The United States government has decided to block all its #Federal Agencies from buying software developed by the Kaspersky Labs, which is based in Russia, due to a possible association with intelligence agencies in Russia apart from collaboration with local intelligence services. The news was confirmed by the General Services Administration that Kaspersky is no longer on the list of #Government-approved software vendors. This primarily means that all federal agencies, as well as state departments in #The United States, are not allowed to buy any kind of software from the Russia-based security vendor.
Kaspersky Security gets banned in the U.S.
The GSA was quoted saying that the agency’s priority is making sure that the security of the networks and government systems in the U.S.
This is not the first time that concerns over Kaspersky’s links with the Russia have surfaced. Bloomberg News recently shared that the ties Kaspersky had with Russia were much stronger than it was initially suspected. It is believed that the company has a very good work relationship with the FSB, an intelligence agency in Russia.
Kaspersky denies inappropriate associations with any government
The security firm, on the other hand, has denied all the allegations made in the Bloomberg Businessweek article. In a press statement, the security software developer stated that irrespective of how the facts were diluted, the company or its executives, did not have any unsuitable ties with any country’s government. The firm also clarified its stance on with regards to the accusations, addressing each concern.
Kaspersky asserted that it only works in tandem with agencies to fight against cyber crime. Bloomberg has claimed that the publication has obtained several internal emails that can be served as evidence of a “much closer working relationship” between FSB and Kaspersky. However, the Russian cyber security firm maintains that the internal communication was “misinterpreted or manipulated” by the U.S. based media house.
The security company stated that it has been very vocal and transparent about the assistance it extends toward law enforcement agencies from all over the world in a bid to fight cyber threats and other cyber crimerelated matters. Amongst these countries that Kaspersky helps time and again, including Russia. It also noted that, while working on any official Russian cyber crime investigation, the firm abides the country’s law and provides them with tech expertise to aid in nabbing the criminals effectively. The security firm also maintained that the company was being “unjustly accused” sans any concrete evidence.
In another report, Kaspersky has been accused of making malware for more than ten years — The firm tricked other antiviruses into labeling it as infected.
Last time when Kaspersky was in the news it was about its relationship with Facebook so it can help the users identify and remove malware from their computers. Now, the firm is in the news for all the wrong reasons.
As per the claim of two ex-employees of Kaspersky, the malware attack was actually conducted to penalize emerging rivals firms for “stealing” its technology.
Even the Best isn’t Safe: World’s Leading Cybersecurity Firm Kaspersky Hacked
Basically, the attack worked like this: The antivirus firm Kaspersky would insert codes that looked dangerous into the software’s common pieces. Later, it would anonymously submit malware aggregator files to platforms like Google’s VirusTotal.
The competitors used to add the malware to their detection engines and would mistakenly flag the actual files due to the similarity of codes. Eventually, Kaspersky started targeting big-shot rivals like Avast, Microsoft, and AVG.
The companies involved in this hoax did not comment on the allegations for which Kaspersky is being accused of. However, all these firms had previously informed Reuters about an unknown third party that was trying to mislead them into marking false positives.
Allegedly, Kaspersky researchers worked for “weeks to months” on this project and just a small group of employees/researchers knew about this trickery, which peaked from 2009 to 2013.
Kaspersky has rejected all these claims and said in a statement that:
“Our company has never conducted any secret campaign to trick competitors into generating false positives to damage their market standing. Accusations by anonymous, disgruntled ex-employees that Kaspersky Lab, or its CEO, was involved in these incidents are meritless and simply false. Such actions are unethical, dishonest and their legality is at least questionable.”
GDPR Watchdog believe the article below is probably be the real reason for US government to attack Kaspersky!
Kaspersky Lab, founded in Moscow in 1997, has been a world leader in cybersecurity for decades, taking pride in working outside of any government’s sphere of influence. US intelligence agencies, however, seem to consider the Russian firm a competitive challenge, cybersecurity experts say.
“Kaspersky is highly reputable. It has been operating for a couple of decades. It has 400 million users around the world, including until very recently the American government,” former MI5 analyst Annie Machon said. “So of course if they are doing it, other countries are going to do it to a competitor corporation around the world too. Obviously, the CIA would be interested in a very successful Russian-based company that offers protection on the internet.”
“Kaspersky [has] one of the most successful security teams worldwide. Don’t forget that Kaspersky was the security firm that first of all discovered the NSA-linked group of activities involved in cyber espionage activities worldwide,” Pierluigi Paganini, head of cybersecurity at Grant Thornton Consultants, told RT.
“Kaspersky has been a very reputable company. And so what this is, quite frankly, an old Russian term ‘kompromat’ [compromising material], where you impersonate, as they see it, the enemy… Using [a] particular ‘Hive’ program,” London-based intelligence analyst Glenmore Trenear-Harvey said.
The Russian company became one of the targets amidst the ongoing anti-Russian hysteria in the US, which centers on the unproven allegations of Russian meddling in the 2016 US presidential elections. In September, the US Department of Homeland Security (DHS) ordered all government agencies to stop using Kaspersky products and to remove it from computers, citing “security risks.”
And while Kaspersky Lab is actively cooperating with the US authorities, on Thursday, WikiLeaks published a source code for the CIA hacking tool ‘Hive’, which was used by US intelligence agencies to imitate the Kaspersky Lab code and leave behind false digital fingerprints. Exposing the CIA’s impersonation of Kaspersky Lab is just a part of WikiLeaks’ Vault 7 and 8 revelations which shed light on the CIA’s electronic surveillance methods and cyberwarfare tools.
WikiLeaks latest disclosure features real documents, former CIA analyst Ray McGovern told RT, describing it as “original, pristine and pure documents.” The CIA hacking tool ‘Hive’, first exposed by Wikileaks in March, “enables the CIA to hack into computer, or network and ‘obfuscate’ is the word in CIA document… To conceal who hacked in and then leave traces like in Cyrillic [alphabet], or the name of the first head of the Soviet secret police… Just to show that it might be the Russians,” McGovern, who has decades of experience in the CIA, said.
“What is important in this specific story is the complexity, the effort spent by the US intelligence to make hard the attribution. Kaspersky is the actual victim of these activities. There is a government agency – the CIA – that conducted cyber espionage activities to also use false flag in its operation in order to make harder the attribution,” Paganini explained.
“The evidence, such as it is, suggests to me – an intelligence analyst connecting dots – that Kaspersky might not even know that it was the CIA that has put in the damaging information which indicated that, supposedly, Kaspersky was doing something untoward,” McGovern told RT.
Kaspersky Lab remains one of the few companies in the world that can expose the CIA’s scheming, and that is why the Russian company is facing so much backlash, Machon believes.
“We have Kaspersky saying ‘We can do this. We can prove some of these hacks are not Russian, they are American,’ when it comes to the presidential elections. And so they needed to discredit them, and I think that this new application of a virus at state level, a very aggressive virus that would discredit a very proven brand around the world – it’s exactly what the Americans would want and the Israelis also would want,” the former MI5 operative pointed out.
The campaign against the Russian cybersecurity firm goes back to 2010, when Kaspersky Lab revealed the origin of the Stuxnet virus, Machon told RT. Back then, Kaspersky Labs stated that “this type of attack could only be conducted with nation-state support and backing.” Nobody officially claimed responsibility for the creation of the complex cyber weapon that targeted industrial control systems, used in infrastructure facilities, to affect their automated processes. However, it is widely believed that US and Israeli intelligence agencies were behind Stuxnet, which reportedly ruined almost one-fifth of Iran’s nuclear centrifuges used to develop civilian atomic power.
“Stuxnet was deployed against the centrifuges that enriched the uranium and nobody knew where it came from. It seemed to be very weaponized at the state level. And it was actually Kaspersky that unveiled who had developed it. And it was American and the Israeli intelligence agencies,” Machon told RT. “So ever since then, it has sort of been daggers drawn between these two competing sides [Kaspersky v CIA]. Kaspersky has been very much in the crosshairs of both American and Israeli intelligence agencies.”
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