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Israel Allegedly Breaches Kaspersky Lab to Reveal Russian Hackers

Israel Allegedly Breaches Kaspersky Lab to Reveal Russian Hackers

This latest development is an intriguing twist in the on-going saga, with bothThe New York Times andThe Washington Post reporting that Israeli hackers who had buried themselves in Kaspersky's own network actually tipped the US off to the Russian intrusion that was underway.

The WSJ went on to report that US intelligence agencies spent months studying and experimenting with Kaspersky software to see if they could trigger it into behaving as if it had discovered classified materials on a computer being monitored by US spies.

The U.S. government last month ordered Kaspersky software removed from government computers, saying it was concerned the Moscow-based cyber security firm was vulnerable to Kremlin influence.

Throughout the last year, a supporting role in the mounting drama over Russia's expansive cyberintelligence operations in the U.S. has been played by Kaspersky Lab, a Russian developer of antivirus software.

A report in the New York Times said the operation carried out by Russians, according to numerous people, stole classified documents from an employee of the NSA who improperly stored them on his computer at home, which had antivirus software made by Kaspersky installed. The paper quotes Blake Darché, a former N.S.A. operator and co-founder of Area 1 Security, as explaining, "Antivirus is the ultimate back door". But this incident shows that they are not our friends and that Vladimir Putin prefers an adversarial relationship with the US to one of constructive engagement.

In a headline that would be Cold War-esque were it not for the tech involved, it appears that the Israel knew that Russia was spying on the US because the Israelis were watching the whole thing.

There's no telling just how much the Russian government was able to learn, but the details of the attack are pretty concerning.

In its June 2015 report, Kaspersky noted that its attackers seemed primarily interested in the company's work on nation-state attacks, particularly Kaspersky's work on the "Equation Group"-its private industry term for the NSA-and the "Regin" campaign, another industry term for a hacking unit inside the United Kingdom's intelligence agency, the Government Communications Headquarters, or GCHQ". The committee is now planning multiple hearings, an aide told The Hill on Wednesday, and has not invited Kaspersky to testify on Oct. 25. Although the NSA has not disclosed or confirmed that the theft occurred, the WSJ reports that the theft "is considered by experts to be one of the most significant security breaches in recent years".

Kaspersky Lab has repeatedly denied any wrongdoing or inappropriate involvement with Russian intelligence officials. "Kaspersky Lab has never helped, nor will help, any government in the world with its cyberespionage efforts", the company said in a statement on Tuesday.

The statement leaves open the possibility that the company knew that its system was used, but simply chose not to interfere.