In an article published yesterday, ABC News cited congressional sources who claimed the Senate Intelligence Committee had started an investigation into Kaspersky Lab's relationship with the Russian government.
According to ABC News, the Committee had sent a secret memorandum to Dan Coats, Director of National Intelligence, and Jeff Sessions, US Attorney General.
This memorandum raised red flags regarding Kaspersky's ever-growing market presence on the US market, including in US critical infrastructure, where it's security software is often found installed. The Senate Intelligence Committee called this situation an "important national security issue."
Government officials and members of the US intelligence community fear the company may have close ties to the Russian government, and their security products may be used to spy on US citizens or sabotage critical infrastructure.
The ABC News report also reveals that in February, the Department of Homeland Security issued a secret report on Kaspersky's relationship with the Russian government, which later sparked an FBI investigation into the matter.
Some of the accusations and fears are based on the fact that Eugene Kaspersky, founder and CEO of Kaspersky Lab, was trained by the KGB and worked as a Soviet intelligence officer in the Red Army, a period which he previously declined to talk about.
This is not the first time Kasperky Lab has bene accused of secret ties to the Russian government. Eugene Kaspersky has been answering these questions for the past two decades. More recently, in a New York Times article.
Following ABC News' report, Kaspersky Lab answered in a statement on its site, saying the report contains "false allegations."
Kaspersky also highlighted several other details that contradict ABC News' reporting.
⁍ Engaging in something like this would ruin the company's multi-million dollar business
⁍ Kaspersky Lab users have full control over telemetry sharing.
⁍ Their participation in telemetry sharing is voluntary, and they can disable telemetry reporting completely at any given time.
⁍ Business and government users may choose to install a local and private Kaspersky Security Network (KSN) center on their premises to make sure the data never leaves their facility.
⁍ During the last ten years, Kaspersky Lab has discovered and publicly reported on multiple Russian-speaking cyber espionage campaigns, which is more than any other U.S.-based company
⁍ Kaspersky Lab routinely attains licenses and certifications from the countries it operates in, including the US.
The ABC News report comes after numerous accusations that Russia has meddled in the US presidential election process, and even in the recently concluded French presidential elections. The report highlights an increasing divide between Russia and US officials, which US officials are putting on Russia's aggressive cyber policy.
Eugene Kaspersky is scheduled for a Reddit AMA on May 11, at 09:00 AM ET. This wasn't the type of publicity Kaspersky was anticipating, and the AMA will likely be focused on this topic. [Update: Here's the Reddit AMA link]
Earlier in the year, a high-ranking Kaspersky Lab security expert was arrested by Russian authorities on accusations of treason. The arrest had nothing to do with Kaspersky, as the security expert was arrested for his activity before joining the company.