There have always been questions about connections between Gene Kaspersky’s company and the Russian spy agencies like the FSB, but not necessarily any hard proof. Last month, President Trump ordered all federal agencies to remove Kaspersky anti virus software without any real explanation. Some thought it was as retribution while others thought it was over-reaction. I didn’t have a strong opinion about it, but thought that since there are U.S. products that are equally as good if not better, why use a Russian one, especially a Russian one that is tied to the FSB.
Well now, as Paul Harvey used to say, we may have “the rest of the story”.
The Washington Post is reporting that Russian hackers have stolen software from an NSA employee who took home classified material and put it on his personal laptop to work on it.
This time it is not a contractor, so Booz, Allen can breathe easier. In fact, it is not a contractor at all, it is an employee.
The employee, who has not been named, is a U.S. National, born in Vietnam and works for the NSA’s TAO division. TAO or Tailored Access Operations, is the group that NSA spies go to when they need something “special” to break into someone’s computer.
This person, apparently, was working on software to replace some tools that were disclosed by Snowden. But now the Russians have it.
You would think that the NSA would train people not to take classified material home. Apparently not. At least no one is saying that he is a spy. Just a fool.
Kaspersky, of course, is saying that it is not true. One possibility, posited by Johns Hopkins Cryptographer Matthew Green is that Kaspersky’s software was horribly compromised. Even Gene Kaspersky admitted that might be the case – because that would be less bad for business than admitting that he was working for the FSB.
In any case, as a prudent measure and without trying to figure out what the truth is, change to a different anti virus software. Make sure that you completely uninstall the Kaspersky software.
While we don’t know that this is the reason Trump banned Kaspersky’s software, this seems like a pretty reasonable possibility.
Information for this post came from the Washington Post.