Israel observed attempts by Russian government hackers to piggyback on Kaspersky's some 20-plus government clients to hunt for classified American intelligence programs, the report claimed.
The Russian intrusion detected more than two years ago used anti-virus software manufactured by the Russian firm Kaspersky Lab as an ad hoc global search tool, the Times said, quoting current and former government officials.
Israeli intelligence officials surveilling their Russian counterparts were responsible for alerting the United States to widespread intrusions that led to the US government's decision to purge Kaspersky antivirius software from computers last month.
According to the Times, Israeli Intelligence let the NSA know that while they had been touring the belly of the Kaspersky beast, they collected evidence that Russian government hackers were using the antivirus provider's access to brutally dig for and collect United States government classified information.
After an investigation, the NSA found that those tools were in possession of the Russian government, the Post said.
The NSA, the White House, and the Israeli Embassy declined to comment, while the Russian Embassy did not respond.
The alert to the U.S. authorities was based, according to the Times, on Israel's 2014 hacking of Kaspersky's corporate systems, which by then had been accused of serving as a front for Russian Intelligence.
The US government has vowed to stop using Kaspersky software. Kaspersky Lab denied that it knew of Russian hackers or cooperated with them and said in response: "Kaspersky Lab has never helped, nor will help, any government in the world with tis cyberespionage efforts".
Eugene Kaspersky, the company's co-founder and chief executive, has repeatedly denied charges his company conducts espionage on behalf of the Russian government.
The Russian embassy in Washington last month called the ban on Kaspersky Lab software "regrettable" and said it delayed the prospects of restoring bilateral ties.
However US officials have said that the company is either collaborating with the Vladimir Putin's intelligence machine, or is being hijacked by it.