Israel hack uncovered Russian spies' use of Kaspersky in 2015, report says
Israel hack uncovered Russian spies’ use of Kaspersky in 2015, report says, 10/11/2017
Information led to US decision to end use of company’s software across federal government in December
An Israeli security agency hacked into Russian antivirus firm Kaspersky Lab in 2015, providing the crucial evidence required to ban the company from providing services to the US government, according to a report.
While the Israeli spies were inside Kaspersky’s systems, they observed Russian spies in turn using the company’s tools to spy on American spies, the New York Times reports. That information, handed to the US, led to the decision in September to end the use of the company’s software across the federal government by December.
The revelation answers some questions about the unfolding saga around Kaspersky Lab, a previously well-regarded information security firm founded in 1997 by Russian national Eugene Kaspersky. It seems to demonstrate why the US believes Kaspersky Lab software was involved in the hacking of an NSA contractor in 2015, as well as narrows down the nature of Kaspersky Lab’s supposed involvement in the Russian operation.
[EDIT: However, there are many questions that the Israeli hack failed to answer, but are crucial for Kaspersky, such as whether Russia was a willing participant in the espionage, or whether Russia even knew about the espionage.]
[caption id="" align="alignnone" width="620"] Israeli security has had a tense relationship with Kaspersky Lab since the company’s research on Stuxnet, a specialised piece of malware created by the US and Israel to harm Iran’s nuclear industry. Photograph: Courtesy/REX/Shutterstock[/caption]
The Russian government exercises tight control over domestic and foreign high-tech industries operating within its borders. In June 2017, it began demanding the source code for certain software imported, ostensibly to search for “backdoors” inserted by foreign intelligence agencies. In practice, it’s widely believed that the Russian security agency scans the source code for undisclosed vulnerabilities it can use to improve its own hacking prowess.
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