Israel and Russia's overlapping hacks of Kaspersky complicate espionage narrative

Israel and Russia's overlapping hacks of Kaspersky complicate espionage narrative

The Wall Street Journal reported last week that Russian hackers leveraged Kaspersky software in 2015 to pilfer classified NSA materials from a government contractor who had moved the files to his personal computer.

Israeli intelligence officers hacked into Kaspersky's network over two years ago, and were able to watch the Russians conduct international hacking efforts. That is the nature of the war we're in.

According to Washington Post, last month U.S. National Intelligence Council completed a classified report that it shared with NATO allies concluding that Russia's FSB intelligence service had "probable access" to Kaspersky customer databases and source code.

"With regards to unverified assertions that this situation relates to Duqu2, a sophisticated cyber-attack of which Kaspersky Lab was not the only target, we are confident that we have identified and removed all of the infections that happened during that incident".

Israeli agents made the discovery after breaching the software themselves. As the integrity of our products is fundamental to our business, Kaspersky Lab patches any vulnerabilities it identifies or that are reported to the company.

The Times reported that the National Security Agency, the White House, the Israeli Embassy and the Russian Embassy would not comment for its story.

Russian cybersecurity firm Kaspersky seems to be in the big soup.

Kaspersky Lab has denied any knowledge of or involvement in an alleged Russian state campaign to steal US intelligence documents using its anti-virus software, which was spotted by Israeli spies. "Those experiments persuaded officials that Kaspersky was being used to detect classified information", Wednesday's report said.

The BSI, which uses Kaspersky products, was responding to an article in The New York Times on Tuesday that detailed how Israeli intelligence had gained access to Russian government hackers' computers in 2014 and determined they were using the antivirus software to spy on the US government. And was the Kaspersky Lab in on the spying or were they unwitting victims?

The firm maintained that its software doesn't contain any 'undeclared' capabilities such as backdoors and that it has never helped any government with its cyber-espionage efforts.

In September, the Ministry of homeland security has ordered government departments and agencies to remove any installed software from the company "Kaspersky Lab" with their computer systems.

Following its own investigation, the NSA said it found that the tools had been in the possession of the government of Russia, said the report from the Post. The Russians used a widely used antivirus program to effectively search millions of computers for documents from the FBI, the NSA, the CIA and other branches of government.

The statement leaves open the possibility that the company knew that its system was used, but simply chose not to interfere.