The Kremlin and Russia's Kaspersky Lab, a software maker known for its anti-virus programs, have dismissed United States media reports that the company stole sensitive data from a National Security Agency (NSA) contractor using its tools on behalf of the Russian government, saying the allegations lack evidence.
Cybersecurity experts found Russian spies using a modified version of CCleaner to penetrate computer systems belonging to government officials, including employees at the National Security Agency, The New York Times 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.
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The US Department of Homeland Security ordered all US government agencies to stop using Kaspersky products last month.
The current and former government officials who described the episode spoke about it on condition of anonymity because of classification rules, the Times said.
The Washington Post reported on Tuesday that the US National Intelligence Council (NIC) had told North Atlantic Treaty Organisation allies that it believed Russia's intelligence service, the FSB, had "probable access" to Kaspersky data on company customers and the antivirus source code. It was founded in 1997 by Eugene Kaspersky, who is now the CEO.
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As of 2016, the software has about 400 million users and has the largest market-share of cybersecurity software vendors in Europe. Kaspersky dubbed the effort "Duqu 2.0" and drew a connection between methods used in the new intrusion and those employed by Stuxnet, a cyber weapon developed for use against Iran by the US and Israel. Eugene Kaspersky, the company's co-founder and chief executive, continues to deny accusations that the company practices espionage on behalf of the Russian government. "Kaspersky Lab has never helped, nor will help, any government in the world with its cyberespionage efforts", the company said in a statement.
But Germany disputed U.S. officials' claims that the Moscow-based company is either collaborating with the Vladimir Putin's intelligence machine, or is being hijacked by it.
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