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Kaspersky Lab Says It Has Become Pawn in US-Russia Geopolitical Game (reuters.com) 172

Russian cyber security firm Kaspersky Lab, reacting to a U.S. government move restricting its activities, said on Wednesday it had fallen victim to U.S.-Russia global sparring while the Kremlin criticized the U.S. action as politically-motivated. From a report: The Trump administration on Tuesday removed the Moscow-based firm from two lists of approved vendors used by government agencies to purchase technology equipment, amid concerns its products could be used by the Kremlin to gain entry into U.S. networks. "By all appearances, Kaspersky Lab happened to be dragged into a geopolitical fight where each side is trying to use the company as a pawn in its game," RIA news agency quoted the company's press service as saying.
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Kaspersky Lab Says It Has Become Pawn in US-Russia Geopolitical Game

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  • by dehachel12 ( 4766411 ) on Wednesday July 12, 2017 @09:42AM (#54793457)
    bickering children. the lot.
    • by dehachel12 ( 4766411 ) on Wednesday July 12, 2017 @09:43AM (#54793469)
      children with nuclear weapons.
    • by elrous0 ( 869638 )

      The Cold War should have ended 25 years ago. But we just can't let it go.

      • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday July 12, 2017 @10:00AM (#54793599)

        Russia reverted to an illiberal criminal-syndicate state.

        Not something the West has had much luck working with.

        • Russia came out about in the middle (albeit maybe on the low-middle side) as far as former communist states went. Look at some of the ones that collapsed into civil war like Somalia and/or became theocracies run by religious hardliners like Afghanistan to see how much worse it could have been.
        • So, are you admitting that Communism is a failure?! I mean, even today Russia is a kleptocracy, just with less pomp and zeal behind it. Right-O! All the liberals among you, take note!

      • Never end a good war that drives your economy prematurely.

      • >> The Cold...should have ended...let it go.

        Just when I thought I had the "Frozen" soundtrack out of my head.
      • by bobbied ( 2522392 ) on Wednesday July 12, 2017 @10:24AM (#54793805)

        The Cold War should have ended 25 years ago. But we just can't let it go.

        Who is WE you are talking about?

        Since the fall of the Berlin wall and Glasnost in Russia, who has been the aggressor and why?

        The cold war WAS over until the Russians under Putin decided that they'd revive it for geopolitical reasons. Putin is doing all this in order to keep looking powerful and getting elected, but at this point it's all just show. Putin knows that a full frontal conflict with the USA would be a disaster for him, but he certainly is willing to take the risk of starting something he cannot finish in order to stay in power.

        And what's the US's motivation? Generally we just want to engage in profitable trade and keep oil prices low/stable...With a bit of "keeping the terrorists at bay" thrown in of course.

        • by Immerman ( 2627577 ) on Wednesday July 12, 2017 @11:02AM (#54794097)

          >And what's the US's motivation?

          Just off the top of my head...
          The military-industrial complex still wields a lot of political clout, and a good enemy helps keep the defense contracts flowing.

          We're also rapidly becoming an authoritarian surveillance state, and the "war on terror" is running out of steam as a distraction/justification for that. Having a more credible foreign threat helps keep that ball rolling as well.

          • Shesh... Really? You oppose one of the few purposes of the Federal government actually mentioned in the constitution?

            Defending the United States and its interests is a hugely expensive effort because it's a difficult task. But by all means, let's unilaterally disarm and ignore what has happened EVERY time we did this before (not!)... Yea, we won WWI and WWII but had we not disarmed just prior to their start the effort would not have cost us as much material and blood.. Korea is another great example of no

            • The US wastes a ton of money on things that do not improve our readiness at defense. It's a huge waste but too few dare criticize it lest they appear unpatriotic. You could cut the budget by 1/3 and still spend more per capita on defense than most countries.

              • The US wastes a ton of money on things that do not improve our readiness at defense. It's a huge waste but too few dare criticize it lest they appear unpatriotic. You could cut the budget by 1/3 and still spend more per capita on defense than most countries.

                Hmm... You sound like Donald Trump...

                Having worked for the department of defense both directly and as a contractor, I am well aware of how money gets seemingly wasted. Most large government activities are inefficient. Some of this is though fraud and abuse and THAT you can find and fix, but some of the waste is very intractable. I was a government contracting official, charged with contracting with suppliers to buy things, at one point. I can tell you that this cost issue seems to be overblown to me, gi

          • The "MIC needs a reason to exist" mythology is an old Cold War lie that the Soviets peddled to attack one of the West's key strengths: its defence industry. One of a myriad of lies the Kremlin and its fellow-travellers peddle constantly, in order to weaken and undermine us.

            We know why this crisis is happening. It's because Chekists define themselves as opposition to the West in general, and America in particular. They create the mythical straw-man as Russia as pure and noble and the West as decadent and evi

            • Right, we've had several retired presidents warn of the dangerous degree of influence of the MIC, but some guy on the internet says it's a Soviet propaganda, so I'm sure it's not a problem...

        • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

          by Dan East ( 318230 )

          Don't forget the destabilization of Ukraine and the annexation of Crimea.

        • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

          by unixisc ( 2429386 )

          Who is WE you are talking about?

          Since the fall of the Berlin wall and Glasnost in Russia, who has been the aggressor and why?

          Okay, before Putin came to power, which is what you described, the US was the aggressor. Like during Clinton's 'Wag the dog' operation in bombing Serbia, which never did anything remotely anti-American. By supporting Chechen rebels against Russia. By continuing to expand NATO, despite the fact that NATO's rationale for existing - countering the Warsaw Pact & the Soviet Union - were gone!

          GP was right. On 9/11, Islam showed us that it had succeeded Communism as the ideological enemy of not just the

          • Serbians were committing genocide. They deserved to bombed.

            • No, they were fighting Albanian Muslim separatists in Kosovo, who incidentally created problems not only for Serbia, but also for Macedonia, which was not a Serbian power oppressing Muslims
        • Putin came to power by engineering a war with Chechnya, Yeltsin seemed to basically step aside for him (maybe in return for promising to drop investigations). Everytime Putin does another invasion he gets a big surge in popularity. Right now the only difference between Putin in Russia today and the premieres in the Soviet era is that the Soviets at least had an ideology that they followed and you could quickly drop from favor if you appeared to not be ideologically correct.

  • by elrous0 ( 869638 ) on Wednesday July 12, 2017 @09:45AM (#54793495)

    Mongo have similar experience.

  • Kremlin criticized the U.S. action as politically-motivated

    Has there ever been a decision concerning the U.S.-Russian relations that was made based on facts and pragmatism rather than politics and ideology? On the other hand, after the recent events it's really hard to trust a company tha can not prove their independence from the Russian government.

    • by elrous0 ( 869638 ) on Wednesday July 12, 2017 @09:53AM (#54793547)

      Is there any American company that can prove their independence from the U.S. government?

      • by mhollis ( 727905 ) on Wednesday July 12, 2017 @10:39AM (#54793929) Journal

        I think you are asking the wrong question. Of course there does not exist a company that is completely free from the laws, regulations and requirements of the country in which it works (and that includes all countries in which they work for the multinationals).

        What you are forgetting in your question is that, in the United States, CEOs are not murdered by the United States government if they oppose the chief executive, as has happened with Russians. You are forgetting that the United States is not an official kleptocracy (yet) where plutocratic friends of Vladimir Putin are free to steal from the country's resources at the expense of the taxpayers and that the government there is absolutely uninterested in transparency. You are forgetting that, in Russia, there are no checks and balances, the Judiciary is not independent of the central government, that the legislature (Duma) does not hold hearings to investigate the President or the Prime Minister and that the current President found a loophole in the country's constitution that allows him to hold onto power for much longer than his country's constitutional intent.

        From this standpoint, a company that is located in the United States is unfettered by the politics of the day, as long as the company produces a valuable product and is a good corporate citizen. When our federal government asked for a "back door" (as a forinstance) into the Apple iPhone, Apple fought it. and, although the issue was declared moot, the government had to come up with a hack that would work on its own.

        Were Apple's headquarters in Moscow or St. Petersburg, there would be no appeal to a court—they would have been forced to comply. And there might have been a sudden, unexplained death of the CEO were there any resistance.

        So, my answer to your question is, yes. Companies are independent from our government here in the United States. They do not exist at the pleasure and tolerance of our Chief Executive as they do in Russia

    • by Anonymous Coward

      Russian and the US could get along, they actually have a lot in common. Hope to see it happen someday. The world would be a safer place.

      • by elrous0 ( 869638 ) on Wednesday July 12, 2017 @10:22AM (#54793785)

        Just a few examples:

        1) Both are actively fighting radical Islamic terrorist threats
        2) Both are pretty conservative (in opposition to the ultra-liberal European norm)
        3) Both are very religious and very Christian (in opposition to the increasingly atheist/agnostic European norm)
        4) Both are very patriotic (in opposition to the cynical European norm)
        5) Both are taking a fairly hard-line approach to immigration (as opposed to other European countries who seem to just be throwing their doors open to any middle-aged African claiming to be a sixteen-year-old Syrian refugee)
        6) Both still have an active and functioning space program
        7) Both are very pro-military--in spirit, funding, and practice.

        • Even though I have a lot of sympathy for the Russians I honestly prefer the European norms. Better that than a bunch of religious nutters wielding way too much power.
          Besides, USA has happily supported islamists for a long time and still does and the Russian space program is neither active nor functioning. Hasn't been for a long time which is a fucking shame because it used to be awesome.
          But yes, Americans and Russians have indeed something in common - they are both very nationalistic and believe in might ma

        • Cooperation is a waste of time, when our "partners" are barbarians, who take any form of cooperation and kindness as weakness.

      • Chekist talking point. Boring and stupid.

        America, and Putin's Russia have NOTHING in common.

        The West and Russia are strategic competitors. Cooperation to these Tartar/Mongolian scum, is a sign of weakness. We should not cooperate with barbarians. We contain them.

    • "Politics and ideology" to you motherfucking moskal Putinists, means that we should abandon all principle, ignore all slights, insults and abuse from the Russian side, and treat the relationship as a series of transactions, where you lot may, or may not decide to stab us in the back when we're not looking.

      I hope the Western governments rightly tell you lot to go and fuck yourselves.

      As a Westerner, I am sick of Russian criminality and abuse. I am sick of my governments constantly turning the other cheek, whi

      • Geez, now take a deep breath and wipe the foam off your mouth. Where did I justify Putin's politics of agression or suggested that 'the west' should let Putin do whatever he wants? Putin is using similar arguments to invade the Ukraine as Bush Jr. did to invade Iraq. The pragmatic approach would have been to leave both countries alone.
  • by Maritz ( 1829006 ) on Wednesday July 12, 2017 @09:46AM (#54793511)

    Kaspersky should realise that their word that they aren't acting on behalf of the Russian government isn't worth shit. Putin is all fucking powerful in Russia and there is no rule of law there. So when they say they aren't at the behest of Russian intelligence, nobody fucking believes them.

    Grow some balls and take back your kleptocracy from Dear Leader Putin and then maybe someone will believe you when you say you aren't a vehicle for Russian government malware.

    • by amiga3D ( 567632 ) on Wednesday July 12, 2017 @09:54AM (#54793563)

      Putin is certainly corrupt but he's not all powerful even in Russia. There are other oligarchs besides him in that country. I'm sure that Kaspersky Labs does things for the Russian Intel agencies. Just like Microsoft does things for the NSA in this country.

      • Russian oligarchs that don't follow Putin's orders end up dead and in jail.

        That's the difference between Russia and the USA. We don't kill our cranky billionaires, or jail them on phony charges.

        The Trump crime family broke alot of laws in their treasonous collusion with Russia's attack on our country, but we still let him run for president and "win"

        Opposition figures in Russia are imprisoned and bankrupted by Vladimir Putin who has even less regard for the rule of law that his puppet Donald Trump. Once we k

        • by amiga3D ( 567632 )

          You know, I'm still waiting to see evidence of this collusion you speak of. So far, the best they've come up with in the last 8 months of singing that song is Don Jr. meeting a lawyer. That's it. Nothing else. I'm starting to think it might be time for them to come up with a new attack vector. Unless they bring some kind of indictment in the next 6 months or so, continuing this "Russia" story will destroy democrats in the midterms. Of course, if they can get an indictment, that puts the Republicans in a pic

        • The Trump crime family broke alot of laws in their treasonous collusion with Russia's attack on our country, but we still let him run for president and "win"

          Maybe you should actually start jailing crooks instead of making them presidents again and again.

    • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday July 12, 2017 @09:54AM (#54793565)

      Cisco should realize that their word that they aren't acting on behalf of the American government isn't worth shit. The NSA is all fucking powerful in America and there is no rule of law there. So when they say they aren't at the behest of American intelligence, nobody fucking believes them.

      Grow some balls and take back your democracy and rule of law and then maybe someone will believe you when you say you aren't a vehicle for American government surveillance.

    • Kaspersky should realise that their word that they aren't acting on behalf of the Russian government isn't worth shit.

      Ditto for Microsoft, Google, Facebook, Apple, and all the other American companies vis-a-vis the US government.

      Or German companies vis-a-vis the German government.

      Or British companies vis-a-vis the British government.

      Or French companies vis-a-vis the French government.

      Welcome to reality.

      • by chispito ( 1870390 ) on Wednesday July 12, 2017 @10:36AM (#54793909)

        Kaspersky should realise that their word that they aren't acting on behalf of the Russian government isn't worth shit.

        Ditto for Microsoft, Google, Facebook, Apple, and all the other American companies vis-a-vis the US government.

        Or German companies vis-a-vis the German government.

        Or British companies vis-a-vis the British government.

        Or French companies vis-a-vis the French government.

        Welcome to reality.

        The difference is that Russia is uniquely willing both to use malicious hacking as a first option and to apply unconventional pressure on its people. "What's that Eugene, you don't want to backdoor your software for us? Okay, well, we figured there was no harm in asking. By the way, doesn't your mother live near here? I wonder if we should stop by her place for a visit."

        So we know of all these tools the US has had at its disposal, but other than maybe Stuxnet and a few others, it's hard to pinpoint real world fallout from their use. You can't swing a dead cat in this world without hitting a server that "patriotic Russian hackers" have compromised.

        • The way this works in the US is:

          "What's that Mr. Jones, you don't want to backdoor your software for us? Okay, well, we figured there was no harm in asking. By the way, weren't there some allegations of sexual harassment at your company? Are you certain your taxes are above board? And you look a little monopolistic to me. Maybe we should cancel your government contracts, have you audited by the IRS, have the FTC start an investigation, tie you up in court for a few years, and give you massively bad press."

          • The way this works in the US is:...

            Yes, and one country's method results in jail time if you decide to become a conscientious objector while the other results in a slow painful death [theguardian.com] from radiation poison. By all means, fight your country's injustices, but don't try to morally equate them.

            It's idiotic to blame all hacking by Russians on the Russian government. Many of those people really just do it for personal profit.

            I'm not talking about how many "cyber" criminals reside in Russia, I'm talking about the very obvious state-sponsored groups [wired.com].

            • I feel dumb, I meant to say if you decide to peacefully protest your country, versus "conscientious objector" which means refuse compulsory military service.
            • Yes, and one country's method results in jail time if you decide to become a conscientious objector while the other results in a slow painful death [theguardian.com] from radiation poison. By all means, fight your country's injustices, but don't try to morally equate them.

              Stop putting up strawmen; I didn't "morally equate" anything. I simply made it clear that the US government has effective means of forcing companies to comply with the demands of its spy agencies. And if you think that the US (or France or

        • The difference is that Russia is uniquely willing both to use malicious hacking as a first option and to apply unconventional pressure on its people.

          Huh? That's a difference? Are you a time traveler that somehow skipped the past 2 years?

    • Grow some balls and take back your kleptocracy from Dear Leader Putin and then maybe someone will believe you when you say you aren't a vehicle for Russian government malware.

      Easy to say, difficult to do. For example, the US also has an oligarchy problem and while you are free than in Russia, you are quite incapable of causing actual change. If you are advocating for violence than I would point out that you should take your own advice knowing that you will most certainly end up dead.

    • So your advice is "grow some balls and burn bridges with one of your biggest customers with the hope that you will get taken off the banned vendor list by some other customer"?

      That has to be the dumbest advice I've seen on slashdot.

    • Kaspersky should realise that their word... isn't worth shit.

      It would seem they're offering more than just "their word". They agreed to turn over their source code [ciobulletin.com].

    • Terribly said, but true. Governments cannot afford to rely on software coming from the opposite camp. Kaspersky may be independent today, but we don't know about tomorrow. The US cannot take that risk.

      Just like Russia shouldn't take the risk to rely on any US-based company's software. That's not even hostile, EU also wants its independence in terms of software and hardware, Japan does the same, China does the same ... that's just obvious strategy.

  • "Kaspersky only pawn in game of life"

  • Yes, of course they are being used as a pawn. But that doesn't mean they aren't being used to spy on their customers, in fact it makes it all the more likly.

  • A pawn in geopolitical games? Welcome to the big time, the world of large successful corporations. You have arrived. ;-)
  • by AlanObject ( 3603453 ) on Wednesday July 12, 2017 @10:11AM (#54793683)

    If they outlaw Jetbrains then only outlaws will have Jetbrains.

    And I will be in trouble because Netbeans and Eclipse just doesn't cut it for me anymore.

    Could there be a Kremlin back-door or trojan in Kaspersky anti-virus? I don't think so but unfortunately it is too easy to imagine. And it might even be something Putin is not aware of.

    • by bongey ( 974911 )
      Jetbrains is banned in every classified working area I have been to.
      • That is amazing. I don't have a security clearance so I wouldn't have known that.

        It isn't clear to me what the concern is. Jetbrains tools are complex enough to hide something in but they are just honking big Java programs pretty easy to sandbox if you must.

        Is the Linux kernel also banned? I understand there is a lot of Russian code there, specifically the networking part.

  • but... (Score:4, Funny)

    by ooloorie ( 4394035 ) on Wednesday July 12, 2017 @10:18AM (#54793737)

    Will they get sacrificed or promoted to a queen?

  • LOL, yeah, that's one way to put it. acting as an intermediary between russian intelligence and the business world has been almost their entire business model for the past decade, so their passive voice is a bit disingenuous now.

    "i am shocked, shocked!, to find gambling in this establishment."

[Crash programs] fail because they are based on the theory that, with nine women pregnant, you can get a baby a month. -- Wernher von Braun

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