The spy games are afoot these days, or at least the accusations of such games are flying. From stolen NSA cybertools that led to the WannaCry ransomware attack to Russian interference in the recent US presidential election, the media has its hands full with the allegations.
At a time like this, it’s actually kind of fun to watch the deflection taking place. Some have speculated that the Russian hacking stories are nothing more than a way of distracting the public from a horrific healthcare bill that a handful of Congressmen created in secret. Others are certain that this collusion with a foreign government is a sign that the US democratic process has truly been destroyed.
It only makes sense that anyone with a hand in the collusion would quickly point to a scapegoat, one with the technical capabilities and an email chain that looks pretty damning. What those people don’t know, though, is that their intended target – Eugene Kaspersky, of Moscow-based Kaspersky Lab – is quite open about the capabilities of his company’s cybersecurity tools, and is even willing to provide an inside peek.
At issue is a specific tool that allows governments to find out more about who is trying to hack them, and then use that information to find out what that person already knows. It thwarts as much of an attack as possible, and then gathers as much detailed information as it can dig up in order to turn that data over to law enforcement officials.
For its part, a statement from Kaspersky acknowledges the power of this tool, openly states that any government is eligible to purchase it (meaning no, it was not created for the Russians), and goes on to state that this tool might someday be offered in a corporate version for businesses.
Under the microscope
So why is Kaspersky under the microscope for alleged spying on behalf of the Russian government? Well, someone needs to take the blame, and it certainly won’t be anyone in the government. The CEO and founder has now offered up the software’s code for audit to anyone with legal authority – and presumably, the brains to know how to understand it – in order to put the allegations to rest. This level of transparency is unheard of in most software companies, where code is propriety and closely guarded. Kaspersky either has nothing to hide, or is just so good at hiding it that they know nothing will be found.