According to media reports, Israeli intelligence officers that have been spying on the Russian government hackers reported Russia was using Kaspersky Lab antivirus software. This software is used by 400 million people around the globe, including U.S. government agencies, The New York Times reported that over two years ago Israeli officials had hacked into Kaspersky’s network and then notified U.S. counterparts of the Russian intrusion. This led to the decision last month for Kaspersky software removed from government computers by Washington.
The Washington Post had also reported that the Israeli spies discovered hacking tools that could only originated from the U.S. National Security Agency in Kaspersky’s network. After an investigation, the NSA determined that the Russian government had access to these tools.
The Post reported, The U.S. National Intelligence Council produced a classified report which was disclosed to NATO allies concluding that Russia’s FSB intelligence service had access to Kaspersky. This access could allow cyber-attacks against the U.S. government. It is unknown what other classified information Russia was able to get their hands on through Kaspersky software.
Kaspersky Lab denied knowledge or involvement with the Russian hacking. “Kaspersky Lab has never helped, nor will help, any government in the world with its cyberespionage efforts,” the company said in a statement. Eugene Kaspersky, the company’s co-founder and chief executive, continues to deny accusations that the company practices espionage on behalf of the Russian government.
Sarah Kitsos of Kaspersky told the Post that, “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.”
U.S. intelligence agencies have determined that Russian President Vladimir Putin organized a vast digital influence operation to assist Donald Trump win the presidency, a charge Moscow still denies.