Moscow-based cybersecurity firm Kaspersky Labs has denied a Wall Street Journal report that alleges Russian state-sponsored hackers used its software to target an NSA contractor in 2015.
In a report on Thursday, the Wall Street Journal reported that a Vietnamese contractor who was working to create replacements of hacking tools leaked by Edward Snowden was hacked on his personal computer at home.
The report then suggests that the contractor’s use of Kaspersky antivirus software on his personal computer “alerted Russian hackers to the presence of files that may have been taken from the NSA,” citing sources with knowledge of the investigation. “The breach is the first known incident in which Kaspersky software is believed to have been exploited by Russian hackers to conduct espionage against the U.S. government,” an excerpt from the report added.
Eugene Kaspersky, the Russian cybersecurity firm’s founder called the media story “sensationalist” with the allegations sounding “like the script of a C movie”.
An official statement by Kaspersky Lab in response to the Wall Street Journal said:
As a private company, Kaspersky Lab does not have inappropriate ties to any government, including Russia, and the only conclusion seems to be that Kaspersky Lab is caught in the middle of a geopolitical fight.
The executive separated the industry belonging to two groups. The first, who create espionage tools “and – to the extreme – helping governments with their spy efforts.” The second, he said, help everyday users by protecting them from attacks with software that defends computers.
Kaspersky’s founder added:
We never betray the trust that our users place in our hands. If we were ever to do so just once, it would immediately be spotted by the industry and it would be the end of our business – and rightly so.
A Kremlin spokesman did not address whether the Russian government stole NSA materials using the security firm’s software.
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