Published: Fri, October 13, 2017
Research | By Derrick Holloway

Germany: 'No evidence' Russian Federation used Kaspersky software to spy on US

"There are no plans to warn against the use of Kaspersky products since the BSI has no evidence for misconduct by the company or weaknesses in its software", BSI said in an emailed response to questions about the latest media reports. "The company tracks more than 100 advanced persistent threat actors and operations, and for 20 years, Kaspersky Lab has been focused on protecting people and organizations from these cyber threats - its headquarters' location doesn't change that mission", the company explained.

The BSI, which uses Kaspersky products, was responding to an article in The New York Times on Tuesday that detailed how Israeli intelligence had gained access to Russian government hackers' computers in 2014 and determined they were using the antivirus software to spy on the USA government.

Kaspersky Lab representatives also declared that as the integrity of its products is "fundamental" to their business, the company "patches any vulnerabilities it identifies or that are reported to the company", and is willing to "work alongside United States authorities to address any concerns they may have about its products as well as its systems".

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It said German government agencies could use software protection for clients and servers that is offered by CANCOM online GmbH, which works together with Trend Micro. Kaspersky Lab also said it "respectfully requests any relevant, verifiable information that would enable the company to begin an investigation at the earliest opportunity". It does not appear to be related to a devastating leak of NSA hacking tools previous year to a group, still unidentified, calling itself the Shadow Brokers, which has placed many of them online.

"Antivirus is the ultimate back door", Blake Darché, a former NSA operator and co-founder of Area 1 Security.

It is as yet unclear on whether Kaspersky was involved in aiding the Russian hackers, or if the hackers simply used Kaspersky's software as a backdoor onto computers worldwide that use the anti-virus. Kaspersky Lab develops and sells antivirus, internet security, password management, endpoint security, and other cybersecurity products and services. Those reports follow the Department of Homeland Security barring federal agencies from using Kaspersky products this September.

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That directive, which some officials thought was long overdue, was based, in large part, on intelligence gleaned from Israel's 2014 intrusion into Kaspersky's corporate systems.

The use of this improvised search tool hidden in Kaspersky software appears to have been responsible for classified documents being stolen from the NSA.

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