Israeli Hackers Watched Russian Spies Breach Kaspersky Software

An Israeli security agency hacked into Russian antivirus firm Kaspersky Lab in 2015, providing the crucial evidence required to ban the company from providing services to the US government, according to a report.

While the Israeli spies were inside Kaspersky's systems, they observed Russian spies in turn using the company's tools to spy on American spies, the New York Times reports. That information, handed to the US, led to the decision in September to end the use of the company's software across the federal government by December.

The revelation answers some questions about the unfolding saga around Kaspersky Lab, a previously well-regarded information security firm founded in 1997 by Russian national Eugene Kaspersky. It seems to demonstrate why the US believes that Kaspersky Lab software was involved in the hacking of an NSA contractor in 2015, as well as narrows down the nature of Kaspersky Lab's supposed involvement in the Russian operation.

But it still leaves many further questions unanswered. Crucially for Kaspersky, the Israeli hack apparently failed to provide enough information to determine whether it was a willing, or even knowing, participant in the Russian espionage.

The Russian government exercises tight control over domestic and foreign high-tech industries operating within its borders. In June 2017, it began demanding the source code for certain software imported, ostensibly to search for "backdoors" inserted by foreign intelligence agencies. In practice, it's widely believed that the Russian security agency scans the source code for undisclosed vulnerabilities it can use to improve its own hacking prowess.

Kaspersky vehemently denies any involvement in Russian state-sponsored hacking. "Kaspersky Lab was not involved in and does not possess any knowledge of the situation in question," the company told the Guardian.

"Kaspersky Lab has never helped, nor will help, any government in the world with its cyberespionage efforts, and contrary to erroneous reports, Kaspersky...

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