Russian Antivirus CEO: Here, Take My Source Code

Eugene Kaspersky willing to do what it takes to prove his firm has no dark ties to Kremlin
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Jul 2, 2017 8:32 AM CDT
Russian Antivirus CEO: Here, Take My Source Code
Eugene Kaspersky, Russian antivirus programs developer and chief executive of Russia's Kaspersky Lab, watches trough a window decorated with programming code's symbols at his company's headquarters in Moscow, Russia, Saturday, July 1, 2017.   (Pavel Golovkin)

The chief executive of Russia's Kaspersky Lab says he'll turn over his source code to US government officials to dispel lingering suspicions about his company's ties to the Kremlin. Eugene Kaspersky tells the AP that he's ready to move part of his research work to the US. "Anything I can do to prove that we don't behave maliciously I will do it," he said, adding that he was ready to testify before US lawmakers as well. Kaspersky, an engineer who attended a KGB-sponsored school and once worked for Russia's Ministry of Defense, has long been eyed suspiciously, particularly as his anti-virus products became popular in the US. Some speculate that Kaspersky, an engaging speaker and a fixture of the conference circuit, kept his Soviet-era intelligence connections. Others say it's unlikely that he could operate independently in Russia, where the economy is dominated by state-owned companies and spy agencies have expanded dramatically under Vladimir Putin.

Senior US intel officials have advised Congress to steer clear of Kaspersky's products and Congress is weighing a proposal to ban it from the Pentagon. On Wednesday, NBC news reported that at least a dozen US Kaspersky employees were visited by FBI agents. Kaspersky confirmed that, although he didn't know what the FBI's focus was. Kaspersky said some unnamed governments had tried to nudge him toward hacking—what he calls "the dark side"—and that he has ex-Russian intel workers on his staff, mainly "in our sales department for their relationship with the government sector." But his internal network was too segregated for a single rogue employee to abuse it, he said, and he insisted his company would never knowingly cooperate with any country's offensive cyber operations. "We stay on the bright side," he said, "And never, never go to the dark side." (More Eugene Kaspersky stories.)

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