In the interest of full disclosure, I’ve used Kaspersky Lab internet security and anti-virus quite a bit.
As a matter of fact, when I got my new computer a couple of weeks ago, I installed Kaspersky. I made my choice for cybersecurity based on ratings, and Kaspersky has gotten very good reviews.
No, I didn’t even think about the Russia thing when I purchased it.
Yes, I’m completely aware of the irony.
The Senate Intelligence Committee brought up Kaspersky Lab to the heads of the CIA, National Security Agency, Director of National Intelligence, National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency and Defense Intelligence Agency, and the now-acting head of the FBI. Apparently, the Red Scare has been reborn, in a big way.
Eugene Kaspersky, the chairman and CEO was prompted by the hearings to hold a Q&A session on Reddit
From The Hill:
Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) questioned whether the security officials testifying before the Senate Intelligence Committee would use Kaspersky software on their home computers, to which each member of the panel responded no.
Kaspersky Lab was the subject of BuzzFeed and ABC News stories earlier this week that detailed skepticism within the U.S. intelligence community about the company, including a secret February warning sent out by the Department of Homeland Security.
Aaannnd now I’m uncomfortable.
To be fair, nothing has been brought forth to definitively connect Kaspersky to any sort of foreign espionage. Everything that’s out there is just speculation and rumor. It’s all only slightly more weighty than stories of swallowing Pop Rocks with a Coke chaser causing stomachs to explode.
What they do have on Kaspersky is a 2015 Bloomberg story that mentions Eugene Kaspersky’s Russian bathhouse hangouts with his friends in Russian intelligence, the fact that he was educated in a KGB-operated college, and that he worked in both military intelligence and the Ministry of Defense.
Oh, yeah. I’m sweating a tad.
At the same time, Kaspersky Lab has uncovered Russian intelligence operations in the past, like one nicknamed Turla, which are still active today. The company has internationally known researchers working in research facilities around the world, including the U.S. Its antivirus software, the product it is best known for, tests very well against its competitors.
That’s pretty much all I was concerned with.
During the Reddit forum today, it was obvious the questions were still lingering.
“Does Russian government have any influence on your company?” one user questioned on the Reddit “Ask Me Anything” thread.
“Hi. No, it doesn’t and any speculation about it are false, they are [sic] unfounded conspiracy theories,” Kaspersky replied.
They do pay taxes to the Russian government and they sell the government software. That’s it.
On the Reddit AMA, another user asked: “Would you say you are more of a fancy bear or a cozy bear?”
Kaspersky answered, “I’m a Kamchatka bear-hunter.”
Fancy Bear and Cozy Bear are nicknames for the Russian intelligence operations believed to have attacked the Democratic National Committee. Kamchatka bears are a bear indigenous to Russia.
It sounds like the Reddit users were having a little fun with him.
That being said, I feel the need to include a disclaimer.
I am not now, nor have I ever been connected to the Russian government, or any other foreign government, in any way. My loyalties are unique to the United States of America.
Any attempts to connect me to any foreign entities can and will be vigorously disputed.
This I declare on May 11, in the year of our Lord 2017.
This message will self-destruct in 4… 3… 2…