Reports a few days ago said that Russian Federation used Kaspersky antivirus software to spy on various targets including U.S. government officials and 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.
The BSI, which uses Kaspersky products, was responding to an article in The New York Times on Tuesday that detailed how Israeli intelligence had gained access to Russian government hackers' computers in 2014 and determined they were using the antivirus software to spy on the USA government.
Current and former USA officials with knowledge of the matter told The Wall Street Journal that the Kaspersky antivirus was used to perform secret searches for specific terms including "top secret", in addition to its usual antivirus scanning operations. Israel immediately told the USA about the breach.
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It said the Russian operation also stole classified documents from a U.S. National Security Agency employee who had improperly stored them on his home computer, which had Kaspersky antivirus software installed on it.
Kaspersky Lab is a Russian multinational cybersecurity and anti-virus provider headquartered in Moscow, Russia and operated by a holding company in the United Kingdom.
It is not yet publicly known what other USA secrets the Russian hackers may have discovered by turning the Kaspersky software into a sort of Google search for sensitive information, the Times said. It said it was anxious that the Russian government had possibly compromised the firm. It was founded in 1997 by Eugene Kaspersky, who is now the CEO. "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.
As of 2016, the software has about 400 million users and has the largest market-share of cybersecurity software vendors in Europe.