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12 October 2017, 08:51 | Opal Carroll
Antivirus program 'let in Russian spies'
The Kremlin and Russia's Kaspersky Lab, a software maker known for its anti-virus programs, have dismissed U.S. media reports that the company stole sensitive data from a National Security Agency (NSA) contractor using its tools on behalf of the Russian government, saying the allegations lack evidence.
Kaspersky Lab has repeatedly denied any knowledge of, or involvement in, Russian hack1ing. It has denied links to hacking.
Now, a new damning report says that the functionality discovered in the software could not have been put there without the company's knowledge. It is unknown what other classified information Russian Federation was able to get their hands on through Kaspersky software.
Kaspersky Lab ranks fourth in the global ranking of antivirus vendors by revenue.
It said German government agencies could use software protection for clients and servers that is offered by CANCOM online GmbH, which works together with Trend Micro. According to Gartner, Kaspersky Lab is now the third largest vendor of consumer IT security software worldwide and the fifth largest vendor of Enterprise Endpoint Protection.
In a binding directive, acting homeland security secretary Elaine Duke ordered that federal civilian agencies identify Kaspersky Lab software on their networks.
The current and former government officials who described the episode spoke about it on condition of anonymity because of classification rules, the Times said. They added there was no evidence of weakness in the software.
The extensive system-wide permissions that antivirus software necessitates and the trust it demands of its users make Kaspersky's products an ideal target for governments wishing to spy on their adversaries.
In mid-2015, Kaspersky detected an intrusion in its network and revealed it in a public report, but did not name Israel as the intruder.
"Kaspersky Lab has never helped, nor will help, for any government in the world with its cyberespionage efforts, and contrary to erroneous reports, Kaspersky Lab software does not contain any undeclared capabilities such as backdoors as that would be illegal and unethical".
"Kaspersky Lab reiterates its willingness to work alongside USA authorities to address any concerns they may have about its products as well as its systems, and respectfully requests any relevant, verifiable information that would help the company in its own investigation to certifiably refute the false accusations".
USA intelligence agencies have concluded that Russian President Vladimir Putin ordered a multipronged digital influence operation past year in an attempt to help Donald Trump win the White House, a charge Moscow denies.
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