US Kaspersky Purge a Result of Israeli Intel Hack

EnlargeMikhail Deynekin

Israeli officials who had hacked into the Kaspersky Lab, a Russian multinational cybersecurity and anti-virus provider headquartered in Moscow, alerted the USA about an unreported, wide-scale Russian intrusion, following which Kaspersky software was removed from government computers on September 13, the New York Times reported Wednesday.

The Israeli officials, who had detected the hacking two years ago, alerted the USA that Russian hackers were using the software as a sort of Google search engine for sensitive information, the Times reported, leading the Trump administration to order federal agencies to remove the Moscow-based cybersecurity software company's products from their networks.

"Israeli intelligence officers informed the N.S.A. that in the course of their Kaspersky hack, they uncovered evidence that Russian government hackers were using Kaspersky's access to aggressively scan for American government classified programmes, and pulling any findings back to Russian intelligence systems", the report claimed. This resulted in an NSA investigation which found that these tools had reached the Kremlin.

The New York Times said its information had come from current and former government officials.

The Russians' who were caught in the act attempted to gain access to American intelligence programs using the anti-virus software developed by Russian information security company Kaspersky Lab, which is used by 400 million people worldwide, including United States government agencies.

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Kaspersky Lab denied to the Times any knowledge of, or involvement in, the Russian hacking.

The National Security Agency, the White House, the Israeli Embassy and the Russian Embassy in Washington DC have not responded to inquiries nor issued comments on the report.

By Ashok Dixit, Kaspersky Lab, one of the world's fastest growing cyber-security companies, and the largest one to be privately owned, is all set to host the APAC Cyber Security Weekend 2017 here over the next two days.

"Kaspersky Lab has never helped, nor will help, any government in the world with its cyberespionage efforts", the company said in a statement.