Earlier today, an ABC News report said that the FBI is investigating Russian security company Kaspersky Lab because U.S. officials have concerns about the company’s ties to Russian intelligence. Kaspersky stated that the allegations are false.
The Kaspersky antivirus and related security solutions are some of the most popular with over 400 million users around the world. However, in the current U.S. political climate, Kaspersky’s Russian origin, as well as the founder’s and other executive's history with the Russian intelligence services, have prompted the FBI and some Congressional officials to raise questions about the potential damage the software could cause in the wrong hands.
Kaspersky Labs was founded by Eugene Kaspersky, who went to a KGB-sponsored technical college and has since done work for the Russian military. Kaspersky himself has repeatedly denied allegations that he is working closely with the Russian government or that his company is building offensive solutions for the Russian government or any other government.
However, another report in 2015 said that since 2012, high-level officials at Kaspersky Lab have left or been fired and replaced with executives that are friendlier to the Russian government.
One of the accusations brought against Kaspersky today, but also in the past, is that the new executives that are friendly to the Russian government could use the information gathered from the company’s 400 million users to aid Russian intelligence.
Kaspersky said that the data is anonymized and that users can disable the telemetry reporting at any time. Enterprise customers can also install a local and private Kaspersky Security Network (KSN) to ensure data isn’t transferred to outside servers.
The company also added that it routinely obtains licenses and certificates in all the countries in which it operates to ensure that it’s in compliance with the required security standards. Kaspersky argued that this should demonstrate that the company’s solutions are trustworthy.
Kaspersky added that it will assist all government agencies with ongoing investigations, but that it believes a deeper examination of its products will prove the allegations were unfounded.