A leading provider of anti-virus software is now considered malicious software by the EU and the USA. The Russian cybersecurity company Kaspersky Lab has been a leader in the consumer anti-malware field for over 20 years.
The European Union has branded the Moscow-based Kaspersky Lab software as “confirmed as malicious” and in response Kaspersky Lab has stopped all its work with European institutions to help fight cybercrime. As the EU tightens cyber security laws with its recently-implemented General Data Protection Regulation, or GDRP, the EU branding of Kaspersky Lab might effectively shut it out of the European market altogether. Countries such as Poland and Holland have begun to phase-out use of their software and in December the President Trump’s administration went even further, banning their software from all government networks by October 2018.
Yevgeny Kaspersky, the founder and CEO of the company named after him was a child computer prodigy who, at 16 entered a five-year program with the former KGB to train as a Soviet intelligence officer. His ongoing ties to Russia’s current Federal Security Service or FSB and close relationship with President Vladimir Putin now have officials around the world concerned about Kaspersky Lab software and have consumers rethinking their choice of the software they use to protect their devices and their data.
Kaspersky Lab’s security software has been extremely popular, with sales at one time nearly matching the combined efforts of American rivals Symantec and McAfee combined. Like those companies, the Kaspersky Lab software used by 400 million users around the world inspects every application, file and email on their computer. It continuously analyzes all of this new data searching for patterns of malware and sends information back to the company’s Moscow headquarters where the data is analyzed as a potential threat.
Unlike their American competitors, Russian law can compel Kaspersky Lab to install hardware and software that assist the FSB’s intelligence and cyberespionage efforts. To be sure, Kaspersky Lab helps other governments and corporations understand and combat cybercrime. The company has undermined efforts by American intelligence agencies to deploy software to slow down the Iranian nuclear program.
Ironically it was Yevgeny Kaspersky himself who was one of the first to proclaim that social networks like Facebook and Twitter could be used anonymously to spread misinformation and destabilize governments. Now may wonder if Kaspersky Lab isn’t contributing to that and other cyber problems.