unethical activities with any organization or government.”

The Russian Embassy in Washington, D.C., didn’t respond to requests for comment. In October, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov didn’t address whether the Russian government stole NSA materials using Kaspersky software but criticized the U.S. software ban as “undermining the competitive positions of Russian companies on the world arena.”

Servers in Russia

.
Mr. Kaspersky enrolled at the KGB-sponsored Institute of Cryptography, Telecommunications, and Computer Science, finished in 1987 and was commissioned in Soviet military intelligence, he has told reporters. He has acknowledged his company has done work for the KGB’s successor, the FSB.

Kaspersky, closely held, says it has unaudited 2016 revenues of $644 million. Current and former U.S. intelligence officials said they doubt Kaspersky could have risen to such heights outside of Russia without cooperating with Russian authorities’ aims, a conjecture the company denies.

Kaspersky’s main product is similar to other antivirus software, which scans computers to identify malicious code or infected files. Such software typically requires total access so it can remotely scan documents or emails and send a record of any suspicious and previously unidentified code back to the software company.

In an interview with The Wall Street Journal at the World Economic Forum in Davos last year, Eugene Kaspersky, CEO of cyber security firm Kaspersky Labs, said European governments should expect highly sophisticated cyber attacks during their elections. (Originally published Jan 1, 2017.) Photo: Bloomberg News.

In Kaspersky’s case, some servers are in Russia. When the DHS banned Kaspersky products, it cited “requirements under Russian law that allow Russian intelligence agencies to compel assistance from Kaspersky or intercept communications transiting Russian networks.” Kaspersky countered that those laws and tools don’t apply to its products because the firm doesn’t provide communications services.

Concerns about the potential threat posed by Kaspersky software have circulated in U.S. intelligence circles for years. U.S. intelligence issued more than two dozen reports referring to the company or its connections, according to a U.S. defense official, with the Pentagon first mentioning the firm as a potential “threat actor” in 2004.

A Defense Intelligence Agency supply-chain report flagged Kaspersky in 2013, referring to its efforts to sell American firms a protection product for large-scale U.S. industrial companies, the defense official said. A former U.S. official said Kaspersky’s efforts to make inroads in the U.S. industrial and infrastructure market made people uncomfortable.

At a February 2015 conference, Kaspersky exposed what it described as a cyber-snooping network it dubbed the “Equation Group.” In fact, it was an elite classified espionage group within the U.S. National Security Agency, said some of the former U.S. officials. Kaspersky linked it to a virus called Stuxnet that the Journal and other publications have since reported was designed by the U.S. and Israel to destroy Iranian nuclear centrifuges. Kaspersky also described other techniques and tactics the U.S. uses to break into foreign computer networks.

Once such techniques are public, they are effectively useless for spying. When NSA officials got word of Kaspersky’s plans to expose its tactics, they pulled the agency’s spying tools from around the world as a preventive measure and reworked how its hackers were functioning, said some of the former U.S. officials. The NSA didn’t respond to requests for comment.

U.S.-Russian relations at the time were deteriorating. President Vladimir Putin had granted NSA leaker Edward Snowden asylum and annexed a swath of Ukraine. Some U.S. officials were convinced Kaspersky was promoting Russian interests and had shared with the Kremlin what it knew about the Equation Group.

“To think that information wasn’t shared with Russian intelligence, or they weren’t supporting Russian intelligence,” said one former U.S. official about Kaspersky, “you’d have to be very nearsighted to not at least think there was something there.”

Mr. Kaspersky at Kaspersky Lab headquarters in Moscow, July 2017. Photo: Pavel Golovkin/Associated Press

Not all U.S. officials believed the worst about Kaspersky, with many citing the high quality of the firm’s cyberthreat research. “There was this innocent until proven guilty attitude,” said another former U.S. official who worked on Russia and national-security matters.

Israeli intelligence shared with U.S. counterparts in 2015 that it had penetrated the networks of Kaspersky, the Journal reported previously. The Israelis discovered Kaspersky software was being used to scan computers not only for viruses but also for classified government information that would be of interest to Russia, said former U.S. officials familiar with the Israeli discovery.

As the NSA investigated the Israeli tip, it homed in on a worker in the agency’s elite hacking unit, then called Tailored Access Operations. The worker had improperly removed classified information about NSA spying operations and installed it on his home computer, said former U.S. officials familiar with the episode. The contractor’s computer ran Kaspersky’s antivirus software, which acted as a digital scout and identified the classified material, these people said.

Assessing damage

.
U.S. investigators immediately sought to assess the damage, including whether Kaspersky’s products were installed on other sensitive computers, including personal machines used by government employees and their families. That could include those used by family members of then President Barack Obama, said one of the former officials familiar with the episode.

Officials feared Russian intelligence could have not only turned personal computers into tracking devices, but also used them as staging points to access other machines inside the White House, the official said. Still, the incident didn’t trigger a broader alarm across the U.S. government about whether any federal agency computers were using Kaspersky.

In response to the Journal’s story on the incident earlier this year, Kaspersky conducted an internal investigation, releasing a report in November. The only incident Kaspersky said it found that matched the story’s description occurred in late 2014. By then, it said, it had been investigating Equation Group for six months when its antivirus software detected previously unidentified variants of the malware on a U.S.-based computer and sent a zip file containing the suspicious code to the Moscow-based virus lab for analysis.

Kaspersky Lab headquarters in Moscow.Photo: Sergei Karpukhin/REUTERS

The analysis discovered hacking tools now known to have belonged to the NSA, as well as four documents bearing what appeared to be classification markings, Kaspersky said, without mentioning the NSA or U.S. government by name. Mr. Kaspersky ordered the files deleted from the company’s systems within days and the information wasn’t shared with third parties, the company said.

Kaspersky said it did keep certain malware files from that collection. It said it also detected commercially available malware on the U.S. computer, which could have been used to remove files.

In the summer of 2016, a mysterious online group calling itself the Shadow Brokers posted stolen NSA cyberspying tools. The Shadow Brokers claimed in its postings that some of the tools came from Equation Group.

Again, U.S. officials rushed to determine how the tools were stolen. Among the posted computer code were technical manuals the NSA uses as part of its spying operations. These are akin to guidebooks, showing the agency’s hackers how to penetrate various systems and walking them through the procedures for different missions.

One lead pointed back to Kaspersky products, said current and former U.S. officials. Investigators now believe that those manuals may have been obtained using Kaspersky to scan computers on which they were stored, according to one of the officials.

Kaspersky said it has no information on the content of the classified documents it received in 2014 because they were deleted. It isn’t clear if the manuals the Shadow Brokers posted are the same documents.

Around the time the Shadow Brokers were spilling NSA secrets, emails stolen from the Democratic National Committee were showing up on WikiLeaks in what intelligence officials have said publicly they concluded was a Russian-led hacking operation to discredit the campaign of Hillary Clinton. Officials from the White House, the Pentagon, the State Department and the intelligence community met in late 2016 to debate responses to the alleged Russian aggression, said some former U.S. officials.

At the State Department, among options considered was taking retaliatory action against Kaspersky, said former officials involved in the deliberations. Daniel Fried, then chief sanctions coordinator at the State Department, told the Journal he recommended to colleagues they look for elements of Russia’s cyberpower the U.S. could target. He told colleagues Kaspersky at least needed to be considered as a potential player in Russia’s moves against the West.

“I asked rhetorically, do you want to testify before some committee about when did you know about this and why didn’t you do anything?” said Mr. Fried, now a Distinguished Fellow at the Atlantic Council, a think tank focusing on international affairs.

The State Department referred inquiries to the Justice Department, which declined to comment.

Some U.S. officials, including top White House security officials at the time, were concerned any action against Kaspersky could hurt U.S. companies by provoking a Russian response against them. U.S. officials also worried that, to justify harsh penalties, they would have to divulge what they knew about Kaspersky and its possible links to Russian intelligence, said several former officials.

Ultimately, the Obama White House didn’t seriously consider sanctioning Kaspersky, some former U.S. officials said.

Last year, Homeland Security created and led an interagency task force that collected information about the scope of the risk the Kaspersky software posed and began coordinating efforts across the government to minimize the risks.

In the months after President Donald Trump took office, concern about Kaspersky grew. Sen. Jeanne Shaheen (D., N.H.) put forward an amendment in the annual military-spending bill that would prohibit Kaspersky’s use on government computers.

Sen. Jeanne Shaheen at a hearing in June. Photo: Zach Gibson/Getty Images

During hearings on the matter on Capitol Hill, “I thought the most damning example” came from intelligence-community representatives, she said in an interview. “When each of them got asked would you put Kaspersky on your own personal computer and the answer was no, that’s a pretty strong message that maybe we should be taking a look at this.”

In September, the DHS banned Kaspersky products from government computers, instructing agencies to remove any Kaspersky software and report back on where it was found. The public statement accompanying the ban reads like a declassified version of the intelligence community’s suspicion regarding Kaspersky:

“The risk that the Russian government, whether acting on its own or in collaboration with Kaspersky, could capitalize on access provided by Kaspersky products to compromise federal information and information systems directly implicates U.S. national security.”

Kaspersky says the DHS ban has had a “severe adverse effect” on its commercial operations in the U.S., with retailers removing its products from shelves and an unprecedented number of product returns.

—Aruna Viswanatha contributed to this article.

Write to Gordon Lubold at Gordon.Lubold@wsj.com

Kaspersky antivirus software sometimes copies your files files

November 4, 2017

Image may contain: tree, sky and outdoor

SAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) – Eugene Kaspersky said his company’s widely used antivirus software has copied files that did not threaten the personal computers of customers, a sharp departure from industry practice that could increase suspicions that the Moscow-based firm aids Russian spies.

The acknowledgement, made in an interview last Friday as part of the Reuters Cyber Security Summit, comes days after Kaspersky’s company said its software had copied a file containing U.S. National Security Agency hacking tools from the home computer of an agency worker in 2014.

 Image may contain: sky and outdoor

Kaspersky’s firm has for years faced suspicions that it has links with Russian intelligence and state-sponsored hackers. Kaspersky denies any cooperation with Russian authorities beyond cyber crime enforcement.

In September, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security banned Kaspersky software from use in federal offices, citing the company’s ties with Russian intelligence. The company is the subject of a long-running probe by the U.S. Federal Bureau of Investigation, sources have told Reuters.

Antivirus software is designed to burrow deeply into computer systems and has broad access to their contents, but it normally seeks and destroys only files that contain viruses or are otherwise threatening to a customer’s computers, leaving all other files untouched.

Searching for and copying files that might contain hacking tools or clues about cyber criminals would not be part of normal operations of antivirus software, former Kaspersky employees and cyber security experts said.

In the Reuters interview, conducted at Kaspersky Lab’s offices in Moscow, Eugene Kaspersky said the NSA tools were copied because they were part of a larger file that had been automatically flagged as malicious.

He said the software removed from the agency worker’s computer included a tool researchers dubbed GrayFish, which the company has called the most complex software it has ever seen for corrupting the startup process for Microsoft’s Windows operating system.

Kaspersky said he had ordered the file to be deleted “within days” because it contained U.S. government secrets.

But he defended the broader practice of taking inert files from machines of people that the company believes to be hackers as part of a broader mission to help fight cyber crime.

“From time to time, yes, we have their code directly from their computers, from the developers’ computers,” Kaspersky told Reuters.

‘IMPROPER PRACTICE’

Three former Kaspersky employees and a person close to the FBI probe of the company, who first described the tactic to Reuters this summer, said copying non-infectious files abused the power of antivirus software. The person associated with the FBI said in one case Kaspersky removed a digital photo of a suspected hacker from that person’s machine.

Eugene Kaspersky declined to discuss specific instances beyond the NSA case, saying he did not want to give hackers ideas for avoiding detection.

“Sometimes we are able to catch cyber criminals, that’s why I am not so comfortable to speak about this to media,” he said in the interview. “Many of them are very clever, they can learn from what I am saying.”

Other industry experts called the practice improper. Mikko Hypponen, chief research officer at Finnish security company F-Secure, said that when his firm’s software finds a document that might contain dangerous code, “it will prompt the user or the administrator and ask if it can upload a copy to us.”

Dan Guido, chief executive of cyber security firm Trail of Bits, which has performed audits on security software, said Kaspersky’s practices point to a larger issue with all antivirus software.

“All of them aggregate a huge amount of information about their clients, which can be easily exploited when put in willing hands,” he said.

U.S. news organizations have reported that Kaspersky, or Russian spies hijacking its service, have been searching widely among customers’ computers for secret files, citing anonymous U.S. intelligence officials. Reuters has not verified such reports.

Kaspersky said he hoped to alleviate concerns about his company by opening up his source code for review by third parties in independently run centers, as well as by raising the maximum amount it offers for information about security flaws in its programs to $100,000.

To read the latest Reuters coverage of cyber security, click on www.reuters.com/cyberrisk

Reporting by Joseph Menn in San Francisco; Additional reporting by Jack Stubbs in Moscow, Jim Finkle and Alastair Sharp in Toronto and Dustin Volz in Washington; Editing by Jonathan Weber and Bill Rigby

Russia’s Kaspersky to Allow Outside Review of Its Cybersecurity Software

October 23, 2017

Company hopes sharing source code will build trust after allegations its software helped Russia spy on Americans

Kaspersky Lab, the Moscow-based cybersecurity firm whose software U.S. officials suspect helped the Russian government spy on Americans, promised to make its source code available for an independent review.

The company said Monday the review is part of a “global transparency initiative” that it hopes will improve the trustworthiness of its products. It said it would hand over the source code for its software in the first quarter of next year but didn’t specify who would undertake the review or how widely the code would be…

 https://www.wsj.com/articles/russian-cybersecurity-firm-kaspersky-to-make-source-code-available-for-review-1508756502
.
Related:
.
.
.

Image result for Eugene Kaspersky, photos

Eugene Kaspersky

*****************************************************

Kaspersky fights spying claims with code review plan

October 23, 2017 — 0745

Apple Pay now in 20 markets, nabs 90% of all mobile contactless transactions where active

Russian cybersecurity software maker Kaspersky Labs has announced what it’s dubbing a “comprehensive transparency initiative” as the company seeks to beat back suspicion that its antivirus software has been hacked or penetrated by the Russian government and used as a route for scooping up US intelligence.

In a post on its website today the Moscow-based company has published a four point plan to try to win back customer trust, saying it will be submitting its source code for independent review, starting in Q1 2018. It hasn’t yet specified who will be conducting the review but says it will be “undertaken with an internationally recognized authority”.

It has also announced an independent review of its internal processes — aimed at verifying the “integrity of our solutions and processes”. And says it will also be establishing three “transparency centers” outside its home turf in the next three years — to enable “clients, government bodies and concerned organizations to review source code, update code and threat detection rules”.

It says the first center will be up and running in 2018, and all three will be live by 2020. The locations are listed generally as: Asia, Europe and the U.S.

No automatic alt text available.

Finally it’s also increasing its bug bounty rewards — saying it will pay up to $100K per discovered vulnerability in its main Kaspersky Lab products.

That’s a substantial ramping up of its current program which — as of April this year — could pay out up to $5,000 per discovered remote code execution bugs. (And, prior to that, up to $2,000 only.)

Kaspersky’s moves follow a ban announced by the US Department of Homeland Security on its software last month, citing concerns about 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 US Senate swiftly followed suit, voting to oust Kaspersky software from federal use. While three months earlier the General Services Administration also removed Kaspersky Lab from a list of approved federal vendors.

The extensive system-wide permissions of antivirus software could certainly make it an attractive target for government agents seeking to spy on adversaries and scoop up data, given the trust it demands of its users.

The WSJ has previously reported that Russian hackers working for the government were able to obtain classified documents from an NSA employee who had stored them on a personal computer that ran Kaspersky software.

Earlier this month CEO Eugene Kaspersky blogged at length — rebutting what he dubbed “false allegations in U.S. media”, and writing: “Our mission is to protect our users and their data. Surveillance, snooping, spying, eavesdropping… all that is done by espionage agencies (which we occasionally catch out and tell the world about), not us.”

We’re proud to keep on protecting people against all cyberthreats – no matter of false allegations in U.S. media https://kas.pr/x78t 

Photo published for What’s going on?

What’s going on?

I doubt you’ll have missed how over the last couple months our company has suffered an unrelenting negative-news campaign in the U.S. press.

eugene.kaspersky.com

But when your business relies so firmly on user trust — and is headquartered close to the Kremlin, to boot — words may evidently not be enough. Hence Kaspersky now announcing a raft of “transparency” actions.

Whether those actions will be enough to restore the confidence of US government agencies in Russian-built software is another matter though.

Kaspersky hasn’t yet named who its external reviewers will be, either. But reached for comment, a company spokeswoman told us: “We will announce selected partners shortly. Kaspersky Lab remains focused on finding independent experts with strong credentials in software security and assurance testing for cybersecurity products. Some recommended competencies include, but are not limited to, technical audits, code base reviews, vulnerability assessments, architectural risk analysis, secure development lifecycle process reviews, etc. Taking a multi-stakeholder approach, we welcome input and recommendations from interested parties at transparency@kaspersky.com

She also sent the following general company statement:

Kaspersky Lab was not involved in and does not possess any knowledge of the situation in question, and the company reiterates its willingness to work alongside U.S. authorities to address any concerns they may have about its products as well as its systems.

As there has not been any evidence presented, Kaspersky Lab cannot investigate these unsubstantiated claims, and if there is any indication that the company’s systems may have been exploited, we respectfully request relevant parties responsibly provide the company with verifiable information. It’s disappointing that these unverified claims continue to perpetuate the narrative of a company which, in its 20 year history, has never helped any government in the world with its cyberespionage efforts.

In addition, with regards to unverified assertions that this situation relates to Duqu2, a sophisticated cyber-attack of which Kaspersky Lab was not the only target, we are confident that we have identified and removed all of the infections that happened during that incident. Furthermore, Kaspersky Lab publicly reported the attack, and the company offered its assistance to affected or interested organisations to help mitigate this threat.

Contrary to erroneous reports, Kaspersky Lab technologies are designed and used for the sole purpose of detecting all kinds of threats, including nation-state sponsored malware, regardless of the origin or purpose. The company tracks more than 100 advanced persistent threat actors and operations, and for 20 years, Kaspersky Lab has been focused on protecting people and organisations from these cyberthreats — its headquarters’ location doesn’t change that mission.

“We want to show how we’re completely open and transparent. We’ve nothing to hide,” added Kaspersky in another statement.

Interestingly enough, the move is pushing in the opposite direction of US-based cybersecurity firm Symantec — which earlier this month announced it would no longer be allowing governments to review the source code of its software because of fears the agreements would compromise the security of its products.

Source:https://techcrunch.com/2017/10/23/kaspersky-fights-spying-claims-with-code-review-plan/

US agencies banned from using Russia’s Kaspersky software

September 14, 2017

Federal agencies in the US have 90 days to wipe Kaspersky software from their computers. Officials are concerned about the Russian company’s ties to the Kremlin and possible threats to national security.

Headquarters of Internet security giant Kaspersky in Moscow (Getty Images/AFP/K. Kudryavtsev)

The administration of US President Donald Trump has ordered government agencies to remove products made by Russian company Kaspersky Labs from their computers.

The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) said Wednesday it was concerned that the cybersecurity firm was susceptible to pressure from Moscow and thus a potential threat to national security.

Read more: Facebook, Russia and the US elections – what you need to know

DHS said in a statement that it was “concerned about the ties between certain Kaspersky officials and Russian intelligence and other government agencies,” as well as Russian laws that might compel Kaspersky to hand over information to the government.

But the makers of the popular anti-virus software have said “no credible evidence has been presented publicly by anyone or any organization as the accusations are based on false allegations and inaccurate assumptions.”

US tech retailer Best Buy confirmed earlier Wednesday that it would no longer sell Kaspersky products, but has declined to give further details on the decision.

Ties between Kaspersky, Kremlin ‘alarming’

Civilian government agencies have 90 days to completely remove Kaspersky software from their computers. The products have already been banned in the Pentagon.

US congressional leaders have applauded the move. Democratic Senator Jeanne Shaheen said the “strong ties between Kaspersky Lab and the Kremlin are alarming and well-documented,” and asked the DHS if the company’s products were used for any critical infrastructure, such as for voting systems, banks and energy supply.

Although Kaspersky Labs was founded by a KGB-trained entrepreneur, Eugene Kaspersky, and has done work for Russian intelligence, the company has repeatedly denied carrying out espionage on behalf of President Vladimir Putin and his government.

es/cmk (AP, Reuters)

http://www.dw.com/en/us-agencies-banned-from-using-russias-kaspersky-software/a-40500232

U.S. Senate moves to ban Moscow-based cybersecurity firm Kaspersky Lab over ties to Russia

June 29, 2017

The Hill

Senate moves to ban Moscow-based cybersecurity firm over ties to Russia
© Getty Images

The Senate’s draft of the Department of Defense’s budget rules reveals a provision that would block the use of products from the Russian-based global cybersecurity firm Kaspersky Lab, citing concerns that the company “might be vulnerable to Russian government influence.”

Reuters reporter Dustin Volz first shared the news in a tweet Wednesday.

“BREAKING: Senate draft of [National Defense Authorization Act] bans use of Kaspersky products by [Department of Justice] due to reports company “might be vulnerable to Russian [government] influence,” Volz tweeted.

The decision to ban the products within the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA), which specifies budget and expenditures for the Department of Defense, comes after the FBI visited at least 10 Kaspersky employee’s homes.

The investigative agency, however, has not yet contacted the company.While Kaspersky is based in Russia, the company has research centers around the world, including in the U.S.

“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 cyber espionage efforts,” the company said in a reissued statement.

“The company has a 20-year history in the IT security industry of always abiding by the highest ethical business practices, and Kaspersky Lab believes it is completely unacceptable that the company is being unjustly accused without any hard evidence to back up these false allegations,” the statement continued. “Kaspersky Lab is available to assist all concerned government organizations with any ongoing investigations, and the company ardently believes a deeper examination of Kaspersky Lab will confirm that these allegations are unfounded.”

Its founder, Eugene Kaspersky, has also offered to testify in front Congress after NBC News reported that its employees were largely asked about their relationship between the U.S. and Russian.

http://thehill.com/homenews/senate/339981-senate-moves-to-ban-moscow-based-kaspersky-use-due-to-concerns-about-russian

Image result for Eugene Kaspersky, photos

Eugene Kaspersky

Russia’s ‘Cyber Security King’ Accused of sabotaging his competitors, helping Russian spies — He says he has nothing to hide

October 6, 2015
Eugene Kaspersky, CEO of Kaspersky Lab, speaks in Washington on June 4, 2013

Eugene Kaspersky, CEO of Kaspersky Lab

Text by Claire WILLIAMS , Farah BOUCHERAK , MONACO

Latest update : 2015-10-06

Accused of helping Russian spies and sabotaging his competitors, Eugene Kaspersky tells FRANCE 24 he is innocent and has “nothing to hide”.

Empty-handed, Eugene Kaspersky obediently backs away from the buffet. A waitress has just told him off for picking up a carrot stick before the party has begun. Little did she know he paid for the lavish networking-do at the ‘Les Assises’ cyber conference in Monaco. Everyone else, bar the catering staff, knows exactly who he is.

“I was expecting Eugene Kaspersky’s party to be all about red meat and vodka. But instead it’s all salads and champagne,” said Canadian security expert Ben Marzouk. “To see him here as sweet as a lamb, well, that’s killed the myth.”

Eugene Kaspersky is equally famous and feared in cyber circles. At 16, he was selected to study cryptography at a school partially funded by the KGB. By the time he was 24, he had created his first anti-virus software to protect his own computer.

Eight years later he founded Kaspersky Lab, which is now one of the biggest anti-virus makers in the world, with 460 million users and 711 million euros in annual profit. His firm has impressed critics by revealing real cyber threats like the Equation Group, a highly sophisticated attack team it believes helped create the Stuxnet virus.

Today the Russian billionaire spends most of his working life on a global PR drive trying to convince governments, companies and individuals to trust him and his anti-virus software.

Allegations of aiding Russian espionage

The news agency Reuters says it has evidence Kaspersky Lab deliberately created fake, harmless viruses in 2009 to trick its competitors into deleting important files on their customers’ PCs. The alleged aim was to expose firms Kaspersky believed were using his technology instead of developing their own. Reuters sources claim Kaspersky told his researchers to attack rival AVG by “rubbing them out in the outhouse,” quoting Vladmir Putin’s threat to pursue Chechen rebels wherever.

But the allegations have failed to convince everyone in the industry.

When France 24 spoke to Jeffrey Carr, the American CEO of security firm Taia Global, he said he didn’t know if Reuters’ claims were true or false. “We should be sceptical since the accusers are both anonymous and have an axe to grind against their former employer,” he said.

Kaspersky called Reuters’ claims “ludicrous”, saying the fake virus attack also affected his company.

“It remains a mystery who staged the attack, but now I’m being told it was me!”

Another news outlet, Bloomberg, has accused Kaspersky Lab’s senior management of handing over customer data to help the KGB’s successor, the FSB, carry out spying. It also claims Kaspersky regularly attends banya (sauna) sessions in Moscow with Russian spies.

Kaspersky insists the Russian authorities have no hold over his firm. “There were no cases when we were asked about sharing data we got from customers,” he told FRANCE 24. “There is no way. I’m in the IT business and it’s not possible to pressure us. Our value is our brains, which can travel.”

“Everyone is spying on each other”

Yves Grandmontagne, a journalist who has been covering cyber news for twenty years, says it is hard to believe governments, in Russia or anywhere else, could resist calling on the expert services of domestic firms with access to customer data from around the world.

It is “more than plausible” that Kaspersky Lab hands over its clients’ data to the Russian government, he said. “But we should look at ourselves in the mirror. Because … the Americans are at it, the British, the French, everyone is spying on each other.”

There’s nothing new or extraordinary about firms working with their respective governments, Carr said.“Everyone wants to support their own government’s goals and policies, and will do what they’ve been contracted to do.”

Can you trust foreign cyber security firms at all?

But to protect themselves against international attacks, governments and companies have little choice but to work with non-domestic cyber security providers.

“If governments and companies only use tools developed domestically, they will not acquire the best ones available to suit their particular needs,” said Grandmontagne.

Layered, complex threats are coming from outside the country, so the solutions need to as well.

Admiral Dominique Riban, second in command of the French Government’s IT security agency ANSSI, believes “you can trust Kaspersky on your personal computer. But if you’re working in an important industry, trust will need to be built up over time. And when it comes to national defence and classified information, there are times we won’t call on the services of a Russian or American firm, or any other nationality.”

“France doesn’t have friends in the cyber world. We have enemies, and we have allies,” he said.