How Worried Should We Really Be About Security Firm Kaspersky Lab’s Ties to Russia?

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Photo: Maksim Kabakou /
Media Outlet: Slate/Future Tense

Josephine Wolff wrote for the Slate Future Tense blog on the existence -- if any -- of Kaspersky Lab's ties to the Russian government:

Of course, it’s possible that Kaspersky is busy selling out all of its customers to the Russian government—but it’s hard to see how a certificate with Cyrillic script, or an effort to help Russian authorities combat DDoS attacks, or some employees who used to work for the Russian military justify that conclusion. If U.S. officials have some better intelligence about the ties between Kaspersky and the Russian government then they owe it to the millions of Kaspersky customers worldwide to make that information public. If, however, they’re just acting out of fear and hostility toward Russia in general, then they’re potentially making a big mistake—one that could easily weaken the security of U.S. computer systems rather than strengthening it, and have serious consequences for U.S.-based firms if other countries decide to follow suit.


Josephine Wolff was a Class of 2016 & 2017 Cybersecurity Initiative Fellow at New America, where she will write a book about cybersecurity incidents from the last decade, tracing their economic and legal aftermath and their impact on the current state of technical, social, and political lines of defense.