Is Kaspersky Software a Russian Spy Front?

Gene Kaspersky, CEO of Russian Software Firm Kaspersky Labs

Some in Congress and the Intelligence Services are concerned that Kaspersky’s security software could be co-opted by the Russian government and be used to spy on American companies who use the software.

Fundamentally, this is no different than concerns that people have that the U.S. spy agencies could or already have forced U.S. companies to insert back doors into their software to allow U.S. spies to use U.S. software to spy on people as well.

We already know that Yahoo did that by running all email through filters and feeding the data to the Intelligence Community.

The challenge in both cases – Russia and the United States – is that any efforts on the part of the respective spy agencies to do that would be highly classified and those agencies would not admit that they are doing so, even if they are.

Since it is the job of spy agencies to spy on people, it is not unreasonable to assume that they would do that if they could.

Some people, including me, have been concerned for a long time that Gene’s software could be used for no good.  Even though I think he makes good products, I find it hard to trust him.  He has had very close times to the KGB and FDB for a long time, including training him at a school run by the KGB.

Kaspersky’s software, they say, is used by 400 million people world wide, including many people in the United States.  There is a bill working it’s way through Congress right now that would ban the DoD from using it.  It is used in some places inside U.S. government agencies.

While suspicions have run wild for years, there has been no hard evidence.  Now a media outlet has found something unusual in a document that Russian companies need to have in order to operate in Russia.  This document has a military intelligence unit number attached to this document.  While some people are making a big deal of this, it could be legit – no different than, maybe, a U.S. defense contractor might have some ID numbers.  Some former spies say that this MI unit number is a pretty unusual thing.  Stay tuned.

Kaspersky has offered to let the government look at his source code to verify that there are no back doors.  Of course, no back doors today does not equal no back doors after the next update.

In the U.S. Verizon and AT&T shared call data with the intelligence community and there are thousands of FISA court orders issued every year.  Those are all classified so we have no clue what they might entail.

Kaspersky IS the company that paid General Flynn those consulting fees that he forgot to declare.

While I don’t know if his software has been compromised, my theory is that is isn’t worth the risk.  There are plenty of American and European software products that would see to me, on the face of it, less risky.

Listening to the rumblings of the U.S. Britain, Germany, France and others, I am not sure HOW much less risky, but probably at least somewhat less risky.

Information for this post came from MSN.


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