Israeli intelligence officials spying on Russian government hackers found they were using Kaspersky Lab antivirus software that is also used by 400 million people globally, including US government agencies, according to media reports on Tuesday.
The software is made by Kaspersky Lab, a Moscow firm that is under scrutiny amid allegations of aiding Kremlin-backed espionage.
The New York Times said the Russian operation, according to multiple people briefed on the matter, is known to have stolen classified documents from a National Security Agency employee who had improperly stored them on his home computer, which had Kaspersky antivirus software installed on it. "We reconfirm our readiness to work together with the United States authorities to answer any questions about the company's products, as well as internal procedures", the company's spokesperson said.
"There are no plans to warn against the use of Kaspersky products since the BSI has no evidence for misconduct by the company or weaknesses in its software", BSI said in a statement on Wednesday. "All such accusations are groundless and unsubstantiated", Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov told journalists. Israel immediately told the U.S. about the breach.
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The Washington Post had also reported that the Israeli spies discovered hacking tools that could only originated from the U.S. National Security Agency in Kaspersky's network. This led to the decision last month for Kaspersky software removed from government computers by Washington. This access could allow cyber-attacks against the US government.
Kaspersky Lab has denied any vulnerability to government influence.
Eugene Kaspersky, a businessman and former Russian Defense Ministry official, founded Kaspersky Lab in 1997.
Moscow has been accused of staging cyberattacks against the USA and European Union countries in recent years.