Kaspersky Scandal Is A Wakeup Call For Users of Non-American Anti-Virus Software

Over the past week or so, my worst fears regarding the potential for Russian intelligence to steal vital American intelligence were confirmed. I had previously speculated regarding the possibility that Kaspersky Labs, makers of the 9th best selling anti-malware software in the world, could potentially be using its access into user’s devices to obtain sensitive information from US federal government agencies for the Kremlin.

It is now known that Israeli intelligence had discovered that in 2015, Russian hackers used Kaspersky Lab’s software which was installed on a NSA contractor’s computer to steal sensitive information. They specifically used the software’s ability to scan files and search for documents and source code related to United States intelligence operations.

Last month, acting U.S. Department of Homeland Security Secretary Elaine Duke banned federal agencies and departments from using Kaspersky Lab products, citing concerns regarding our national security.

If that was not scary enough for current users of the software, a new threat-sharing agreement between INTERPOL and Kaspersky Labs was announced last week. What potential 4th Amendment violations can occur as a result of this new arrangement are not immediately known, but the fact that INTERPOL and Kaspersky Labs have made this agreement during the time that Kaspersky Labs is currently embroiled in controversy should certainly raise concerns.

Is this a dangerous step towards globalization of intelligence efforts? Is your sensitive information potentially obtainable by entities around the world under this agreement?

“INTERPOL’s new agreement with Kaspersky Lab is an additional step in our continued efforts to ensure law enforcement worldwide has access to the information they need to combat cyberthreats,” said Noboru Nakatani, executive director of INTERPOL’s Global Complex for Innovation.

Nakatani had also said Interpol had received no intelligence from the United States to suggest that Kaspersky was a threat at a recent conference before the information from Israeli intelligence was made public.

What does this all mean for Americans? Well for one, we should immediately take the advice of Trump Cybersecurity Coordinator Rob Joyce who stated he would not recommend the use of Kaspersky products to his friends and family.

Joyce told CBS News’ Jeff Pegues a few months ago, “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.”

It also means that Americans should immediately stop using anti-malware products produced by companies from countries known to engage in espionage against the United States. Most of the largest known cyber-attacks against the US have been perpetrated by countries who have a less than friendly relationship with America.

International software companies are largely “beyond recourse,” and Americans cannot truly hold them responsible should their private information be shared, sold or otherwise compromised. Our American standards may not be recognized or abided by software creators abroad as well.

According to a Consumer Reports survey in 2015, almost 8 in 10 American consumers say they would rather buy an American-made product than an imported one. That survey was taken before the recent Kaspersky revelations.

Maybe with this type of information beginning to be more widely disseminated, and older revelations regarding Chinese made devices being preloaded with spyware already known, Americans will begin to look a little harder for that “Made In The USA” sticker.

Originally Published on Newsmax.com

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