Russian-based cybersecurity company Kaspersky’s antivirus software threatens its customers. The Wall Street Journal discloses that the popular Internet security used to scan devices worldwide to detect classified U.S. government files and documents, as well as secret data.
Current and former U.S. officials also indicate that the antivirus software is capable of being turned into an espionage tool.
As a result, US security consultants and consumers in other industries are removing Kaspersky’s antivirus software, especially in the financial sector. Moreover, some security companies revealed that they were told to only provide local security software.
According to an anonymous source in a cybersecurity firm, “We are under great pressure to only use American products no matter the technical or performance consequences.”
On the other hand, the founder and CEO of Kaspersky, Eugene Kaspersky has denied any knowledge of the spying function. In addition, the former employee in Kaspersky indicated that the company’s researchers “are not involved or privy to any political shenanigans and they're the public faces.”
However, even if Kaspersky’s executive and employees had no idea about the Russian government’s spying capability, consumers still will think that the company has betrayed customer trust.
A former NSA operator, Blake Darche told the Daily Beast that consumers are removing the Russian-based security software from their computers.
It is worth mentioning that many of the Internet security users are just ordinary consumers who only require protection from adware, malware or phishing are not likely to be under threat from spying. However, some users who are in the US may be vulnerable to breaches of their confidential information.
Dave Aitel, another former NSA analyst and CEO of the security company Immunity INC indicated: “Essentially they are treating KAV [Kaspersky Anti-Virus] as malware.”
Market Intelligence company International Data Corp provided information that sales in Western Europe and The U.S. generated for Kaspersky $374 million of all $633 million sales in 2016.
According to the previous report at Reuters, Kaspersky also planned to open its offices in Los Angeles, Chicago, and Toronto in 2018 but the spokesperson did not respond whether the distribution in the U.S. and Western countries are still in play.
However, Kaspersky spokesperson indicated:
Given that U.S. government sales have not been a significant part of the company’s activity in North America, Kaspersky Lab is exploring opportunities to better optimize the Washington D.C. office responsible for threat intelligence offerings to U.S. government entities.
Besides losing its customers Kaspersky is being attacked on social media and it also impacts Kaspersky’s employees:
American guys are struggling most,” – indicated U.S. based Kaspersky staffers earlier this year. “I can’t discuss out of respect for them, but there will be significant departures.