Germany contradicts U.S. suspicions about Russian cybersecurity firm Kaspersky

Bonn, Federal Office for Information Security / Access via CC3.0

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German cybersecurity authorities said on Wednesday that they have not seen evidence that Russians used Moscow-based Kaspersky Lab products to spy on U.S. authorities.

The statement, first reported by Reuters, challenges the narrative that Russia is using the company’s antivirus software to spy on U.S. government employees who run the company’s products on their own computers.

Germany’s BSI, or Federal Office for Information Security, said it doesn’t warn against using Kaspersky products because it has no evidence of wrongdoing by the Russian company or weaknesses in its software.

Kaspersky has been under scrutiny recently as U.S. officials have suspected that the Moscow-based company’s software is being used by the Kremlin to spy on the U.S. The New York Times reported Tuesday that Israeli intelligence officers found evidence on Kaspersky’s networks that Russian hackers used Kaspersky anti-virus software to search for information about U.S. intelligence programs. That effort successfully found sensitive documents improperly stored on an NSA employee’s home computer.

Kaspersky denied the New York Times report.

“Kaspersky Lab has never helped, nor will help, for any government in the world with its cyberespionage efforts, and contrary to erroneous reports, Kaspersky Lab software does not contain any undeclared capabilities such as backdoors as that would be illegal and unethical,” the company said in a statement.

The company’s CEO, Eugene Kaspersky, tweeted that he is launching an internal investigation into whether Kaspersky software has been used for espionage and asked U.S. officials to cooperate.

An Interpol official said that conflict between the U.S. and Kaspersky Labs is a sign of dangerous fragmentation in the cybersecurity community, Reuters reported, which can pave the way for cybercriminals to continue to launch successful attacks.

BSI said it is in contact with its American intelligence counterparts, but did not specify why it was commenting on the Kaspersky issue as it pertains to the U.S. The agency had not responded to a request for comment as of this publishing.

Last month, The U.S. Department of Homeland Security ordered that all federal agencies stop using Kaspersky software on its networks.

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