Economy

Kaspersky Lab to open up software for independent review

Since these allegations and the USA government's directive against the AV firm, several companies have also taken Kaspersky off their shelves.

In a post on its site, the company laid out its plans for an "internationally recognized authority" to review its source code sometime in Q1 of next year, although it offered no details yet on who the authority would be or how the process would be undertaken.

The company did not name the outside reviewers, but said in a statement that it will soon announce parties with "strong credentials in software security and assurance testing for cyber-security products".

Kaspersky's software, widely respected for its virus-catching effectiveness, is used on millions of computers around the world.

In a statement, Kaspersky said: "Trust is essential in cybersecurity, and therefore trust should be the foundation of any collaboration among those seeking to secure individuals, organisations and enterprises from cyber-threats".

The Trump administration has also removed Kaspersky from lists of approved vendors that the USA government is permitted to purchase equipment and services from.

Kaspersky Lab, which is most well known for its antivirus software, has been under intense scrutiny for most of the past year following accusations from the U.S. government that it operates hand in glove with Russian spy agencies.

The online news site CyberScoop, citing anonymous sources, reported separately that Kaspersky as early as 2015 sought to promote its anti-virus software as a tool to track extremists in the Middle East. "However, Kaspersky Lab also recognises that trust is not a given; it must be repeatedly earned through an ongoing commitment to transparency and accountability".

The Moscow-based cybersecurity firm said there are also plans to create three "transparency centers" worldwide in the Asia, Europe, and the United States over the next three years.

Kaspersky also plans to open three "transparency centers" in Europe, Asia, and the USA, where companies and governments will be able to access the source code review results in a safe environment. The first center will be up and running in 2018 and the others are expected to be complete by 2020.

The company is planning to provide software regulation and review bodies with the source code of current and future products, working with "the broader information-security community and other stakeholders".

The increase of bug bounty awards up to $100,000 for the most severe vulnerabilities found under the company's Coordinated Vulnerability Disclosure program to further incentivise independent security researchers to supplement our vulnerability detection and mitigation efforts, by the end of 2017.

"We need to reestablish trust in relationships between companies, governments and citizens", said Eugene Kaspersky, Chairman, and CEO of Kaspersky Lab.

This initiative is part of its Global Transparency Initiative scheme - a move which comes following allegation of espionage by the USA government.

"We've nothing to hide", the executive added.



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