Germany and Interpol Suggest “No Evidence” of Spies Leveraging Kaspersky Products


After the reports revealing that Israel had informed the United States government of Russians using Kaspersky as their "search engine" for American cyberweapons, the antivirus firm is back in the headlines. The US government first released a directive earlier in July this year, banning the use of the Kaspersky products in federal agencies. While little was known at the time, the report revealed that it was Israeli intelligence officials who had alerted the Trump administration of Russians spying on the US intel officials using Kaspersky Lab's products.

As one country bans the use of Kaspersky products, others are looking to find if Russia has been targeting them, as well. At least Germany hasn't found any evidence.

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The country's BSI federal cyber agency said following the damning report published by the NYT that it had found no evidence that hackers had installed backdoors in Kaspersky Lab software. The agency uses Kaspersky products for technical analyses but said it has no plans to warn against the use of Kaspersky products.

"There are no plans to warn against the use of Kaspersky products since the BSI has no evidence for misconduct by the company or weaknesses in its software," the agency said in a statement, reported by Reuters. The agency further added that it cannot at the time corroborate the media reports of Russians targeting US agencies using the AV product.

"The BSI has no indications at this time that the process occurred as described in the media."

Kaspersky has continued to deny these reports and has said that the company is caught in the middle of a geopolitical fight between the United States and Russia. "Kaspersky Lab has never helped, nor will help, any government in the world with its cyberespionage efforts," a company statement said. While the US government hasn't blamed the company directly, Russian (and apparently Israeli) hackers having managed to infiltrate the company makes others think about its capabilities to keep its users safe. Some US officials have also claimed that the firm actually made modifications to its programs to enable Russian spying.

BSI said that it was in touch with officials in the US and other countries to make sure it's ready to take action and "issue a warning on short notice if required."

Germany's statement comes after Interpol that also said that the United States government hasn't shared any information or recommended other allied intelligence agencies to avoid Kaspersky software. Noboru Nakatani, executive director of Interpol's Global Complex for Innovation, said that the latest action taken by the Trump administration against Kaspersky makes it harder to effectively fight cross-border cybercrime.

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He added that while criminals are working together across the borders, the governments are busy fighting cold wars.

"Balkanisation, especially in the cybersecurity community - that is happening and that needs to be corrected," Nakatani said. "The reality is criminals, they are working together by sharing information by helping each other to make money. Do you think the governments or the good people are doing the same?"