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Fri Mar 20, 2015, 05:12 PM


The Company Securing Your Internet Has Close Ties to Russian Spies

Source: Bloomberg Business

Kaspersky Lab has published reports on alleged electronic espionage by the U.S., Israel, and the U.K.—but it’s yet to look at Russia

Kaspersky Lab sells security software, including antivirus programs recommended by big-box stores and other U.S. PC retailers. The Moscow-based company ranks sixth in revenue among security-software makers, taking in $667 million in 2013, and is a favorite among Best Buy’s Geek Squad technicians and reviewers on Amazon.com. Founder and Chief Executive Officer Eugene Kaspersky used to work for the KGB, and in 2007, one of the company’s Japanese ad campaigns used the slogan “A Specialist in Cryptography from KGB.” The sales tactic, a local partner’s idea, was “quickly removed by headquarters,” according to Kaspersky Lab, as the company recruited senior managers in the U.S. and Europe to expand its business and readied an initial public offering with a U.S. investment firm.

In 2012, however, Kaspersky Lab abruptly changed course. Since then, high-level managers have left or been fired, their jobs often filled by people with closer ties to Russia’s military or intelligence services. Some of these people actively aid criminal investigations by the FSB, the KGB’s successor, using data from some of the 400 million customers who rely on Kaspersky Lab’s software, say six current and former employees who declined to discuss the matter publicly because they feared reprisals. This closeness starts at the top: Unless Kaspersky is traveling, he rarely misses a weekly banya (sauna) night with a group of about 5 to 10 that usually includes Russian intelligence officials. Kaspersky says in an interview that the group saunas are purely social: “When I go to banya, they’re friends.”

Kaspersky says government officials can’t associate his company’s data with individual customers and that he hasn’t had to worry about increased pressure to demonstrate loyalty to Vladimir Putin. “I’m not the right person to talk about Russian realities, because I live in cyberspace,” he says.

Nonetheless, while Kaspersky Lab has published a series of reports that examined alleged electronic espionage by the U.S., Israel, and the U.K., the company hasn’t pursued alleged Russian operations with the same vigor. In February, Kaspersky Lab researchers released a remarkably detailed report about the tactics of a hacker collective known as the Equation Group, which has targeted Russia, Iran, and Pakistan, and which cyber security analysts believe to be a cover for the U.S. National Security Agency. Kaspersky Lab hasn’t issued a similar report about Russia’s links to sophisticated spyware known as Sofacy, which has attacked NATO and foreign ministries in Eastern Europe. Sofacy was reported on last fall by U.S. cyber security company FireEye. While Kaspersky Lab is the most prominent cyber security business with close ties to the Russian government, that affinity with the country’s spooks reflects a years long shift by security companies toward choosing sides. Most major security-software makers work with the U.S. in some capacity. Any government relationships can make a company’s products harder to sell in a paranoid global marketplace, says Rick Holland, principal analyst of security and risk management for Forrester Research. “It’s a challenge for any security company out there,” Holland says. “What are your ties to government?”

'By'Carol Matlack, Michael A Riley and Jordan Robertson

Read more: http://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2015-03-19/cybersecurity-kaspersky-has-close-ties-to-russian-spies?cmpid=BBD031915ce

It does make it a little more interesting that Snowden is in Russia. Was he aware of this?

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Reply The Company Securing Your Internet Has Close Ties to Russian Spies (Original post)
TheNutcracker Mar 2015 OP
sharp_stick Mar 2015 #1

Response to TheNutcracker (Original post)

Fri Mar 20, 2015, 06:39 PM

1. We haven't used Kaspersky

for years.

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