Eugene Kaspersky, the chairman and CEO of Kaspersky Lab slammed Bloomberg’s report alleging that his company has close ties to Russian spies. According to him, the article was mere sensationalism.
In a blog post, Mr. Kaspersky emphasized that there are many ways to create sensationalism in the media. According to him, one of the practical ways to create sensationalism is to speculate and create conspiracy theories.
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Mr. Kaspersky wrote, “To my great regret, there are occasions when journalists publish something sensationalist without taking account obvious and/or easily obtainable facts contrary to their sensationalist claims and produce stories that are at odds with professional ethics. And sometimes a bad tabloid journalism style finds its way into otherwise quality media publications,” wrote Mr. Kaspersky.
He pointed out that his company is transparent, and it has nothing to hide. “We’re in the security business and to be successful in it, you have to be open to scrutiny.”
Bloomberg’s report about Kaspersky
Bloomberg Business published an article indicating that Kaspersky Lab’s Chief studied at a KGB-sponsored cryptography Institute and worked for Russian military intelligence.
The report also mentioned that high-level managers at Kaspersky Lab left or terminated since the company abruptly changes its course in 2012 after expanding its business in the United States and Europe. The Russian security company decided to fill the vacated position with people with closer ties to Russia’s military or intelligence services.
“Some of these people actively aid criminal investigations by the FSB, the KGB’s successor, using data from some of the 400 million customers who rely on Kaspersky Lab’s software,” according to the Bloomberg article.
The article also noted, “This closeness starts at the top. Unless [CEO] Kaspersky is traveling, he rarely missed a weekly banya (sauna) night with a group of about five to 10 that usually includes Russian intelligence officials.”
In addition, the article pointed out that Kaspersky Lab published a series of reports that examined alleged electronic espionage by Israel, the United Kingdom, and the United States, but the company has not pursued alleged operations by Russia with the same vigor.
Kaspersky’s answer to Bloomberg’s allegations
Mr. Karspersky said he “never worked for the KGB.” He emphasized that he studied mathematics sponsored by the Ministry of Atomic Energy, the Ministry of Defense, the Soviet Space Agency and the KGB.
According to him, he worked as a software engineer for the Ministry of Defense for several years after his graduation.
Mr. Kaspersky said the journalists forgot to mention his company’s reports on Red October, CloudAtlas, Miniduke, CosmicDuke and others, which were attributed to Russia cyber spies.
“I must have said this a million times, but we do not care who’s behind the cyber-campaigns we expose. There is cyber-evil, and we fight it. If a customer comes and shows us a problem, we investigate it. And once we take the genie out of the bottle, there’s no way we can put it back,” said Mr. Kaspersky.
Mr. Kaspersky also dismissed the insinuation that his company filled the positions left by high-level managers as “nonsense.” He emphasized that there is no evidence of closer or not even close ties with Russian military or intelligence services.
Furthermore, Mr. Karspersky admitted that he sometimes goes to the sauna with his colleague. It is not impossible that there might be Russian intelligence officials, who are simultaneously visiting the same building, but he emphasized that he doesn’t know them.
Moreover, Mr. Kaspersky said it is true that 60% of his company’s employees are Russian, and its chief legal officer served in the Border Control when he was 18. At the time, the agency was part of the KGB.
Mr. Krspersky concluded, “It’s very hard for a company with Russian roots to become successful in the U.S., European, and other markets. Nobody trusts us – by default. Our only strategy is to be 1000% transparent and honest. It took years to explain who we are. Many people attempted to find ‘dirt’ on us – and failed because we’ve nothing to hide.”