US intelligence chiefs say reviewing use of Kaspersky software

The Intelligence Committee sent a secret memorandum last month to Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats and Attorney General Jeff Sessions expressing concerns about Kaspersky Lab.

US officialsfrom multiple intelligence agencies told a Congressional committee Thursday that they have genuine concerns that security software made by Russian company Kaspersky Lab could be used to spy on Americans or attack USA computer networks, according to Reuters, The Hill and ABC News.

Kaspersky was founded in Moscow in 1997 by Eugene Kaspersky, a computer engineer who served in the Russian military. Every one of the witnesses, including acting FBI Director Andrew McCabe and Adm. Mike Rogers, who runs the NSA and U.S. Cyber Command, agreed. ABC was citing unnamed sources.

"Just as a US-based cyber security company doesn't allow access or send any sensitive data from its products to the USA government, Kaspersky Lab products also do not allow any access or provide any private data to any country's government". And the FBI is investigating the nature of Kaspersky Lab's relationship to the Russian government, sources with knowledge of the probe told ABC News. The company also has reported on USA cyber-espionage including Stuxnet, the NSA's 2009 hacking campaign against Iranian nuclear facility.

"We are tracking Kaspersky and their software", said Defense Intelligence Agency Director Vincent Stewart.

Sen. Joe Manchin, D-West Virginia, described concerns related to Kaspersky Lab as "more than a challenge", saying, "We are very much concerned about this, very much concerned about the security of our country".

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Marco Rubio, Republican Senator from Florida, asked the chiefs of the NSA, Central Intelligence Agency, Federal Bureau of Investigation, DIA and two other intelligence agencies if they would be comfortable using Kaspersky products.

Multiple American media outlets have reported that Kaspersky has also turned down American intelligence attempts to turn him into an asset for the US, another move that stoked annoyance from Washington. USA officials are particularly anxious that foreign hackers could penetrate U.S. infrastructure via suspect software and malware.

Kaspersky Lab has publicly reported on alleged Russian cyber espionage campaigns including Red October, a 2013 campaign spying on diplomats in Eastern Europe.

Reuters said that ABC News and Buzzfeed News had already reported this week that United States officials were increasingly concerned that Russian spies might seek to use Kaspersky software to spy on Americans or sabotage key usa systems.

Kaspersky Lab products are widely used in the USA today, both in the private and public sector. And it reportedly rakes in hundreds of millions of dollars a year, not only through its anti-virus software but also through the analysis it conducts about emerging threats.

The allegations against Kaspersky come amid heightened United States concerns over Russian hacking after what intelligence chiefs say was a significant effort directed by Russian President Vladimir Putin to interfere with last year's election.

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