Russian antivirus was used to obtain classified information

Russian antivirus was used to obtain classified information

Israeli intelligence officials spying on Russian government hackers found they were using Kaspersky Lab antivirus software, according to media reports this week.

The Russian embassy in Washington last month called the ban on Kaspersky Lab software "regrettable" and said it delayed the prospects of restoring bilateral ties.

The New York Times reported on Tuesday that Israeli intelligence officials spying on Russian government hackers found they were using Kaspersky software as a sort of Google search to find sensitive data stored by US government agencies and others.

Meanwhile, Kaspersky Lab insists that it doesn't help the Russian government to spy on other countries. It was founded in 1997 by Eugene Kaspersky, who is now the CEO. Around 400 million people worldwide use the company's software.

In a binding directive, acting homeland security secretary Elaine Duke ordered that federal civilian agencies identify Kaspersky Lab software on their networks.

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Germany's BSI cyber agency confirmed Wednesday that there is no evidence whatsoever that security software maker Kaspersky Lab is in any way helping Russian officials, or engaged in any misconduct.

Since then, United States intelligence agencies have been able to confirm that the antivirus software can be used to search computers for classified materials.

The current and former government officials who described the episode spoke about it on condition of anonymity because of classification rules, the Times said. But it remains unclear if Kaspersky was part of a scheme or an unwilling accomplice in an espionage effort.

The Russian government has used popular antivirus software for the search of secret documents around the world. "Kaspersky Lab was not involved in and does not possess any knowledge of the situation in question, and the company reiterates its willingness to work alongside US authorities to address any concerns they may have about its products as well as its systems", told The Journal in a statement.

But Germany disputed USA officials' claims that the Moscow-based company is either collaborating with the Vladimir Putin's intelligence machine, or is being hijacked by it.

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