The White House Cybersecurity Czar Rob Joyce said he would advise his family against using Kaspersky Lab antivirus software, products federal agencies and Congress have also railed against in recent months for suspected ties to Moscow’s intelligence agencies.
“I worry that as a nation state Russia really hasn’t done the right things for this country and they have a lot of control and latitude over the information that goes to companies in Russia. So I worry about that,” Joyce said in a CBS News interview aired Tuesday night.
Kaspersky has been a frequent subject of Congressional discussion, particularly in the Senate Intelligence and House Science Committees. Its wares were recently taken off the preapproved list of providers for federal contracts and, according to various media reports, the FBI has privately warned businesses against the firm.
While there has never been any evidence presented publicly that Kaspersky Lab is used for Russian intelligence purposes, there has been a great deal of innuendo. The Moscow-based cybersecurity firm denies any untoward connection to any government.
Eugene Kaspersky, the company’s founder, attended a KGB-affiliated university and worked for military intelligence. He has acknowledged friendships with high ranking government officials and providing assistance to international law enforcement agencies, including Russia’s. And many employees of the company also have Russian military and intelligence backgrounds.
By the same token, many American, British and Israeli cybersecurity professionals were trained by military and intelligence services, In-Q-Tel – the venture capital wing of the CIA – has funded some of the largest cybersecurity firms and nearly all cybersecurity firms offer to aid law enforcement agencies when asked.
Kaspersky has research centers throughout the world, including the United States. The company has outed several believed intelligence hacking operations, including major operations believed to originate in the United States and Britain. It also identified Turla, a still active group believed to work for Russia.