back to article Kaspersky Lab US staff grilled by Feds in nighttime swoop

Several employees of Russian security vendor Kaspersky Lab got an unpleasant surprise on Tuesday night when FBI agents popped round to their residences for a chat. Staff in the US were visited and agents reportedly told them that they weren't under criminal investigation, but that the Feds would just like some information …

  1. Voland's right hand Silver badge

    McCarthy Lives

    The Reds Are Under Our Beds.

    All hail the congressional committee on investigating the anti-American activities.

    1. bombastic bob Silver badge
      Megaphone

      Re: McCarthy Lives

      "All hail the congressional committee on investigating the anti-American activities."

      Yeah this fake-news "the russians did it" garbage (that started last year) needs to be stopped. It's a waste of time, waste of taxpayer dollars, and nothing more than "dirty politics as usual" and it looks like the FBI is *JUST* as corrupt as the lame-stream media, lefty politicians, and Comey in this regard.

      Talk about "doing the side step" and distracting everyone from whatever is REALLY going on. how about Mrs. Clinton's URANIUM DEAL with Russia a while back, and the 'Clinton Foundation' slush fund that collected her payback for it? let's investigate THAT instead, shall we? Then, the REAL corruption will be found, and Russia won't really be "at fault" since they were only acting in their own best interests in that regard...

      time to DRAIN THE SWAMP!

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: McCarthy Lives

        time to DRAIN THE SWAMP!

        It looks more like it's time to either drain your medicine cupboard or at least change the dosage. You know that whataboutery doesn't work, don't you? Of course the US administration will presently crack down on anything Russian - as long as they don't find a way to halt FBI investigations they will have to keep pretending. Trump will not even be able to say "Hi boss" when he meets Putin in a little while (but knowing him he will anyway, leading to complete troves of surrogates having to swap the media with the message that he's "just joking")..

        1. Ramazan
          Facepalm

          Re: Trump will not even be able to say "Hi boss" when he meets Putin

          it's time to either drain your medicine cupboard or at least change the dosage. What an idiot.

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: McCarthy Lives

        >time to DRAIN THE SWAMP!

        Well, Trumpie is doing that real well. Lets see:

        Appointing cronies/family into powerful positions (check)

        Refusing to divest himself of business ties as required by ethics (check)

        Appointing more billionaires/millionaires to his cabinet than ever before (check)

        Appointing known industry lobbyists to positions overseeing the industry they used to lobby for (check).

        So - when's he gonna start? After all, he controls (ha!) the White House and his minions control Congress so it should be a doddle eh?

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: McCarthy Lives

          Refusing to divest himself of business ties as required by ethics (check)

          Isn't that even "as required by law"?

          Also:

          Stripping funds from most needed resources of ordinary people such as healthcare to give himself & friends a massive payday: check.

          That said, if we would really started to list the things he's done as invited fox in the henhouse we'd be here all day. I just can't believe how easy people can be deluded into seeing hard evidence as the one thing they should avoid believing. Incredible.

      3. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: McCarthy Lives

        LOL! But the fact this is humor may be too well hidden for some of the readers here.

  2. DerekCurrie
    Mushroom

    I've seen "hit pieces written BY Kaspersky Lab and its eccentric founder"

    My favorite is Mr. Kaspersky's dishonest hit piece attempting to FUD Mac users into buying his company's anti-malware. I called him on it:

    http://mac-security.blogspot.com/2017/02/making-my-own-trouble-calling-out.html

    Lousy Symantec tried the same marketing deceit in 2005, the very reason I was inspired to study computer security. Thank you, lousy Symantec. Get lost, lousy Kaspersky.

    1. uncommon_sense
      Thumb Down

      A world of double negatives.

      I must agree with the first posters.

      I am divided between my dislike for The Hegemony and my dislike for Mr. Kaspersky..

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: A world of double negatives.

        For business reasons I had cause to meet Kaspersky. Not at a gathering or some presentation, he explicitly made a stopover in Paris on his way back to Moscow to meet up with me.

        Due to my work I'm a reasonable judge of character. I'm not perfect, but if I've been talking to you for more than 30 minutes I am quite confident that I will have your measure to a good degree, and I came away liking him - the man is quite straightforward. Unlike many other IT "leaders" I've met, this guy doesn't bother with deception, that's not in his character. He's basically a fairly straightforward bon vivant mathematician whose life went sideways and he's enjoying it, and he also has a fairly long history of saying "no" to authorities (including the ones in his own country) when they want his business to "overlook" spyware.

        In short, the guy is normal. He built a massive, international business but he's still a family man with a conscience and not much in the way of ego. Self confidence, sure, but ego, no.

  3. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Kapersky has done more to stop computer security threats...

    .. than the US government, it's spy agencies, law enforcement and Microsoft combined.

    1. Nolveys
      Windows

      Re: Kapersky has done more to stop computer security threats...

      Kapersky has done more to stop computer security threats...than the US government, it's spy agencies, law enforcement and Microsoft combined.

      My toilet's had a more positive influence on computer security than the US government, its spy agencies, law enforcement and Microsoft combined.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Kapersky has done more to stop computer security threats...

        My toilet's had a more positive influence on computer security than the US government, its spy agencies, law enforcement and Microsoft combined.

        It has probably seen less sh*t than the above list too.

    2. hplasm
      Big Brother

      Re: Kapersky has done more to stop computer security threats...

      The FBI want them to stop it- it's affecting the NSA's work.

      1. Tikimon
        Devil

        Re: Kapersky has done more to stop computer security threats...

        "The FBI want them to stop it- it's affecting the NSA's work."

        Bullseye. Kaspersky is exactly what the FBI et al do not want to have to deal with. An effective security company that is honest, can't be bought or threatened out of their ethical standards. One that freely exposes the tentacles of government malware and other attacks. So of course they must be stopped. The US gummint lacks the authority to directly shut them down, so they try to destroy their reputation instead.

        You know what? If the Feds and Friends are trying that hard to attack Kaspersky Labs, I can't think of a a more glowing recommendation.

  4. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Kaspersky isn't even on my radar here as commercial anti-malware aren't welcome. Yet Microsoft, a firm that has publicly prostituted until very recently to the US and foreign intelligence communities, is accusing another firm of foreign of the same? Don't even get me going on the rest. That list is extremely long with very few exceptions.

    I would love to attend a party with Kaspersky and John McAfee in attendance. Can't say that about any of the suits.

    1. Voland's right hand Silver badge

      Clarification needed

      a firm that has publicly prostituted

      You are mistaking prostituting (taking payment for carnal activities) and whoring (doing them for fun and pleasure). Those two are not equivalent. While the former may be a form of "for fun and profit" of the latter, it is usually done as a last resort - when there is no other source of daily bread.

      I will leave which one MSFT and nearly all large US corporations excluding Apple(*) specialize in.

      (*)disclaimer: I am not an apple fan and I do not own any apple devices or stock

  5. Androgynous Cow Herd

    Odd timing

    Usually visits to "just ask a few questions" happen in the early morning hours.

    1. dmesg

      Re: Odd timing

      But might be working hours back at K HQ. Hoping to catch someone in some sort of questionable (but non-carnal) act?

  6. Paul Hovnanian Silver badge

    Equal probability

    that the FBI is investigating Kaspersky Labs for espionage on behalf of Russian intelligence and that they are leaning on Kaspersky to ensure that their AV stuff doesn't rat out the NSA's spyware.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Equal probability

      You mean

      "that the FBI is investigating Kaspersky Labs for espionage on behalf of Russian intelligence as a method to that they are leaning on Kaspersky to ensure that their AV stuff doesn't rat out the NSA's spyware."

      Fixed it for ya

  7. Allan George Dyer
    Paris Hilton

    "But the security firm doesn't have many friends in the US government at the moment."

    Uh, is "the security firm" Kaspersky or the FBI?

    1. Stoneshop Silver badge
      Headmaster

      Kaspersky or the FBI?

      Yes.

  8. nhirsch

    We sell Kaspersky product as well as other anti-virus/security products and have been for 20 years. This is a bogus story, a distraction. We also know Eugene Kaspersky and I suggest the FBI and Senate invite him. You'll all have a good time because he's smart and fun.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      We also know Eugene Kaspersky and I suggest the FBI and Senate invite him. You'll all have a good time because he's smart and fun.

      I can concur.

      Just don't drink vodka at the same rate as Eugene - the only person I have ever known to be able to handle an equal amount of combustibles was a late friend of mine, and he died of a failing liver. That's one of the two most common causes of death for Legionnaires, the other one being a tad more abrupt.

  9. JaitcH
    Thumb Up

    The US Government is - apparently - dumb. Obama went around the world bad-mouthing Huawei Technologies and Australia (Wanna Be Americans) swallowed the bait.

    The British government set up a joint lab with Huawei.

    Of course we all know that Cisco, et al have back-doors and now the Trump idiots want to get everyone to use dubious American software.

    Who, in a right state of mind, would buy McAfee, given their founders apparent mental state? And MS is an American government stooge and Symantec is little better.

    I trust the Russians more than I do the NSA or GCHQ so we use Kaspersky (and others) but NO US PRODUCTS.

    1. allthecoolshortnamesweretaken

      "Who, in a right state of mind, would buy McAfee, given their founders apparent mental state?"

      1. "The company was founded in 1987 as McAfee Associates, named for its founder John McAfee, who resigned from the company in 1994." Source: Bernabeo, Paul (2008). Inventors and Inventions, Volume 4. Marshall Cavendish. p. 1033. ISBN 0761477675.

      2. "Paranoid bastard" is actually not a bad mindset for working in computer security.

      I haven't used McAfee software in maybe 15 years because IMO it's a POS.

      1. Paul Hovnanian Silver badge

        "I haven't used McAfee software in maybe 15 years because IMO it's a POS."

        And John McAfee agrees with you. He has a video out disavowing any association between himself and the current software. And an explanation of how to remove McAfee AV from a machine.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      So I guess you must run Kaspersky on Linux, since if you won't use US products you don't use Windows nor Mac. Only problem is that there's no point to running AV software on Linux - the only reason anyone does is 1) to meet a pointless checkbox requirement for e.g. PCI compliance or 2) to protect Windows PCs that may receive the files from those Linux hosts later (which supposedly doesn't apply to you)

      It seems like Microsoft is the best choice for Windows AV, since you don't have to add an extra company to trust and worry about possible Russian govt ties or a certifiable loony CEO. The reality is that no AV software detects new malware automatically, they almost always have to receive updates to do it - none of the big ones detected today's most recent ransomware without updates, for example.

      1. Stoneshop Silver badge
        Holmes

        It seems like Microsoft is the best choice for Windows AV, since you don't have to add an extra company to trust

        Given their track record on bugfree and robust code, putting all your eggs in Microsoft's basket seems overly optimistic to me.

        and worry about possible Russian govt ties

        I'll grant you that.

        or a certifiable loony CEO

        Um. Especially the chair-slinging one.

  10. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    For the FBI to turn up an demand entry ....

    ....then presumably there was a warrant saying exactly what they are accused of.

    Turning up outside of normal social hours without a warrant would be unreasonable as is asking employees to make statements about their employer's business outside of their juisdiction.

    If they truly only wanted a statement of the company procedures then writing to the company would be the way they would do it for anyone else.

    1. Anonymous Coward Silver badge
      Holmes

      Re: For the FBI to turn up an demand entry ....

      But if they turn up and request entry in order to have a discussion - no pretences, they don't need a warrant. They might be refused entry, but most innocent people don't mind having a quick chat with law enforcement. OK, the timing is a bit odd for that, but the point is that they don't need a warrant for everything.

  11. ChrisPv

    Imagine articles if Russian version of the FBI would harass Microsoft or Google employees in Moscow at 2AM.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Wait until tomorrow.

      It will come.

  12. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I think the government has figured out what a gaping hole AV is

    It is trusted with access to the inner workings of the OS, and its behavior is allowed to be updated constantly in an automated fashion without the OK of admins. Since no major Russian company is allowed to operate if it goes against Putin's orders, it is safe to assume Putin at least has the potential to exert influence on Kaspersky - i.e. maybe he never has, but if he "asks" they either comply or stop doing business.

    Certainly using their software on US election or other critical infrastructure is a bad idea, almost as bad of an idea as Iran trusting that hardware or software with a US origin hasn't been compromised by the CIA to damage their nuclear program upon presidential order.

    FWIW I don't think you should necessarily trust e.g. Symantec either. I think you should use Microsoft's AV products because you already must have blind faith in them if you use Windows, so using their AV doesn't change anything. AV is so dangerous if compromised you don't want those eggs in a second basket if you can help it.

    1. Destroy All Monsters Silver badge
      Big Brother

      Re: I think the government has figured out what a gaping hole AV is

      Absolutely.

      Putin is looking personally into every company's relation to the state.

      However, his permanent dwelling in a bacta tank plugged into the direct-to-brain infofeeds of his Evil Europe-Menacing-China-Looking-Shia-Supporting Empire are visibly taking a toll on him: he looks a bit tired on TV.

  13. John Smith 19 Gold badge
    Big Brother

    "told them that they weren't under criminal investigation, "

    Not yet.

    "We'll decide what the charges are based on the results of the interrogations."

    Handy hint.

    You call on a law abiding citizen at 3am with no search warrant and no reason to call at a time when you expect them to be asleep. They have a perfect right to ask why are you doing this?

    In the US Kaspersky needs to realize the correct response is find a law firm and lawyer up.

    1. Paul Hovnanian Silver badge

      Re: "told them that they weren't under criminal investigation, "

      But will they replace my dog?

  14. LauraB

    Kaspersky Lab Concerns

    So, what does this from Kaspersky's most recent terms of service mean? Subject to the laws of Russia they may be required to provide information to the RU govt.? To what extent? Of course this would apply under any jurisdiction, but does it suggest a naiveté among experts to deny that Kaspersky could be or are being used as a tool for the RU government?

    Kaspersky Security Network may be subject to the laws of several jurisdictions because its services may be used in different jurisdictions, including the United States of America. Kaspersky Lab shall disclose information without your permission when required by law, or in good-faith belief that such action is necessary to investigate or protect against harmful activities to Kaspersky Lab guests, visitors, associates, property or to others. As mentioned above, laws related to data and information processed by Kaspersky Security Network may vary by country.

    Kaspersky Security Network shall duly inform the users concerned when initially processing the above-mentioned information of any sharing of such information and shall allow these Internet users to opt in (in the EU Member States and other countries requiring opt-in procedures) or opt out (for all other countries) online from the commercial use of this data and/or the transmission of this data to third parties.

    Kaspersky Lab may be required by law enforcement or judicial authorities to provide some information to appropriate governmental authorities. If requested by law enforcement or judicial authorities, we shall provide this information upon receipt of the appropriate documentation. Kaspersky Lab may also provide information to law enforcement to protect its property and the health and safety of individuals as permitted by statute.

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