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Kaspersky software likely used in Russian-backed NSA breach

At least three other contractors - Reality Winner, Hal Martin and Edward Snowden - also have been accused of hoarding or releasing NSA's secrets.

Today's news comes a month after the Department of Homeland Security directed all 430 departments, agencies and offices comprising the USA government to rid their systems of any software made by Kaspersky Lab, one of the world's most renowned cybersecurity firms.

Eugene Kaspersky, founder and CEO of the company, has already derided the story as a "conspiracy theory".

USA officials first became aware of the breach in the spring of 2016, which counts as the first known instance where Kaspersky's software has been exploited to provide access to sensitive US government data.

Last month, the Department of Homeland Security ordered every US government agency to stop using a popular anti-virus program made by Kaspersky Lab, a cyber-security firm based in Russian Federation.

In a statement to Business Insider, Kaspersky Lab said it had not "been provided any evidence substantiating the company's involvement in the alleged incident reported by the Wall Street Journal. and it is unfortunate that news coverage of unproven claims continue to perpetuate accusations about the company". In fact, Acting Homeland Security Secretary Elaine Duke said in September that she was banning the entire federal government from using Kaspersky.

Kaspersky products have broad access to files and elevated privileges on the computers on which they are installed. How that data then apparently came into the hands of Russian hackers is unknown, but it's possible Kaspersky employees passed that virus signature information and files onto the Russian government. The agency has recently taken new steps to assess Kaspersky Lab's relationship with Russian intelligence services, including interviewing company employees based in the United States.

"The strong ties between Kaspersky Lab and the Kremlin are extremely alarming and have been well-documented for some time".

These documents provide details on how our government agencies get into "foreign computer networks" and how we defend ourselves "against cyberattacks". It has denied that it is a catspaw for Russia's intelligence agencies or any other government. "Yes, it is that absurdly ridiculous".



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