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Kaspersky found malware on NSA hacker's PC

27 October 2017

An internal investigation at the Russian anti-virus company into allegations that its software was used to steal NSA hacking tools has uncovered evidence corroborating parts of those reports but also proving the firm's innocence, according to the company.

Days after launching a global transparency initiative, Russian security firm Kaspersky Lab has released details of an internal investigation into claims that its antivirus software was used to spy on the US.

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In 2014, the company claims that the consumer version of its popular antivirus software flagged a zip file as malicious on a United States computer and then one of its analysts discovered the source code for a hacking tool that would later be attributed to the Equation Group that has been linked to a number of viruses including Stuxnet and Flame.

There have been multiple calls from security experts and consultants for the USA authorities to issue a clear statement around what they know to be true about the hacking incident, with Erratasec consultant Rob Graham telling Wired: "Our government hasn't even been clear about what they're accusing Kaspersky of".

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Although Kaspersky says no third-parties saw the code, reports said the hacking tool ended up in the Kremlin's hands.

After this detection took place, Kaspersky Lab said the user 'appears to have downloaded and installed pirated software on his machine, as indicated by an illegal Microsoft Office activation key generator. which turned out to be infected with malware'. The owner of the machine had Kaspersky software installed at the time, but uninstalled it to add the pirated version of Word to their computer.

Kaspersky Lab said that among the suspicious items identified was a 7zip archive, which an analyst found to contain multiple samples and source code for NSA hacking tools.

"We deleted the archive because we don't need the source code to improve our protection technologies and because of concerns regarding the handling of classified materials".

"After discovering the suspected Equation malware source code, the analyst reported the incident to the CEO". "The archive was not shared with any third parties", the company chief said in tweet. We're just getting propaganda on this issue and no hard data. After realizing what it had picked up, the company then destroyed the code. Yesterday, Kaspersky said it had stumbled across the code in late 2014 when the consumer version of its software alerted them to a malicious zip file on a USA machine.

Kaspersky found malware on NSA hacker's PC