Published: Thu, October 12, 2017
World | By Paul Elliott

Russian antivirus was used to obtain classified information

Germany's domestic BSI intelligence agency said Wednesday that it has "no evidence" to back reports that Russian hackers exploited global civilian cybersecurity firm Kaspersky Lab to hunt for classified American intelligence programs.

The US Department of Homeland Security ordered all US government agencies to stop using Kaspersky products last month.

Kaspersky Lab is denying media reports that the company's anti-virus software was used to look for secret documents in the United States and is asking for evidence of such claims, a company spokesperson told Sputnik on Thursday.

"The BSI has no evidence for misconduct by the company or weaknesses in its software", the German intelligence agency said in an emailed statement to Reuters. It was founded in 1997 by Eugene Kaspersky, who is now the CEO. It said it was anxious that the Russian government had possibly compromised the firm. Around 400 million people worldwide use the company's software. Kaspersky has consistently been among the top handful of anti-malware makers in the world.

The extensive system-wide permissions that antivirus software necessitates and the trust it demands of its users make Kaspersky's products an ideal target for governments wishing to spy on their adversaries.

In mid-2015, Kaspersky detected an intrusion in its network and revealed it in a public report, but did not name Israel as the intruder. "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 USA authorities to address any concerns they may have about its products as well as its systems", told The Journal in a statement. Eugene Kaspersky, the company's co-founder and chief executive, continues to deny accusations that the company practices espionage on behalf of the Russian government.

The company issued a statement saying that "as a private company, Kaspersky Lab does not have inappropriate ties to any government, including Russian Federation, and the only conclusion seems to be that Kaspersky Lab is caught in the middle of a geopolitical fight", the Washington Post reported.

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