Russian Kaspersky Banned in U.S. But Used by Georgian Officials

Russian Kaspersky Banned in U.S. But Used by Georgian Officials

Russian Kaspersky Banned in U.S. But Used by Georgian Officials

The FINANCIAL -- Sources at the Georgian government told The FINANCIAL many state agencies in Georgia are still using Kaspersky antivirus banned in U.S. due to the cooperation with Russian intelligence services. 
Georgia has been attacked by Russian state controlled hackers several times. The largest attack was performed during Russia-Georgia prompt war in August 2008. Kaspersky is sold by many Georgian retailers for GEL 15. 

The U.S. banned federal agencies from using computer software supplied by Kaspersky Lab because of concerns about the company’s ties to the Kremlin and Russian spy operations.
"The case against Kaspersky is well documented and deeply concerning," Democratic Senator Jeanne Shaheen said.

The directive issued by acting Homeland Security Secretary Elaine Duke comes as various U.S. law enforcement and intelligence agencies and several congressional committees are investigating Russian meddling in the 2016 presidential election.
Kaspersky said in a statement that it was disappointed by the directive and insisted “it does not have unethical ties or affiliations with any government, including Russia.”
Duke directed all U.S. federal agencies and departments to stop using products or services supplied directly or indirectly by the Russian-owned and operated company. 

Electronics retailer Best Buy has removed Kaspersky products from its shelves, although it declined to explain why.

The chief executive of the software company, Eugene Kaspersky, is a mathematical engineer who attended a KGB-sponsored school and once worked for Russia’s Ministry of Defense. His critics say it’s unlikely that his company could operate independently in Russia, where the economy is dominated by state-owned companies and the power of spy agencies has expanded dramatically under President Vladimir Putin.

The chief executive of the software company, Eugene Kaspersky, is a mathematical engineer who attended a KGB-sponsored school and once worked for Russia’s Ministry of Defense. His critics say it’s unlikely that his company could operate independently in Russia, where the economy is dominated by state-owned companies and the power of spy agencies has expanded dramatically under President Vladimir Putin.

Kaspersky has access to over 400 million users and 270,000 corporate clients worldwide.

Kaspersky software has the capability to inspect the media of any computer running it for interesting files and to forward such files to Russian intelligence.

Twitter Blocked Kaspersky Ads in 2018, Pointing to US Government Ban.

Kaspersky Lab was founded in 1997 and has since been creating products for countering digital threats. The technologies of the lab unite more than 400 million users, 270 thousand corporate clients and is present on the market of more than 32 countries. The headquarters of the company are located in Moscow.

U.S. Case Involved Alleged Russian Intelligence Theft Through Kaspersky

The founder and the CEO of Kaspersky Lab, Evgeniy Kaspersky, according to Bloomberg Businessweek, received education in a cryptographic institute funded by KGB and later worked for Russian military intelligence.

As of today, the cryptography institute (Институт Криптографии, Связи И Информатики -ИКСИ) is subject to the Russian Federal Security Service.

According to the material published by Bloomberg Businessweek in 2015, highly qualified managers left Kaspersky Lab in 2012 and were replaced by individuals with strong ties with the Russian military and intelligence services. Bloomberg Businessweek relied upon the claims by six acting and former employees, according to which the company was assisting the Russian Federal Security Office in conducting criminal investigations, for which they used up to 400 million users’ data. Kaspersky Lab and Evgeniy Kaspersky accused Bloomberg Businessweek for disseminating inaccurate information.

In 2017, during the hearing of the US Senate’s Intelligence Committee, the heads of National Security Agency (NSA), Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA) and National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency spoke about the possible future threats for the US internal computer networks from Kaspersky Lab and expressed doubts about the connection of the Kaspersky Lab employees with the Russian defense and intelligence agencies. Kaspersky Lab denied the accusations of the representatives of the United States Intelligence Community and stated that the company has not helped and will not help in the future any government in any cyberespionage attempt.

In 2017, Kaspersky Lab’s manager, Ruslan Stoyanov was arrested together with two former employees of the Russian security services – Sergey Mikhaylov and Dmitriy Dokuchaev. According to Forbes, Stoyanov was arrested in accordance to the Article 275 of the Russian Federation Criminal Code which implies state treason. Kaspersky Lab stated that the company did not possess information about the details of the investigation and added that Ruslan Stoyanov had been under investigation even prior to assuming his job at Kaspersky Lab. Ruslan Stoyanov joined Kaspersky Lab in 2012.

Kaspersky Lab in Georgia

In Georgia, Kaspersky Lab actively cooperates with a licensed program distributor – LTD Mont (Tbilisi, Georgia)MONT Group is one of the biggest Russian program distributor company, founded in 1991. Its distribution network includes more than 5,000 organizations in Russia, CIS countries and Georgia.
based on: 

Reuters, Bloomberg, mythdetector.ge, New York Times.