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Friday, 13 October 2017 19:33

Kaspersky asks for proof of claims made in American media Featured

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Under pressure after a series of articles in the US press made various claims about its links to Russian state authorities this week, security firm Kaspersky Lab appears to be reluctant to dismiss the allegations out of hand.

But the company did respond to questions put to it by iTWire yesterday, even if its answers were not to the point.

A report in The Wall Street Journal on Wednesday hinted that Kaspersky Lab could have made available its source code to the Russian Government.

Prior to that, a report in The Washington Post on Tuesday claimed that Israeli Government information security professionals had found NSA hacking tools in Kaspersky Lab's system when it gained access to the company's servers in 2014.

And The New York Times claimed that Russian Government employees had used Kaspersky's anti-virus software to search for the code names of US intelligence programmes, while Israeli intelligence officials looked on.

Below are the questions iTWire put to the company and the replies received from a Kaspersky Lab spokesperson.

Q. Did Kaspersky Lab provide the source code for its A-V to the Russian government as can be inferred from this story?

A. Kaspersky Lab routinely attains licences and certifications from the countries it operates in. These demonstrate Kaspersky Lab products are trusted to secure sensitive data and are protecting organisations without any issues or unexpected behaviours.

The company’s two decades in the IT security industry show that it always abides 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.

Kaspersky Lab is available to assist all concerned government organisations with any ongoing investigations, and the company ardently believes a deeper examination of Kaspersky Lab will confirm that these allegations are unfounded.

Q. This story claims that NSA malware samples were present on Kaspersky servers and detected by Israeli hackers who breached the company's servers. What does the company say about this claim?

A. 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 US 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 is 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 cyber espionage 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 organizations from these cyber threats - its headquarters’ location doesn’t change that mission.

Q. According to this story, Kaspersky Lab refused to answer specific questions put to the company by the New York Times. Right or wrong?

A. Kaspersky Lab addresses media inquiries from all journalists in a timely manner.

The flood of stories about Kaspersky Lab have come in the wake of claims that Russia influenced the direction of the US presidential election in 2016. These allegations have been mounting since Donald Trump defeated Hillary Clinton in November last year.

Some observers say Kaspersky Lab has become collateral damage in the stoush between the US and Russian Governments.

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Sam Varghese

Sam Varghese has been writing for iTWire since 2006, a year after the site came into existence. For nearly a decade thereafter, he wrote mostly about free and open source software, based on his own use of this genre of software. Since May 2016, he has been writing across many areas of technology. He has been a journalist for nearly 40 years in India (Indian Express and Deccan Herald), the UAE (Khaleej Times) and Australia (Daily Commercial News (now defunct) and The Age). His personal blog is titled Irregular Expression.

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