World

US intel chiefs wary of Kaspersky software due to its Russian roots

WASHINGTON: Top US intelligence chiefs on Thursday publicly expressed doubts about global cyber security firm Kaspersky Lab due to its roots in Russia.

Six leading intelligence officials told a Senate hearing on external threats to the US of their concerns over the company's broad presence.

Asked if he was aware of a security threat tied to Kaspersky software, Federal Bureau of Investigation acting director Andrew McCabe replied: "We are very concerned about it and we are focused on it very closely."

Defense Intelligence Agency director Lieutenant-General Vincent Stewart said his agency is avoiding the products.

Also indicating their concerns in brief were the heads of the Central Intelligence Agency, the National Security Agency (NSA), the National Geospatial Intelligence Agency and the Director of National Intelligence.

"I am personally aware and involved as director of the NSA in the Kaspersky Lab issue," NSA head Mike Rogers said.

The company, which denied having ties to any government, was founded in Moscow in 1997 by Eugene Kaspersky, a computer engineer who served in the Russian military. Its antivirus programs regularly rank in the top five of such software.

"The company has never helped, nor will help, any government in the world with its cyber espionage efforts," it said in a statement. "Kaspersky Lab believes it is completely unacceptable that the company is being unjustly accused without any hard evidence to back up these false allegations."

Mr Kaspersky on Reddit said his company had no links to the Russian government, offering to testify in the Senate.- AFP

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