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Kaspersky worked with the FSB in 2008

by on12 July 2017

Closer than previously admitted

Claims by the AV outfit Kaspersky that it only has a passing connection with Russian spooks have been damaged by the leak of some internal emails.

Internal company emails obtained by Bloomberg's Businessweek show that Kaspersky Lab has maintained a much closer working relationship with Russia's main intelligence agency, the FSB, than it has publicly admitted.

The outfit has developed security technology at the spy agency's behest and worked on joint projects. The CEO Eugene Kaspersky knew would be embarrassing if made public and tried to sit on the news.

We are not sure how fair this story is. It is rather elderly. The emails come from October 2009, and are from a thread between and senior staff.

Kaspersky outlines a project undertaken in secret a year earlier "per a big request on the Lubyanka side," a reference to the FSB offices. Kaspersky Lab confirmed the emails are authentic.

The software that the CEO was referring to had the stated purpose of protecting clients, including the Russian government, from distributed denial-of-service (DDoS) attacks, but its scope went further.

Kaspersky Lab would also cooperate with internet hosting companies to locate bad actors and block their attacks, while assisting with "active countermeasures," a capability so sensitive that Kaspersky advised his staff to keep it secret.

Kaspersky’s anti-DDoS system is made up of two parts. The first consists of traditional defensive techniques, including rerouting malicious traffic to servers that can harmlessly absorb it.

The second part provides the FSB with real-time intelligence on the hackers' location and sends experts to accompany the FSB and Russian police when they conduct raids.

It is that bit that Kaspersky didn’t want people mentioning. They weren't just hacking the hackers; they were banging down the doors.

Kaspersky Lab has issued a statement in response to Bloomberg's report. It reads in part: "Regardless of how the facts are misconstrued to fit in with a hypothetical, false theory, Kaspersky Lab, and its executives, do not have inappropriate ties with any government. The company does regularly work with governments and law enforcement agencies around the world with the sole purpose of fighting cybercrime. In the internal communications referenced within the recent article, the facts are once again either being misinterpreted or manipulated to fit the agenda of certain individuals desperately wanting there to be inappropriate ties between the company, its CEO and the Russian government, but no matter what communication they claim to have, the facts clearly remain there is no evidence because no such inappropriate ties exist."

Last modified on 12 July 2017
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