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Eugene Kaspersky: I Am Not A Russian Spy

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On the 19th of March, Bloomberg published a sensational, fear-inducing story: the founder of  Kaspersky Labs, Eugene Kaspersky, is a Russian spy, and this is why his company does not focus on attacks of Russian origin.

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While this is not true in any sense, which we’ll get to in a moment, the evidence that Bloomberg used went as follows:

… the company hasn’t pursued alleged Russian operations with the same vigor. In February, Kaspersky Lab researchers released a remarkably detailed report about the tactics of a hacker collective known as the Equation Group, which has targeted Russia, Iran, and Pakistan, and which cybersecurity analysts believe to be a cover for the U.S. National Security Agency. Kaspersky Lab hasn’t issued a similar report about Russia’s links to sophisticated spyware known as Sofacy, which has attacked NATO and foreign ministries in Eastern Europe.

Kaspersky Responds

The article also claims that the firm, which employs 60% Russian citizens, has been pushing out employees in favor of those with closer ties to the Russian military and intelligence establishment. To this, Kaspersky responded in a blog post:hacked-eugene-kaspersky-side

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  • We hire and fire employees; employees leave of their own accord;

  • 60% of our employees are Russians;

  • Our Chief Legal Officer served in the Border Control when he was 18 and at that time the service was a part of the KGB.

The important part of that is: “employees leave of their own accord.” While the Bloomberg article made the claim that people were being fired specifically to be replaced by those with closer ties to the Russian government, it did not provide any examples or testimony from such victims. Also held up as evidence was the fact that the company works with the FSB, the organization which has replaced the KGB in Russia. The simple fact of the matter is that, even if they do, this is not something which should surprise anyone. All legitimate companies comply with government demands. It’s one of the costs of doing business. Kaspersky has long assured customers that specific data about them is simply unavailable though usage statistics are possible to obtain.

Another thing that Bloomberg pointed out was that Kaspersky regularly goes to a sauna which is also frequented by members of the FSB, as well as the fact that Kaspersky was educated at a KGB-sponsored cryptography institute. The last part is written casually as if the young man would have had very many alternative choices in Soviet-era Russia. On the former part, Kaspersky maintains that it is coincidental that others go to the same spa as him. Should he change his habits simply because other people attend the same banya?

He ends his blog post with a poll, and at time of writing, as much as 20% of the readers had voted that he, himself, were talking nonsense.

17-kaspersky-poll

Actually, I’d like to thank Bloomberg and all the journalists behind this story! Much like our antivirus often does, they performed a full system scan –and found nothing. It’s like a halal or kosher stamp – check! External audit successfully passed.

Images from Shutterstock and Eugene Kaspersky Blog.

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7 Comments

7 Comments

  1. Barracuda1337

    March 25, 2015 at 9:20 am

    Interesting post, I’m not surprised here, like Melih Abdulhayoglu, CEO and founder of the Comodo companies, he was graduated from United kingdom and as Britain been the source of foreigners stooges spies like most of kings, presidents in Asia and around the world. Bear in mind that all Anti-virus developers are hackers and Geeks, The elites got all scientists and best hackers that you can ever imagine, I got too many infos in how even the Israelis have secrets agents operating in the United kingdom, United States, France, Germany and United States, they remains unknown to the general public, most of them are doctors, Professors at universities and many others major companies.

  2. Thomas Wolf Tompkins

    March 25, 2015 at 12:58 pm

    And yet his antivirus adds a keylogger and mouse logger into his programs.
    if you have Kaspersky installed you can find it under

    HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINESYSTEMCurrentControlSetControlClass{4D36E96B-E325-11CE-BFC1-08002BE10318}

    He adds a filter driver to that key as well as the mouse key found here

    HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINESYSTEMCurrentControlSetControlClass{4D36E96F-E325-11CE-BFC1-08002BE10318}

    I highly doubt that a keyboard and a mouse is a virus.

    • Barracuda1337

      March 25, 2015 at 9:22 pm

      I didn’t use Kaspersky Anti-Virus since 2011, looks very suspicious to me, as far I’m concern Comodo is the best one who replaced the retired Black Ice and is Free but again your privacy is always at risks, actually I’m very happy with Avast Free Edition 2015 it works fine if you’re Geek, Hackers are the only ones who doesn’t need Anti-virus,or they just the disable if they needs to.

    • J GT

      March 26, 2015 at 2:23 am

      WOW – That is full on, Kaspersky Key Log & Mouse Log – Fuck using that !

    • P. H. Madore

      March 26, 2015 at 6:53 am

      Very interesting. Not a Windows user myself, I’m on Xubuntu linux, so I wouldn’t have a need for an anti-virus at this time…

      • Thomas Wolf Tompkins

        March 26, 2015 at 12:47 pm

        I run windows 7 on my gaming box FreeBSD unix on my server. also built have a few apple pc/macs. I use the best antivirus in the world called the human brain.

      • Barracuda1337

        March 27, 2015 at 9:11 am

        I didn’t use Kaspersky Anti-Virus since 2011, looks very suspicious to
        me, as far I’m concern Comodo is the best one who replaced the retired
        Black Ice and is Free but again your privacy is always at risks,
        actually I’m very happy with Avast Free Edition 2015 it works fine if
        you’re Geek, Hackers are the only ones who doesn’t need Anti-virus, Sometimes I just disable it when I’m playing with virus.

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Breaches

Uber Is Paying Hackers to Keep Quiet

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Uber Technologies Inc. has reportedly paid hackers to delete scores of private data stolen from the company in a security breach that was concealed for over a year. The revelation provides further confirmation that, when it comes to cyber security, crime does pay.

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Massive Data Breach

According to Bloomberg Technology, hackers retrieved the personal data of 57 million Uber customers and drivers at some point last year. Nobody heard about it because the rideshare company paid the hackers $100,000 to keep quiet. A purge at the front office of Uber also ensured that the massive cyber breach was kept under wraps.

The compromised data was from October 2016 and included the names, phone numbers and addressed of 50 million Uber riders globally. About seven million drivers had their personal information accessed as well.

At the time of the cyber attack, Uber was inundated with a slew of legal issues stemming from alleged privacy violations. Rather than shine even more negative spotlight on the company, Uber executives decided to pay hackers to stay quiet.

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“None of this should have happened, and I will not make excuses for it,” Dara Khosrowshahi, who took over as CEO in September, said in a statement that was published by Bloomberg. “We are changing the way we do business.”

Hackers have done a masterful job infiltrating companies and governments in recent years. As a reminder, recent cyber attacks levied against Yahoo!, Target Corp and Equifax Inc. dwarf Uber’s 57 million compromised accounts.

Various reports indicate that cyber attacks are bleeding the global economy dry. One report, issued by the World Economic Forum, suggests that cyber crime cost the world economy $445 billion in 2016. If cyber crime were its own market cap, it would exceed Microsoft Inc., Facebook Inc. and ExxonMobil Corp

The Fall of Uber?

Uber revolutionized the ride-hailing business over the span of seven years by giving more power to the consumer. Several missteps later, the company finds itself in legal hot water, with its future appearing less certain than it did just one year ago.

The rideshare company faces at least five U.S. probes ranging from bribes to illicit software and right up to unethical pricing schemes. According to another Bloomberg report, Uber is under investigation for violating price transparency regulations, not to mention the alleged theft of documents for Google’s autonomous cars.

Some governments are sensing weakness in the ride-hailing service, and are moving toward banning the Uber app entirely. London is the most prominent example of a city that has taken definitive steps to outlaw the service over a “lack of corporate responsibility.”

Even with its legal troubles, Uber is a revolutionary technology that has influenced a bevy of other innovations aimed at improving the human experience.

Featured image courtesy of Shutterstock. 

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Cybersecurity

The Pirate Bay is Hijacking PCs to Stealth-Mine Cryptocurrency

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For the second time in as many months, The Pirate Bay has been caught mining cryptocurrency on your computer without consent. The torrent platform was actually test-driving cryptocurrency mining in your browser – no doubt a lucrative revenue stream.

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The Pirates Are At It Again

The Pirate Bay has been caught using software called Coinhive, a JavaScript library that essentially serves as a cryptocurrency miner. It basically connects to visitors’ computers to mine Monero, one of the world’s most profitable cryptocurrencies.

The news was later confirmed by Bleeping Computer, which reported that,”The Pirate Bay, the internet’s largest torrent portal, is back at running a cryptocurrency miner after it previously ran a short test in mid-September.”

Estimates indicate that the scheme has earned the pirates a total of $43,000 over a three-week period.

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Users had no way to opt their computers out of being test-driven by the torrent network. Back in September, The Pirate Bay got away by telling people it was just a test. The site’s owners cannot use the same excuse this time around.

CoinHive advises websites to let their visitors  know their browser is being used to mine cryptocurrency.

“We’re a bit saddened to see that some of our customers integrate CoinHive into their pages without disclosing to their users what’s going on, let alone asking for their permission,” the company said.

The good news is most ad-blockers and antivirus programs will block CoinHive, given its recent abuses. That means not all visitors of The Pirate Pay were being used as a conduit for mining Monero.

Monero Joins Global Crypto Rally

The value of Monero (XMR) shot up nearly 8% on Friday, and was last seen trading at $94.17. With more than 15.2 million XMR tokens in circulation, the total market cap for Monero is $1.4 billion, according to CoinMarketCap. That’s enough for ninth on the global cryptocurrency list.

Twelve cryptos have now crossed the $1 billion valuation mark. A handful of others have made their way north of $500 million.

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Breaches

Ethereum Notches Two-Month High as Bitcoin Offspring Triggers Volatility

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Digital currency Ethereum climbed to a two-month high on Monday, taking some of the heat off Bitcoin and Bitcoin Cash, which have slumped since the weekend.

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Ethereum Forges Higher Path

Concerns over Bitcoin created a favourable tailwind for Ethereum (ETH/USD), which is the world’s No. 2 digital currency by total assets. Ether’s price topped $340.00 on Monday and later settled at $323.54. That was the highest since June 20.

At its peak, ether was up 10% on the day and 70% for the month of August.

The ETH/USD was last down 2.2% at $315.02, according to Bitfinex. Prices are due for a brisk recovery, based on the daily momentum indicators.

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Fractured Bitcoin Community

Bitcoin and its offshoot, Bitcoin Cash, retreated on Monday following a volatile weekend. The BTC/USD slumped at the start of the week and was down more than 3% on Tuesday, with prices falling below $3,900.00. Just last week, Bitcoin was trading at new records near $4,500.00.

Bitcoin Cash, which emerged after the Aug. 1 hard fork, climbed to new records on Saturday, but has been in free-fall ever since. The BTH was down another 20% on Tuesday to $594.49, according to CoinMarketCap. Its total market value has dropped by several billion over the past two days.

Analysts say that a “fractured” Bitcoin community has made Ethereum a more attractive bet this week. The ether token has shown remarkable poise over the past seven days, despite trading well shy of a new record.

Other drivers behind Ethereum’s advance are steady demand from South Korean investors and growing confidence in a smooth upgrade for the the ETH network. The upgrade, which has been dubbed “Metropolis,” is expected in the next several weeks. Its key benefits include tighter transaction privacy and greater efficiency.

Ethereum Prices Unaffected by ICO Heist

Fin-tech developer Enigma was on the receiving end of a cyber-heist on Monday after hackers took over the company’s website, mailing list and instant messaging platforms. The hack occurred three weeks before Enigma’s planned Initial Coin Offering (ICO) for September 11.

In addition to defacing the company’s website, the hackers pushed a special “pre-sale” ahead of the ICO. While many users realized it was a scam, 1,492 ether tokens – valued at $495,000 – were directed into the hackers’ cryptocurrency wallet by unsuspecting backers.

The irony in all this is that Engima is a cryptography company that prides itself on top-notch security protocols. The company issued a statement that its servers had not been compromised.

ETH/USD (Bitfinex)

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