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US 'Orchestrated' Russian Spies Scandal, Says Kaspersky Founder (theguardian.com) 141

Alex Hern, writing for The Guardian: Eugene Kaspersky, chief executive and co-founder of the embattled Russian cybersecurity firm that bears his name, believes his company is at the centre of a "designed and orchestrated attack" to destroy its reputation. Over a short period in the summer of 2017, Kaspersky Labs was the subject of multiple media reports alleging that the company had helped Russian intelligence agencies spy on the US, a number of FBI raids on staff members, and a nationwide ban on the use of its software by federal government agencies. "This media attack and government attack from the United States, it was designed and orchestrated," Mr Kaspersky said at a press conference in London. "Because at the same time, there was government, there was FBI, there was media attack. That is expensive ... I mean all kinds of resources: political influence, money, lobbyists, the media etc." When asked directly whether he had ever been asked to help Russian intelligence agencies spy on the US, Kaspersky vehemently denied any such conversations had ever happened saying: "They have never asked us to spy on people. Never." "If the Russian government comes to me and asks me to do anything wrong, I will move the business out of Russia," he added. "We never helped the espionage agencies, the Russians or any other nation."
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US 'Orchestrated' Russian Spies Scandal, Says Kaspersky Founder

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  • hmmm (Score:3, Insightful)

    by nomadic ( 141991 ) <nomadicworld@gmail.cPARISom minus city> on Friday December 01, 2017 @11:40AM (#55658041) Homepage

    While I'm not sure whether I'd use Kaspersky before, paranoia on the part of its founder is not assuaging my concerns over it.

  • by the_skywise ( 189793 ) on Friday December 01, 2017 @11:41AM (#55658043)
    He not only admitted he downloaded the files, he said he was PROUD that he had downloaded the files as they furthered the investigation into malware.
    The files then somehow made their way to the KGB.
    Since then he's said that there was a trojan on the PC he got the files from (but the trojan infection wasn't their fault because the PC user had turned off Kapersky for awhile which they also knew) so Russian hackers must've gotten the information that way
    Now he's saying it's a giant conspiracy?
    He doesn't have to actively work with the Russian government - they could easily have moles in his organization pulling the data out.
    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by Psion ( 2244 )
      The files then somehow made their way to the KGB? Uh ... wasn't the KGB dissolved in 1991?
      • Gazelle: I told you. I made contact with the KGB, MI6, Mossad, and Beijing. They all insist it wasn't one of theirs.

        Valentine: Beijing. So freaky how there's no recognizable name for the Chinese Secret Service. Now that's what you call a secret, right?

        • by Psion ( 2244 )
          The Chinese Secret Service is known as the Ministry of State Security, MSS or .
      • It still exists in Belarus.

    • He not only admitted he downloaded the files, he said he was PROUD that he had downloaded the files as they furthered the investigation into malware.

      The files then somehow made their way to the KGB.

      Since then he's said that there was a trojan on the PC he got the files from (but the trojan infection wasn't their fault because the PC user had turned off Kapersky for awhile which they also knew) so Russian hackers must've gotten the information that way

      Now he's saying it's a giant conspiracy?

      He doesn't have to actively work with the Russian government - they could easily have moles in his organization pulling the data out.

      Note, if intelligence agencies in the US government decided that Kaspersky was collaborating with the Russian government, then an orchestrated campaign to destroy the company's reputation (and get it off the computers of the US government and its employee) is precisely the response I'd expect.

      • Beg your pardon. If the US intelligence agencies decided that Kaspersky was getting in their way then this is the response I'd expect, The claims about collaborations with the Russian government are just a way to dress it up. The Israelis weren't hacking Kaspersky because they suspected russian involvement. They were trying to get in because Kaspersky was doing a good job. And they got thrown out, after leaving the US state of the art tools behind.

      • by Megol ( 3135005 )

        Yes but could also be just another example of intelligence agencies working to promote internal products. A type of economical espionage IOW, the US is well known to play such games.

        The level of information provided is less than most FUD campaigns. That could of course be for a good reason (not expose their level of knowledge).

    • by SlaveToTheGrind ( 546262 ) on Friday December 01, 2017 @12:51PM (#55658591)

      The files then somehow made their way to the KGB.

      And we know that particular rendition of those bits came from Kaspersky how?

      Since then he's said that there was a trojan on the PC he got the files from (but the trojan infection wasn't their fault because the PC user had turned off Ka[s]persky for awhile which they also knew) so Russian hackers must've gotten the information that way

      And he extensively documented [securelist.com] the reasons why he believes that to be the case. On the other side as far as I can tell, we basically have "Kaspersky and the KGB both ended up with copies of files and are both in Russia... oooooo."

      • And we know that particular rendition of those bits came from Kaspersky how?

        Because the files made it to Russia VIA Kaspersky - that's an undisputed fact proudly admitted by Kaspersky himself.

        Our next task was to try and answer what may have happened to the data that was pulled back. Clearly an archive does not contain only those files that triggered, and more than likely contained a possible treasure trove of data pertaining to the intrusion set. It was soon discovered that the actual archive files themselves appear to have been removed from our storage of samples, while the individual files that triggered the alerts remained. Upon further inquiring about this event and missing files, it was later discovered that at the direction of the CEO, the archive file, named “[undisclosed].7z” was removed from storage.

        When was it removed? They elaborate that it's [now] standard policy but it wasn't at the time. Did the CEO specifically order this file to be removed or was it a general order? Given the reading of the article it appears to be the latter.

        The reason we deleted those files and will delete similar ones in the future is two-fold;

        This concern was later translated into a policy for all malware analysts which are required to delete any potential classified materials that have been accidentally collected during anti-malware research or received from a third party.

        In the future? later translated into a policy? When did this become policy?
        BTW, this happened in 2014... What happened in 2015?
        https://it.slashdot.org/s [slashdot.org]

        • Because the files made it to Russia VIA Kaspersky

          It looks like you're badly conflating "Russia" and the KGB. It's hard to see how that doesn't unavoidably color the rest of your analysis.

          Did the CEO specifically order this file to be removed or was it a general order? Given the reading of the article it appears to be the latter.

          You didn't read the entire article. The Q&A at the bottom explicitly says it was the former: "After discovering the suspected Equation malware source code and classified documents, the analyst reported the incident to the CEO. Following a request from the CEO, the archive was deleted from all of our systems."

          No no... must be a long term black op by the NSA...

          If by "long term black op" you really mean "long term fuc

        • by Megol ( 3135005 )

          So the KGB got information in 2014. Nearly three decades after they were dissolved.

  • Credibility Nada. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by phayes ( 202222 ) on Friday December 01, 2017 @11:44AM (#55658071) Homepage

    "If the Russian government comes to me and asks me to do anything wrong, I will move the business out of Russia."

    Putin has invaded both Georgia & the Ukraine and executed a former ally in London with radioactive poison. Yet Kaspersky expects us to believe that he could just pick up roots and move his company out of Russia? The credibility stretching involved to be able to believe that is bigger than the sun.

    • Re: (Score:1, Troll)

      by guacamole ( 24270 )

      Russia did not invade Georgia 2008 but reliated against Georgia invading South Ossetia. Russian peacekeepers were already legally in Georgia's separatist region of South Ossetia since 1992 as per the Sochi cease fire Agreement [wikipedia.org] that was signed in 1992 by the Georgian president, parliament, and the separatists. On August 8th of 2008, Georgian military launched a surprise attack on the separatists in South Ossetia, breaking the agreement and also killing a bunch of civilians and even Russian peacekeepers in th

      • by phayes ( 202222 )

        Oh look! _Another_ putin-bot spouting the same feces as the last one.

        Snort, transparent russian self-justifications for murder, rapine and plunder. You forgot to claim that the Ukrainian Government shot down MK17 & how Litveneko was poisoned by the CIA.

        Go back to reading/writing RT. Or better yet, sleep around as much as you can, now that the KGB lie that AIDS virus is a myth has caught fire in russia & new infection rates are exploding, karma may come your way.

        • Oh look! _Another_ putin-bot ..

          That's right. I am a typical Russian bot with a Slashdot account with almost 20 years of posting history. We Putin bot started posting Putin-posts even before Putin was appointed by Yeltsin to be Russia's president.

          And who is talking about Ukraine here? I don't. Just pointing out how russophobes are spearing lies about the 2008 South Ossetia war. The Georgians decided to become GWB's allies. Got armed and trained. Got very cocky. They started this war and they lost it. End of

          • by phayes ( 202222 )

            The only people defending Putin's wars of conquest, rape and plunder are the patin-bots. Spout the putin-bot feces & be labeled a patin-bot with the rest of them.

            • Putin's war is no worse than Saakashvili's war of plunder, rape, and conquest of August 2008. And Putin's war's are a small time travesty compared to USA's campaigns of death and plunder in the middle east starting with Iraq, and continuing in Syria and Libya.Those wars have set Middle East, the region the size of north America on fire and great misery, yet for some people Putin continues being the bad guy? Mookay.

  • by cahuenga ( 3493791 ) on Friday December 01, 2017 @11:49AM (#55658101)
    Throwing rationales at the wall to see if any will stick.
    • by Anonymous Coward on Friday December 01, 2017 @12:10PM (#55658273)

      have you considered that perhaps he could be telling the truth?
      If I recall correctly, a few months before all these Kaspersky stories started coming out, there was some story about the US not being successful in getting foreign companies to whitelist their malware or something like that. Kaspersky has always had a reputation for being against whitelisting government malware.
      The whole series of stories stinks of a retaliatory seek and destroy campaign. It wouldn't be the government's first either - just ask Joe Nacchio.

      This whole story is stupid - Kaspersky detects government malware and downloads it for analysis (normal desired default behavior). Then, since every government on the planet has a compulsive need to read every communication and hack every computer attached to the internet, the info somehow gets to the FSB. Somehow people want to interpret this as "Kaspersky is evil" instead of "if you don't want your brand new shiney malware to leak out, don't don't upload it to AV servers for analysis".

      • by hey! ( 33014 ) on Friday December 01, 2017 @01:32PM (#55658959) Homepage Journal

        I think what he says is plausible. I think it's also plausible that Kapersky did favors for the FSB. The question is which is more plausible. They could both be true.

        The bottom line is that you shouldn't trust any vendor entirely, especially ones with known ties to state security agencies. It's quite reasonable for US defense and intelligence contractors to avoid Russian products, and it would be just as reasonable for Russian firms to avoid American products.

        You have to do a threat assessment. If you're involved with national security, then vendor connections to a hostile government are a red flag. If you're a commercial company, connections to foreign governments that are known to do industrial espionage are a red flag.

      • have you considered that perhaps he could be telling the truth?

        I think he is. The whole sequence of events stinks. His company is being sacrificed to support the OMG Russia narrative.

  • by Imazalil ( 553163 ) on Friday December 01, 2017 @11:53AM (#55658145)

    'Teh media' (especially ones that operates a television channel) will jump at any chance to get a story out first. That means lots of 'developing' and 'stay tuned for details' and not any of 'fact checking' and 'research'. This does not cost any money.

    Seems that everyone, be they Republican, Democrat, or Russian based anti-virus vendors forget this.

    -- Still not sure if he's covering up the fact that Kapersky is working with the Russian gov. or that they're just not so good at protecting computers from malware/hacking. I'd put some money on that they were infiltrated by the FSB without their knowledge - again, not a good look for a security company.

    • > I'd put some money on that they were infiltrated by the FSB without their knowledge - again, not a good look for a security company

      When a major state intelligence agency (it's not just Russia!) wants your data badly enough... they're going to get your data. After that, it's a matter of if people find out and what the state does to prevent that from happening.

      The story of 'user had files, user had infection, user used our software which scanned for, found, and uploaded the infected files to us as desi

  • Edward Snowden's asylum would continue to cost Russian companies dearly.

    What the US bureaucrats do not understand is that a president of Russia is not like a sultan. Russian people are hard to rule to a degree that the leadership cannot do whatever it wants. They have to listen to the public opinion.

    In my opinion, it was impossible to extradite Edward Snowden. They were just unable to to it due to the public opinion. I think the US has to forget Snowden as if he did not exist. You cannot win them all.
    • You cannot win them all.

      But you can stay on topic.

      • by Max_W ( 812974 )
        All this hoopla, - Russia this, Russia that, Russia doping, Russian hackers, Russia & US election, etc. - started after Snowden's revelations. It had not been like this before.

        Some officials in the USA said that Snowden affair was the largest and the most expensive intelligence catastrophe in the US history. A lot of money was lost, many carreers were broken. Initially Russia had not been involved in this at all, and at first it could not figure out what to do with him. He had been an US government a
        • You have got to provide citations proving that you know bullshit from wild honey.

          • Here is the citation: http://5newsonline.com/2013/08... [5newsonline.com] “Russia has stabbed us in the back, and each day that Mr. Snowden is allowed to roam free is another twist of the knife,” said New York Sen. Charles E. Schumer in a statement.

            What I am trying to say is that it is all a big misunderstanding. Mr. Snowden is sort of too big, they cannot touch him, cannot extradite him due to the internal public opinion. And the senator erroneously thinks that it is done just for spite. Probably because he d
            • You are excused for not knowing this, but I'm a student of Manning, Snowden, and Winner and have been covering those stories (and other less high-profile) since they surfaced.

              There are a lot of other /. ers who have been doing the same.

              Your post clearly demonstrates that you are late to the party; have invested NO time investigating, and have an agenda.

              I'm not going to educate you because you could have done that for yourself.

              You know ... like we did.

  • ... that America becomes the un-Russia.

  • by Anonymous Coward

    Willing to provide their source code for inspection. Literally the only one.

    Take that for what it's worth.

  • What else could he say. He might end up dead from a drink at dinner.

  • When asked directly whether he had ever been asked to help Russian intelligence agencies spy on the US, Kaspersky vehemently denied any such conversations had ever happened saying: "They have never asked us to spy on people. Never."

    What he did not say, was, "All they asked us to do was to spy on computers. Computers are not people. Corporations are people, my friend".

    • Or, "they never asked us to spy on people." They hinted at it and implied, and we did it... but they never asked us to.

  • by SB5407 ( 4372273 ) on Friday December 01, 2017 @01:18PM (#55658833)
    For what it's worth: Kaspersky didn't necessarily have to do anything for the Russians to take advantage of their apparatus. The NSA in the US has tapped into many different systems and apparatuses without the system maker's cooperation. See: the TAO catalog.
  • Kaspersky, you are not really so important that the US government will risk a scandal by trying to besmirch your reputation.
  • I'd like to hear the owners of Google and Facebook make equally strong statements about not cooperating with "wrong" demands from the government. I'll wait.
  • by Uberbah ( 647458 ) on Friday December 01, 2017 @02:13PM (#55659305)

    Not Putin. [telegraph.co.uk]

    All the Russia hysteria over the last few years has been straight-up Swiftboating. Fucking with other countries and wanting to spy on every person on the planet is what the United States does on a daily basis, so naturally it accuses someone else of doing what they do. If Kaspersky is proven to bend over backwards to help the FSB the same way American companies do for the CIA/NSA/FBI, then we can have a conversation, but so far the accusations have as much evidence to back them up as the conspiracy theory that Russia 'hacked the election' last year (i.e. none, nada, zip. zilch).

    Karl Rove must be collecting some sweet royalties on this tactic.

  • Interestingly worded statement, there.

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