Germany Says It Found "No Evidence" Kaspersky Helped Russia Spy On US

US intelligence agencies are claiming that the Russian government leveraged the popularity of Kaspersky Labs’ cybersecurity software to create what is tantamount to a global spy network with the company’s explicit cooperation. However, Germany’s intelligence agencies say they’ve found “no evidence” to suggest these reports are true.

The Wall Street Journal, which last week reported that the US had identified at least one case of Kaspersky’s software improperly copying classified information, is back with another “exclusive” spoon fed to it by anonymous “senior US officials” alleging that Kaspersky allowed Russian government malware to piggy back on its software. The malware scanned for and copied files labeled “top secret,” not just in the US, but globally. Though WSJ neglects to list other countries that are suspected victims of Russian hacking.

Meanwhile, Germany's BSI federal cyber agency said on Wednesday it had found no evidence to suggest that Russian hackers had used Kaspersky’s software to spy on US authorities. "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 BSI has no indications at this time that the process occurred as described in the media," according to Reuters.

Germany's BSI, which also uses Kaspersky products for technical analyses, said it was in touch with U.S. officials and other security agencies about the issue so it could take action and issue a warning on short notice if required.

The Russian government used a popular antivirus software to secretly scan computers around the world for classified U.S. government documents and top-secret information, modifying the program to turn it into an espionage tool, according to current and former U.S. officials with knowledge of the matter.

 

The software, made by the Moscow-based company Kaspersky Lab, routinely scans files of computers on which it is installed looking for viruses and other malicious software. But in an adjustment to its normal operations that the officials say could only have been made with the company’s knowledge, the program searched for terms as broad as “top secret,” which may be written on classified government documents, as well as the classified code names of U.S. government programs, these people said.

After becoming suspicious that the Kaspersky software might be concealing malicious spyware, US intelligence agencies began scrutinizing the software, searching for signs that it was unknowingly copying and transmitting sensitive information.

For many months, U.S. intelligence agencies studied the software and even set up controlled experiments to see if they could trigger Kaspersky’s software into believing it had found classified materials on a computer being monitored by U.S. spies, these people said. Those experiments persuaded officials that Kaspersky was being used to detect classified information.

Later, WSJ notes that, in fact, it was Israeli intelligence that first alerted the US to Kaspersky’s skullduggery, effectively creating a separate, parallel narrative to explain how the deception was exposed.

So, which is it? Did the Israelis tell us? Or did the US discover the breach independently in 2015?

In an ironic twist, Kaspersky exposed Israel for lying about the source of its information on Iran deal talks after WSJ reported two years ago that Israel had spied on negotiations. Israel had said it received its intelligence by other means, but it had in reality infiltrated Kaspersky’s software, a fact the company publicly acknowledged in a research paper published two years ago.

In a twist, Kaspersky appears to have known, or at least suspected, that it had been hacked by Israel. In June 2015, the company published a detailed technical analysis about malicious computer code used to break into its systems, which it dubbed Duqu 2.0. Experts believe that the original Duqu malware, on which the one inside Kaspersky’s system appears to have been based, was used to spy on officials participating in international negotiations over Iran’s nuclear program, a fact that Kaspersky acknowledged in its paper.

 

The Journal reported in 2015 that Israel had spied on closed-door talks among the U.S. and other world powers about curtailing Iran’s nuclear ambitions. Israeli officials denied spying directly on U.S. negotiators and said they received their information through other means, including close surveillance of Iranian leaders receiving the latest U.S. and European offers.

Which begs the question: Is it possible that Israel was the source of the Kaspersky hack? The country has been exposed for spying on the US before – and not just during the Iran negotiations. And it has also been exposed for infiltrating Kaspersky’s systems.

Keep in mind, suspicions about the infiltration first emerged two years ago at a time of heightened tension between the Obama administration and Israel. In an unprecedented move, the Department of Homeland Security ordered all federal agencies using Kaspersky’s software to uninstall it, effectively ending Kaspersky’s relationship with one of its largest clients.  
 

Comments

quadraspleen Thu, 10/12/2017 - 04:26 Permalink

Kaspersky is awful AV software. Doesn't work and slows down your PC. A McAfee for our age"Later, WSJ notes that, in fact, it was Israeli intelligence that first alerted the US to Kaspersky’s skullduggery, effectively creating a separate, parallel narrative to explain how the deception was exposed."Funny that...

Rapunzal giovanni_f Thu, 10/12/2017 - 07:22 Permalink

A lot of times the US government agencies get rid of the competition of US corporations for various reasons. Maybe they don't want any software to spread that is not controlled by them or plainly want US products be sold. We will never know, but we can see for a decade now that our system looks more and more like organized crime.

In reply to by giovanni_f

Ital Scratch Thu, 10/12/2017 - 04:59 Permalink

..Later, WSJ notes that, in fact, it was Israeli intelligence that first alerted the US to Kaspersky’s skullduggery, effectively creating a separate, parallel narrative to explain how the deception was expose... Now, what was Mossad's motto and why we should trust them?

me or you Thu, 10/12/2017 - 05:34 Permalink

I am recommending Kaspersky not matter what they are saying.Clearly they hurt after found Stuxnet and other  virus written by American and Israeli governments. 

BritBob Thu, 10/12/2017 - 05:37 Permalink

Ruskies can't be trusted...Russia tells Britain give back Gibraltar & Falklands before telling US what to do.RUSSIA has told Britain it should "clean its conscience" and give back Gibraltar and the Falkland Islands before it criticises them over their involvement in Ukraine. Moscow's ambassador to the UN, Vitaly Churkin made the shocking remarks when responding to his British counterpart Matthew Rycroft at a UN security council meeting in New York. (Daily Express 4 Feb 2017) Do the Spanish have a claim to the Rock? Effectively Ceded to Britain 3 times!Gibraltar – Spanish Myths and Agreements (1 pg):https://www.academia.edu/34608739/Gibraltar_Spanish_Myths_and_Agreement… the Falklands -Funny thing to say when Argentina has never legally owned the Falklands. So how can they 'be returned' ?Falklands- Never Belonged to Argentina:https://www.academia.edu/31111843/Falklands_Never_Belonged_to_Argentina The bad guys ?

lakecity55 Thu, 10/12/2017 - 05:44 Permalink

I think it was all BS. They have a successful business model. A good product. If they were caught spying on any country, other countries would disallow their product.The RF has its own spy guys to do this. Why would they trust some company? Especially knowing the Russian ability for secrecy?

Lokiban Thu, 10/12/2017 - 05:46 Permalink

Since Microsoft did not want to patch a backdoor discovered by Kaspersky then Kaspersky took action and close it for Microsoft.Suddenly we see an overload of propaganda against Kaspersky to try to take them down for daring to go against them.Kaspersky total security suite patches the backdoor giving you privacy and I immediately switched to Kaspersky knowing they did this.Invest some time and google 'PsSetLoadImageNotifyRoutine' to investigate how deep the rabbit hole goes.

MPJones Thu, 10/12/2017 - 10:06 Permalink

Jevgenii Kaspersky, the founder of the company, whom I happen to have known since the 1970s, has from the outset realised that it would be commercial suicide to engage in the sort of activities alleged in these (unsubstantiated) accusations. The Kaspersky products are state of the art. Proscribing their use is really to shoot yourself in the foot. (I am not involved with infosec any longer and have no commercial interest in Kaspersky Labs).

The Alarmist Thu, 10/12/2017 - 10:33 Permalink

Even if the Russian government is using Kaspersky as spyware, they are in less of a position to use or misuse anything found on my computers against me than their counterparts in the west.