Kaspersky Antivirus Hacked by Russian & Israeli Spies

  • Global Moderator

    Interesting tidbits from PCWorld article:

    • The Russian government reportedly used the Moscow-based company’s software to steal sensitive information from American intelligence agents.

    • The security products we trust to protect our PCs have more or less full access… the ability to delete files, to modify files… the ability to launch new processes as well as terminate existing processes.

    • If someone hacks your computer and uses your own antivirus software to take over, that’s a disaster.

    • Hackers working for the Russian government in 2015 stole documents… used Kaspersky Anti-Virus to identify the data and target it on the home computer of a National Security Agency contractor.

    • The Americans only found out about the purported Kaspersky data leak from Israeli spies… hacked into Kaspersky themselves, where they watched Russian hackers use Kaspersky software in real time as a “sort of Google search for sensitive information."

    • Kaspersky Lab has denied allegations that it’s in cahoots with Russian intelligence.

    • Best Buy, Office Depot, and Staples have pulled Kaspersky software from store shelves.

    • Co-founder and CEO Eugene Kaspersky announced he would open up the company’s code to third-party review.

    • Kaspersky Lab… preliminary results of an internal investigation… A contractor put covert malware onto his home machine with Kaspersky installed… the antivirus detected the new malware, uploaded it to Kaspersky’s cloud servers for analysis, and… was exposed… once it discovered the government-developed malware the code was deleted from company servers and never delivered to any government agencies.

    • Eugene Kaspersky himself was trained at a KGB-run school.

    • Kaspersky Lab is actually an important player… for the useful threat information it makes freely available… they have probably some of the best researchers and talents in the world.

    • Good works aren’t enough to absolve Kaspersky… Kaspersky is probably some of the most secure A/V code out there right now. It’s a matter of how they use the code… What data is collected [from user PCs]? How is it collected? How is it saved? How is it catalogued?.. a data science question, and not a software engineering question.

    • What home users can do

      • Stick to the basics of PC security and understand your “threat model”—the realistic threats that you confront as an everyday computer user… If … Russian spying on your machine might be part of your threat model… Those people may want to avoid Kaspersky products… Russian intelligence is not interested in the average American’s family photos or personal diaries… technicians working on your PC at a local computer shop pose a higher risk of data theft than Russian intelligence.

      • Wouldn’t advise that most home users dump Kaspersky… But if I have a brand-new machine… And I’m trying to decide should I install Kaspersky or not? I’m not sure that I would… not only because of the worries about espionage… but the question of Kaspersky’s long-term fate in the U.S.

      • Worst option would be to give up on antivirus altogether.

      • More consumer-grade software may soon end up in the cross-fire… hackers linked to China infiltrated and delivered malware via the popular PC utility CCleaner… we’ll see more state-level hackers accelerate their computer hacking programs thanks to recent high-level leaks of infiltration methods such as Vault 7 and the Shadow Brokers hack.

      • Stick to big-name products as a way to benefit from a digital version of herd immunity… a back door in that product will be caught much more quickly than a product that is sparsely used.

      • Keep our machines and software up to date. Vulnerabilities and hacking methods… are much easier to pull off because many people don’t patch their machines to fix critical vulnerabilities.

      • Use a reliable ad blocker in your browser to guard against some common web-based attacks.

  • I thought that was a bit paranoid until I read the latest Kreb’s blog. There are some circumstantial evidence that they help FSB get their hand on NSA tools.


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