There was a stunning moment for the software industry and consumers, during the recent Senate Intelligence Committee hearings.
Kaspersky and Fears of Russian Hacking
The statements by the heads of six US intelligence agencies about various topics included the Russian hacking and interference with elections, including the US presidential election.
Then came the moment when one Congressperson asked them all to state whether they would ever consider using Kaspersky Labs’ made-in-Russia anti-virus software, each and every one of them gave the same emphatic one-word answer. NO!
That should send shock waves through the anti-virus industry and every individual as well as every IT security chief for every company of every size.
Kaspersky and the FBI View
Asked if he was aware of a security threat tied to Kaspersky software, FBI acting director Andrew McCabe replied: “We are very concerned about it and we are focused on it very closely.”
Defense Intelligence Agency director Lt Gen Vincent Stewart said his agency is avoiding the company’s products as well.
“There is, as well as I know, no Kaspersky software on our networks,” he said, adding that the agency’s private-sector contractors also are not using it.
Others who voted no included the heads of the CIA, NSA, National Geospatial Intelligence Agency, and the Director of National Intelligence.
“I am personally aware and involved as director of the National Security Agency in the Kaspersky Lab issue,” NSA head Mike Rogers said.
Kaspersky Labs was founded in 1997 by computer expert Eugene Kaspersky after he left the Russian military.
Although they didn’t go into detail, it was obvious that they suspect that any Russian software either has or could have compromising code hidden in it either because the company wants to do so, or because they live and work in a country where people who oppose Vladimir Putin tend to disappear.
This potential compromise could be as simple and nearly undetectable as leaving a tiny gap in the protection provided by the software, one just large enough to ignore some state-sponsored trojan or phishing tool.
NOTE, your NewsBlaze reporter has been involved in computer security work since he helped physically secure an IBM 360-65 mainframe installation decades before the Internet or the PC were invented.