Russia’s Kaspersky Lab offers up source code for US government scrutiny
MOSCOW (Reuters) – The director general of the Russian company Kaspersky Lab says he is willing to examine the source code of his company by US authorities to dispel lingering suspicions about the links of his business with the Kremlin.
In an interview with The Associated Press at its Moscow headquarters Eugene Kaspersky said Saturday that he was also ready to spend part of his research in the United States to help avoid rumors and said that he started there more than two Decades for professional jealousy.
“If the United States in need, we can disclose the source code,” he said, adding that he was willing to testify before US lawmakers. “All I can do to prove that they do not behave maliciously, I will.”
Kaspersky, a mathematical engineer who attended a KGB-sponsored school and once worked for the Russian Ministry of Defense, has long been viewed with suspicion by some competitors, especially since his antivirus products have become popular in the The US market.
Some speculate that Kaspersky, a docking speaker and an element of the circuit of conferences, retains its connections with Soviet intelligence. Others say it is unlikely that the company can operate independently in Russia, where the economy is dominated by state-owned enterprises and the power of spy agencies has grown significantly under the government of Vladimir Poutine.
No firm evidence has ever been produced to support the claims. But that did not stop what was formerly the gossip at technology conferences to raise the public accusations of the United States politicians and intelligence officials amid growing concerns about Russia’s interference in the United States.
Senior US intelligence officials have suggested that Congress is clear about Kaspersky’s products and lawmakers are considering banning the company from the Pentagon.
Law enforcement also seems to pay attention to the company. On Wednesday, NBC News reported that at least a dozen US employees Kaspersky were visited at their homes by FBI agents.
Kaspersky confirmed the NBC report, although he said he did not know what the point was to question the FBI. He said his relationship with the FBI had become.
“Unfortunately, now, ties to the FBI are completely ruined,” he added, noting that his company has cooperated with the United States and Russian law enforcement. “This means that if there is a felony that calls on the Russian security forces to cooperate with the FBI, unfortunately this is not possible.”
The FBI declined to comment, but it is unlikely that the agents lose much sleep; Kaspersky allowed cooperation between Russia and the United States on cybercrime often was “far from perfect.”
However, lawmakers are trying to distinguish the company because of punitive issues including the critics of Kaspersky, noting that it would be a negative precedent for American technology companies – many of which are known to work in close collaboration with the National Security Agency of the United States.
Kaspersky defended his work during the interview, saying that he had never received official protection of any kind.
“I understand why we have the strange, because for Russia, it is very unusual, a Russian team of great success all over the world, but it is true,” he said.
Kaspersky said his company was exclusively a defensive work, although it is a question that has allowed some anonymous government to try to push the hack – what he calls “the dark side”.
“There were several times she was close to her,” he said, adding that the officials in question were not Russians. He said that in a case where a discussion on cyber security defensive cooperation was “back on the offensive.”