Israel reportedly behind discovery of Russian antivirus company’s spy links

Computer hackingIsraeli spy services were reportedly behind the United States government’s recent decision to purge Kaspersky Lab antivirus software from its computers, citing possible collusion with Russian intelligence. Last month, the US Department of Homeland Security issued a directive ordering that all government computers should be free of software products designed by Kaspersky Lab. Formed in the late 1990s by Russian cybersecurity expert Eugene Kaspersky, the multinational antivirus software provider operates out of Moscow but is technically based in the United Kingdom. Its antivirus and cybersecurity products are installed on tens of millions of computers around the world, including computers belonging to government agencies in the US and elsewhere. But last month’s memorandum by the US government’s domestic security arm alarmed the cybersecurity community by alleging direct operational links between the antivirus company and the Kremlin.

On Tuesday, The New York Times reported that the initial piece of intelligence that alerted the US government to the alleged links between Kaspersky Lab and Moscow was provided by Israel. The American paper said that Israeli cyber spies managed to hack into Kaspersky’s systems and confirm the heavy presence of Russian government operatives there. The Times’ report stated that the Israelis documented real-time cyber espionage operations by the Russians, which targeted the government computer systems of foreign governments, including the United States’. The Israeli spies then reportedly approached their American counterparts and told them that Kaspersky Lab software was being used by Russian intelligence services as a backdoor to millions of computers worldwide. The Israelis also concluded that Kaspersky’s antivirus software was used to illegally steal files from these computers, which were essentially infected by spy software operated by the Russian government.

It was following the tip by the Israelis that he Department of Homeland Security issued its memorandum saying that it was “concerned about the ties between certain Kaspersky [Lab] officials and Russian intelligence and other government agencies”. The memorandum resulted in a decision by the US government —overwhelmingly supported by Congress— to scrap all Kaspersky software from its computer systems. Kaspersky Lab has rejected allegations that it works with Russian intelligence. In a statement issued in May of this year, the company said it had “never helped, nor will help, any government in the world with its cyberespionage efforts”.

Author: Joseph Fitsanakis | Date: 11 October 2017 | Pemalink

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One Response to Israel reportedly behind discovery of Russian antivirus company’s spy links

  1. Pete says:

    1. The decision to finally close in on Kaspersky Lab may have been helped by Submarine Matters, December 7, 2016 article “Intelligence Vulnerabilities of Submariner Social Media Us” [A] which indicated in part:

    “Cyber defenders may be a little nervous to what extent the basically Moscow headquartered Kaspersky Lab anti-virus multinational safeguards Western secrets against Russian intelligence exploitation. If I were in Russia’s NSA equivalent I wouldn’t hesitate to lean on Russia companies with access.”

    2. It is also relevant that Eugene Kaspersky, who co-founded Kaspersky Lab in 1997, is recorded on Wikipedia as [B]:

    “At the age of 16, Kaspersky entered a five-year program with The Technical Faculty of the KGB Higher School,[15] which prepared intelligence officers for the Russian military and KGB.[7][8] He graduated in 1987[15] with a degree in mathematical engineering and computer technology.[4][8] After graduating college, Kaspersky served the Soviet military intelligence service [6] as a software engineer.[2][10] He met his first wife Natalya Kaspersky at Severskoye, a KGB vacation resort, in 1987.[2]”

    [A] http://gentleseas.blogspot.com.au/2016/12/intelligence-vulnerabilities-of.html

    [B] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Eugene_Kaspersky#Early_life

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