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Germany: "No evidence" Kaspersky software used by Russians for hacks

12 October 2017

Israeli spies warned USA intelligence that antivirus software employed by several American government agencies was being used by Kremlin-backed hackers to steal secrets (write Boer Deng and Anshel Pfeffer).

The BSI, which uses Kaspersky products, was responding to an article in The New York Times on Tuesday that detailed how Israeli intelligence had gained access to Russian government hackers' computers in 2014 and determined they were using the antivirus software to spy on the USA government.

Kaspersky, whose range of products are reportedly used by around 400 million people globally including some 20 government clients, said it was not responsible for the alleged cyber-espionage.

The Israeli spies found that Kaspersky's network also contained hacking tools that could only have come from the US National Security Agency, the Washington Post reported on Tuesday.

The Washington Post reported on Tuesday that the US National Intelligence Council (NIC) had told North Atlantic Treaty Organisation allies that it believed Russia's intelligence service, the FSB, had "probable access" to Kaspersky data on company customers and the antivirus source code.

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That access, it concluded, could help enable cyber attacks against United States government, commercial and industrial control networks, the Post reported.

The Russian government has used popular antivirus software for the search of secret documents around the world.

The current and former government officials who described the episode spoke about it on condition of anonymity because of classification rules, the Times said.

The U.S. government last month ordered Kaspersky software removed from government computers, saying it was concerned the Moscow-based cyber security firm was vulnerable to Kremlin influence.

It has repeatedly denied having anything more than correct business ties to the Kremlin, saying it is "caught in the middle of a geopolitical fight".