Kaspersky Lab accused of having knowingly assisted Russian spies

A computer screen full of code

Antivirus program 'let in Russian spies'

The New York Times reported that in 2015, Israeli intelligence officials hacked into the network of the Russian cybersecurity company Kaspersky Lab, and discovered that it was stealing classified documents from USA government computers.

The US government banned the use of Kaspersky software in federal offices last month, saying the Moscow-based company has risky ties to Russian intelligence that threatened US national security.

The Israeli officials who had hacked into Kaspersky's network over two years ago then warned their US counterparts of the Russian intrusion, said the New York Times, which first reported the story.

Kaspersky Lab has repeatedly denied any knowledge of, or involvement in, Russian hack1ing. After 90 days, unless otherwise directed, they must remove the software, on the grounds that the company has connections to the Russian government and its software poses a security risk. Eugene Kaspersky, its founder trained at a KGB-funded institute.

"There are no plans to warn against the use of Kaspersky products since the BSI has no evidence for misconduct by the company or weaknesses in its software", BSI said in an emailed response to questions about the latest media reports.

The current and former government officials who described the episode spoke about it on condition of anonymity because of classification rules, the Times said.

Now, a new damning report says that the functionality discovered in the software could not have been put there without the company's knowledge.

The Russian government has used popular antivirus software for the search of secret documents around the world.

Kaspersky first noticed intrusion by Israel referenced in The New York Times story back in 2015, when it reported that "a sophisticated cyberespionage actor" had infiltrated its systems using code that resembled a previous attack.

The NIC reportedly said the FSB could use that access to hack sensitive USA government and industrial networks.

But Germany disputed United States officials' claims that the Moscow-based company is either collaborating with the Vladimir Putin's intelligence machine, or is being hijacked by it.

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