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Kaspersky Lab Has Been Working With Russian Intelligence (bloomberg.com) 171

An anonymous reader quotes a report from Bloomberg: Internal company emails obtained by Bloomberg Businessweek show that Kaspersky Lab has maintained a much closer working relationship with Russia's main intelligence agency, the FSB, than it has publicly admitted. It has developed security technology at the spy agency's behest and worked on joint projects the CEO knew would be embarrassing if made public. The previously unreported emails, from October 2009, are from a thread between Eugene Kaspersky and senior staff. In Russian, Kaspersky outlines a project undertaken in secret a year earlier "per a big request on the Lubyanka side," a reference to the FSB offices. Kaspersky Lab confirmed the emails are authentic.

The software that the CEO was referring to had the stated purpose of protecting clients, including the Russian government, from distributed denial-of-service (DDoS) attacks, but its scope went further. Kaspersky Lab would also cooperate with internet hosting companies to locate bad actors and block their attacks, while assisting with "active countermeasures," a capability so sensitive that Kaspersky advised his staff to keep it secret. In this case, Kaspersky may have been referring to something even more rare in the security world. A person familiar with the company's anti-DDoS system says it's made up of two parts. The first consists of traditional defensive techniques, including rerouting malicious traffic to servers that can harmlessly absorb it. The second part is more unusual: Kaspersky provides the FSB with real-time intelligence on the hackers' location and sends experts to accompany the FSB and Russian police when they conduct raids. That's what Kaspersky was referring to in the emails, says the person familiar with the system. They weren't just hacking the hackers; they were banging down the doors.
Kaspersky Lab has issued a statement in response to Bloomberg's report. It reads in part: "Regardless of how the facts are misconstrued to fit in with a hypothetical, false theory, Kaspersky Lab, and its executives, do not have inappropriate ties with any government. The company does regularly work with governments and law enforcement agencies around the world with the sole purpose of fighting cybercrime. In the internal communications referenced within the recent article, the facts are once again either being misinterpreted or manipulated to fit the agenda of certain individuals desperately wanting there to be inappropriate ties between the company, its CEO and the Russian government, but no matter what communication they claim to have, the facts clearly remain there is no evidence because no such inappropriate ties exist."

Kaspersky Lab Has Been Working With Russian Intelligence

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  • Big Nothing (Score:5, Funny)

    by PopeRatzo ( 965947 ) on Tuesday July 11, 2017 @07:36PM (#54790071) Journal

    To be fair, Eugene Kaspersky did meet with Russian intelligence, but they only discussed adoption.

    • To be fair, Eugene Kaspersky did meet with Russian intelligence, but they only discussed adoption.

      Someone's finally going to adopt Eugene? Aww, that's cute. ;)

  • by rmdingler ( 1955220 ) on Tuesday July 11, 2017 @07:36PM (#54790075) Journal
    I mean, political influence is a two-way street.

    What nation with a powerful central government doesn't demand indelicate acts from its major corporations?

    • by KiloByte ( 825081 ) on Tuesday July 11, 2017 @07:59PM (#54790233)

      What nation with a powerful central government doesn't demand indelicate acts from its major corporations?

      It's more about scale of such acts, and these days Russia and the US are doing this to a ridiculous degree.

      • What nation with a powerful central government doesn't demand indelicate acts from its major corporations?

        It's more about scale of such acts, and these days Russia and the US are doing this to a ridiculous degree.

        Right. If, as the evidence your claim implies, you are not from one of these two nations you mention, the chances your own country is free of this blight is on the order of the lottery... as likely to free of powerful influence in gov't & industry as you'd be having missionary sex with a polar bear and a regular bear, on the same day.

        • Actually, my country government can't find their asses with both hands. They're thoroughly busy firing any employee with a shred of competency and replacing them with 20 years old nephews of their party members. So even though they violate the Constitution at almost every step, they're so incompetent they're not a threat to anyone living abroad.

          The previous government had its flaws but neither gross incompetence nor illegal spying was seriously alleged.

        • by The Grim Reefer ( 1162755 ) on Tuesday July 11, 2017 @08:48PM (#54790471)

          a polar bear and a regular bear,

          I sexually identify as a polar bear and find this to be highly offensive. You think grizzly bears, brown bears, panda bears, water bears, etc are all "regular bears" but somehow polar bears are not "regular bears". I can't believe in this day and age that we have bigoted polar-arkoudaphobic people like you on the internet.

        • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

          by Anonymous Coward

          > a polar bear and a regular bear

          A polar bear is a regular (rectangular) bear after a coordinate transform.

          captcha: teenage

  • You don't say (Score:5, Insightful)

    by slick7 ( 1703596 ) on Tuesday July 11, 2017 @07:37PM (#54790081)
    Imagine that, a Russian company working for/with the Russians. How quaint. Much like the Cripts and Bloods working for the CIA.
    • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

      by Anonymous Coward

      Imagine that: a government hiring a cyber security company to assist with cyber security. Insane, right ?!?!

      It's precisely due to comments (and sentiments) such as yours that Kaspersky felt compelled to keep this secret. The anti-Russian hysteria pushed by western media was already a joke, and is fast approaching ludicrous.

      • by slick7 ( 1703596 )
        Google cia admission of drug dealing in LA. and look at the comments such as that. these are not my sentiments, but the sentiments of really greedy people.
    • Not 1785 the same because FSB is the domestic security service of Russia. The closest US equivalent would be FBI with the difference that FSB is also responsible for border and coast guard. They are literally the Russian feds.

      • by slick7 ( 1703596 )
        There are criminals in the FBI, FSB, CIA, in all political arenas on this planet. Not all cockroaches scatter when the lights are turned on.
        • Obviously, but that was not my point. For some reason most people think that FSB spies in foreign countries which simply isn't the case. SVR does that, FSB is Russian FBI.

          • by slick7 ( 1703596 )
            The FSB is the former KGB, and that organization was and imho is still active world-wide. The NAZI's are still active as well and that is my point. The same goes for any clandestine intelligence group.
            • The FSB is not the former KGB, it is only a fairly small part of the former KGB (mainly second, sixth and seventh directorate, later also the border guard directorate and a part of the 16th directorate) and is not active world wide, that is the responsibility of SVR [wikipedia.org], which is far more the spiritual successor of KGB than FSB will ever be. Is that so difficult to comprehend?

  • by Rockoon ( 1252108 ) on Tuesday July 11, 2017 @07:40PM (#54790105)
    Why is our media trying so hard to start a war between the U.S. and Russia?
    • by NuclearCat ( 899738 ) on Tuesday July 11, 2017 @07:50PM (#54790183) Journal
      Because hysteria attract viewers, improve ratings
      More viewers = more money for ads
      Who cares that world may fall apart in nuclear tornado, media bosses pockets are more important.
    • I've been wondering the same thing. It seems to me that the US and Russia should be natural allies. They have much more in common than they do differences. Maybe the globalists want to make sure the two most nationalistic countries never figure out that they could be friends.
      • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

        by Rockoon ( 1252108 )

        It seems to me that the US and Russia should be natural allies.

        We were. Putin visited the U.S. on more than a few occasions as a friend, and then Obama decided that Syria should be a target. I'm sure that had nothing to do with how much money our Secretary of State's "Foundation" got from the Saudi's after Syria refused to let them build a pipeline to Europe.

        • by Anonymous Coward

          Syria as a target directly impacts Russia. Their only forward permanent military base is located there. Syria has been an ally of Russia for a long time. They're what Israel is to the US.

          It boggles the shit out of me how many "liberals" blindly supported Queen Spy Clinton during her campaign as she was banging the drums for a war with the most heavily nuclear weaponized nation in the world.

        • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

          Do you guys have zero knowledge of what's been going on the past 100 years? The US and Russia/USSR have been adversaries far more often than they've been allies.

          • by Anonymous Coward

            Do you guys have zero knowledge of what's been going on the past 100 years?

            I only know what I read on the internet.
            Russia and USA were long-time allies until the democrats ruined the relationship!!!

        • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

          by phayes ( 202222 )

          Assad's treatment of his internal opposition (gas/exterminate them all) and fomenting of Daesh to blacken his opponents directly leading to their seizing control of much or Iraq had more than a little to do with Syria becoming a target -- and yet, unlike Russia the U.S. has only targeted Daesh & not people trying just to unseat that maniac Assad.

          • by Anonymous Coward

            NATO involvement in Syria began in 2014, the same year as Ukraine's revolution. Destabilization in each country had begun much earlier.

            Russia has a naval base in Tartus, Syria.
            Russia has a naval base in Sevastopol, former Ukraine (Crimea).
            Those are Russia's only two warm-water ports on the Mediterranean or Atlantic.

            The Russians likely think that the US found pretexts for involving itself in Syria (including bombing Syrian facilities like the air base that Trump hit with cruise missiles a few weeks back) in

            • by phayes ( 202222 )

              Yeah yeah, it's all a plot against RUSSIAN interests. Because RUSSIAN interests are the important part, not that Assad and his father gencide all opposition like that which swept through much of the Arab world. Nor that the Ukraine after decades of Russian domination could look west and see a brighter future with the west than with Putins kleptocracy. Because RUSSIAN interests are so much more important than auto determination - except when it serves RUSSIAN interests - then it's OK.

              The thing about the RUSS

        • by Jahoda ( 2715225 ) on Wednesday July 12, 2017 @08:57AM (#54792803) Homepage
          No, Mr.Revisionist shill. Russia "annexed" a sovereign nation and has since received the sanctions it justly deserves. They are a kleptocracy ruled by a murderous tyrant and are no friends of my nation. Go find somewhere else to peddle your sewage.
        • by slick7 ( 1703596 )
          Everyone on this planet has the potential to be natural allies. The real question is who or what outside influence needs to be exposed to make this happen? Potus Trump is a real thorn in someone's side and they want him gone. Remember, cream rises to the top of milk, dross rises to the top of molten metal; cream is nothing but fat and dross is useless waste. Both of these need to be removed. The same goes for the power elite of this world who do not believe in world unity.
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        It might have something to do with the Russian human rights record. This is especially relevant to the subject of software security when dealing with a country where it is dangerous to be a journalist.

        • by Mashiki ( 184564 )

          You mean like China? Funny how there isn't that level of the media going on, and on, and on, and on about them.

      • by ( 4475953 )

        They have much more in common than they do differences.

        You mean both are racist, fairly restrictive authoritarian regimes under oligarchic rule by the 1% with an expressed disdain for basic human rights who also wage aggressive wars from time to time and spend a large amount of their tax payers' money on the military and an absurdly overblown intelligence community? You might have a point there...

    • by AHuxley ( 892839 )
      Clicks, views and ratings.
      Gov/mil contacts have free stuff to offer. Govs and mil always have lots of domestic and international stories to share.
      Also the money to investigate one story might have to go further and take less time.
      So more interviews are done to keep up with blogs, the 24 h news cycle.
      Also consider the role of news aggregation websites. Suddenly news is fast, accurate and from all over the USA and the world.
      News that was once published for and consumed inside the Beltway is now natio
    • by decep ( 137319 )

      Rule of Acquisition #34: War is good for business.

    • by rsilvergun ( 571051 ) on Tuesday July 11, 2017 @09:03PM (#54790539)
      and Pence in. Trump is unpredictable. He's come out in favor and against single payer health care, restrictions on work visas, tariffs and a whole host of populist ideas that the folks that actually own the media aren't too keen on. Now, it's not that they expect Trump to actually _do_ any of that (he's still one of them after all) but they don't want folks to even know a progressive agenda is a possibility. So Trump's out, Pence is in and the mega-corp status quo is maintained. Maybe with a tad more religious furor but that doesn't affect them personally. Nothing much ever does...
    • Revenge. Russia is just another one of those groups of people who instead of doing what they usually do and help the Democrat party decided to dump Hillary and go with trump.
    • Because Putin doesn't obey Netanyahu, or whoever the current sock-puppet may be.
    • It's not us. It's Mr. Putin who is being a dick all across the world because he's butthurt that Russia is not playing with the big boys anymore.

      He wants to feel important and be feared and respected like your teenage neighbourhood bully. He hasn't gotten over the collapse of the Soviet Union which was of course the most glorious nation to ever have smiled upon the world.

    • by slick7 ( 1703596 )
      Find your answer in who controls the media.
  • by 93 Escort Wagon ( 326346 ) on Tuesday July 11, 2017 @07:40PM (#54790107)

    But I'm not really feeling the outrage here, at least with regard to what was reported.

  • From https://www.bloomberg.com/news... [bloomberg.com]
    "worry U.S. national security officials "
    "six U.S. intelligence and law enforcement agency chiefs were asked"
    "While the U.S. government hasn’t disclosed any evidence of the ties"
    "A person familiar with"
    "The U.S. government hasn’t identified any evidence connecting"

    Consider all the good work thats been done over the years.
    Equation Group https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/... [wikipedia.org]
    Stuxnet https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/... [wikipedia.org]
    Work to publish on Gauss, Regin, Fla
  • by NuclearCat ( 899738 ) on Tuesday July 11, 2017 @07:44PM (#54790143) Journal
    I noticed last week or so "Russia this, Russia that" hysteria, rumours and manipulations appeared here, something strange, as they don't contain any credible information, even anything interesting for geek, just gossips - and it's trending in traditionally geeky website.
    Slashdot was safe harbor for me for more than a decade from filthy political news and "news for housewives".
    Seems its time to put dot and say bye bye?
    P.S. Yes i'm russian, and i hate politics and propaganda. Peace!
    • Re: (Score:1, Informative)

      by Anonymous Coward

      Slashdot's tagline from the beginning included the words "Stuff That Matters".
      Whether or not you feel your safe space has been invaded, this stuff MATTERS. The headlines that are political are usually clear, easy enough for you to avoid. It's not as if you see one that says something about quantum dots or M-theory and then turns out to be all about how Trump would love to suck Putin's dick.

    • Re: (Score:1, Informative)

      by Anonymous Coward

      I noticed last week or so "Russia this, Russia that" hysteria, rumours and manipulations appeared here, something strange, as they don't contain any credible information,

      Yes, its all fake news. Go back to sleep comrade. And whatever you do, don't read Fredo's twitter feed. Its all fake news.

    • Slashdot is aging (Score:5, Insightful)

      by rsilvergun ( 571051 ) on Tuesday July 11, 2017 @09:05PM (#54790547)
      and older folks are worried about politics. We're getting old enough to worry about pensions, medicare, our kid's job prospects, etc, etc. Politics affects _everything_. Like the internet? Then you better pay attention to politics. Remember, it's not just news for nerds, it's also stuff that matters. The President getting impeached and replaced with a far right, intensely religious VP? Yeah. That Matters.
    • by Anonymous Coward

      These stories are published because they attract attention. Any story about Russia, Syria or Ukraine or Trump or the EU or any topic where Russia might want to influence will attract comments from Putin's trolls as well as the "normal" crowd. It's not new, it's been happening here for at least three years.

      In the past month or so I've noticed an increase in the numbers here admitting to being Russian, or at least not disguising it, both of which are welcome. I wonder if that's anything to do with Putin's

    • P.S. Yes i'm russian, and i hate politics and propaganda. Peace!

      Yes, as do most of your countrymen, and mine. That's why both of our governments are so spectacularly fucked up. We let other people run our governments for us.

    • by ( 4475953 )

      Boy, calm down, that's nothing in comparison to the past. You should have been alive when the Cold War was raging... all those pesky US fake news outlets going against Prawda!

  • by Anonymous Coward

    Next thing you'll be telling me Facebook is a project of the CI%!*^#.NO CARRIER

    • Facebook received 12 million in start-up money from ACCEL corporation, which has direct ties to In-Q-Tel which is the venture capital arm of the CIA.
      So although it's not a direct project of the CIA, I bet it's highly useful to them.
      It was only unforeseen that the ancestor of Cambridge Analytica would suck up so much information from the facebook likes that Trump could win the elections (and Farrage the Brexit vote).
  • by Anonymous Coward

    In a move that literally doesn't surprise anybody... That's why you should trust anything made by foreign countries, especially China and Russia.

  • This is news? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday July 11, 2017 @07:59PM (#54790235)

    I guess everyone's forgotten all about RSA Security's cozy relationship with those friendly NSA folks. -PCP

  • by charles05663 ( 675485 ) on Tuesday July 11, 2017 @08:10PM (#54790285) Homepage
    So, it is being claimed that Kaspersky's is trying to take down cyber-criminals? If they were accused of using their anti-virus software to spy that would be a different story.
  • Even if... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by mhkohne ( 3854 ) on Tuesday July 11, 2017 @09:38PM (#54790671) Homepage

    Even if Kaspersky doesn't want to do anything bad, I can't imagine that Russian intelligence doesn't have someone on the inside. Just as I can't imaging the CIA or NSA doesn't have someone inside MS and Google.

    I don't know why this is such a big deal - they are a Russian company, which means they are (whether they like it or not) somewhat under the influence of the Russian government. Just as (again) MS and Google are somewhat under the influence of the US government.

    Stop freaking out about it already, and if you consider their products just make sure you think about the ways this could be a problem for you or not.

    And frankly if Kaspersky is helping the intelligence guys kick down the doors of DOS script kiddies, more power to them. It's not like the guys who do DOS attacks are generally all that smart or useful, they're just damned annoying to the rest of us.

    • by PPH ( 736903 )

      Just as (again) MS and Google are somewhat under the influence of the US government.

      This.

      How do you say 'National Security Letter' in Russian?

    • Even if Kaspersky doesn't want to do anything bad, I can't imagine that Russian intelligence doesn't have someone on the inside. Just as I can't imaging the CIA or NSA doesn't have someone inside MS and Google.

      Hahaha, you're so naive...
      Why would the CIA *and* NSA not have 'someone' inside Kaspersky?

  • Somebody doesn't know what the first D in DDoS stands for evidently (No, Kapersky was not identifying the hacker's location. That is not even within the realm of possibility.)
    • Actually, it is.
      If

      Kaspersky Lab would also cooperate with internet hosting companies

      you can easily find the C&C server and from there you can try to find the man behind it.

      • How are you going to "easily find the c&c server when it is distributed? You don't really think the hacker logs into each node of the botnet do you? You would need to find a single session, most likely over HTTPS, somewhere on the planet. That isn't just trying to find a needle in a haystack, that is trying to find an invisible needle somewhere in one of the haystack on the planet.
        • Intersect IP addresses originating from the botnet nodes that are not the target, duh.
          The hacker doesn't log into the nodes, the nodes check a C&C server in small intervals; this being easy to code and hard to detect locally is the primary reason that most botnets do it. and the ability to find them using a simple intersection is the reason that botnets either use a dictionary, a backup list or an algorithm to generate random domain names on demand.
          You and whoever upvoted you, go back to school.
  • It isn't like the Intel McAfee division works with the CIA, NSA, and FBI amongst others on analysis of network traffic and features in their product... Which has been publicly discussed quite a bit. This is a Russian cybersecurity firm dealing with a Russian nation-state-level governmental security organization.

    Find an exploit put into their products to spy on the users that can be traced to the FSB, then its news.
  • All, absolutely all modern software and hardware, are based on eavesdropping. We read about entrepreneurs who built a global software empire via hard work and a talent overnight. But it just cannot be true. These all are projects which require enormous investments of several generations.

    I think it is time to start building computing from scratch, from the ground, with open hardware and software, with command line tools at first. With big transparent casings, so that we can actually trace wires and compon
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