Monday, 03 July 2017 10:27

US moves against Kaspersky: Founder calls it cyber-McCarthyism Featured

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Kaspersky Lab owner Eugene Kaspersky has hit out at reports about the US moving to stop the use of his company's products in the Department of Defence, calling it "cyber-McCarthyism".

In a long blog post, he offered again to have the source code of his products reviewed by the US government to put to rest claims that it contained any malicious elements that were used to spy on customers.

Eugene said his company had been in the spotlight again last week, adding that it was not the first time this had happened.

"I say ‘again’ as this isn’t the first time we’ve been faced with allegations, ungrounded speculation and all sorts of other made-up things since the change of the geopolitical situation a few years ago," he said.

"With the US and Russia at odds, somehow, my company, its innovative and proven products as well as our amazing employees are repeatedly being defamed, given that I started the company in Russia 20 years ago.

"While this wasn’t really a problem before, I get it – it’s definitely not popular to be Russian right now in some countries."

The US government is in the midst of a review as to whether it should continue using Kaspersky Lab's anti-malware software in its offices. And the latest draft of the National Defence Authorisation Act has recommended that the Department of Defence be prohibited from using Kaspersky products.

Eugene said that while he found the accusations and allegations frustrating, he had noticed common elements all the "attacks":

  • A complete lack of evidence;
  • Conspiracy theories and pure speculation;
  • Assumptions reported as irrefutable facts;
  • Anonymous sources; and
  • Manipulation of widely-known facts.

"Basically, it seems that because I’m a self-made entrepreneur who, due to my age and nationality, inevitably was educated during the Soviet era in Russia, they mistakenly conclude my company and I must be bosom buddies with the Russian intelligence agencies… Yes, it is that absurdly ridiculous," he said.

If software from every company was judged as being an extension of the policies of its country of origin, then it would be easy to exclude software made by US companies, Eugene said.

"I hope the US government will take me up on my offer to fully co-operate with them, because I know that if they do they’ll see there’s nothing to fear from us.

"Let’s not return to the days of McCarthyism and start attacking people and companies (that are successfully protecting consumers and businesses from cyber threats) simply because they were born or developed in another country. Cyber-McCarthyism will get us nowhere."

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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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