Israeli officials say Russia used Kaspersky software to spy on US, Germany refutes claim

While spying on Russian government hackers, Israeli intelligence officials reportedly caught them exploiting Moscow-based Kaspersky Lab's antivirus software in an effort to pin down code names of American intelligence programs, reports The New York Times.

Kaspersky Lab’s software requires access to everything stored on a computer to check it for viruses. Its software scans the files for a malicious code and removes it before sending back a report to Kaspersky. Russian intelligence supposedly used this tool in the software to view the contents of U.S. computers — taking whatever information it wanted. In this way, Russian hackers turned the Kaspersky software into a sort of Google search, The NYT reports.

The U.S. government and the Israeli Embassy declined to comment to The NYT, and the Russian Embassy did not respond to reporter's requests for comment.

Last week, The Wall Street Journal reported Russian intelligence was behind a 2015 hack on the National Security Agency and it used Kaspersky software as its vector. The hack may have exposed the NSA's cyberwarfare strategy.

Kaspersky Lab denied any knowledge of, or involvement in, the Russian hacking, which it referred to as "unverified claims."

"Kaspersky Lab has never helped, nor will help, any government in the world with its cyberespionage efforts," the company said in a statement Tuesday.

Following the report, Germany's Federal Office for Information Security said it had no evidence that Russian hackers used Kaspersky Lab software to spy on U.S. officials, according to Reuters.

Earlier this year, the Trump administration moved to ban products manufactured by Kaspersky Labs from use in both the executive branch and parts of Congress amid allegations the company had ties to the Russian government.

More articles on cybersecurity:

DHS appoints Barry West acting deputy CIO: 3 things to know

54% of Americans think their data is safe from hackers: 4 survey insights

Accenture left customer data exposed on misconfigured server


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