In December 2017 President Donald Trump signed legislation banning the use of Kaspersky Labs cybersecurity products. It applies to all U.S. government civilian and military agencies.

The justification was that the Moscow-based cybersecurity firm could be vulnerable to Kremlin influence.

Kaspersky Labs appealed and lost. GadgetGuys’ coverage is here.

Kaspersky Labs (Australian website here) invited media to a briefing in Sydney.

For the record, GadgetGuy has no fixed positive or negative perceptions on Kaspersky Labs. That includes its founder Eugene, its alleged KGB/FSB links or its products.

In fact, Eugene and Kaspersky Labs have been nothing but helpful and open since we started reporting on the company in the 90s. Perhaps that colours our view a little.

Back to the question – Why the bloody hell should you trust Kaspersky Labs?

You should not. You should not trust any company, especially one that has system level access to computing devices! Trust is earned. We will come to that later.

Kaspersky Labs says the issue is geopolitically motivated. Its US Government and Military software business was less than $50,000. A paltry sum.

The US actions are akin to the Russian government banning Symantec or McAfee on similar unsubstantiated grounds. Hey, throw enough mud, some sticks.

The company is not suggesting a vendetta (although there may well be)

It says a prime justification used is that founder Yevgeny Valentinovich Kaspersky born 1965

  • Went to The Technical Faculty of the KGB Higher School, that prepared intelligence officers for the Russian military and KGB.
  • Was a member of the Communist Party.
  • Did national military service.
  • Served the Soviet military intelligence service as a software engineer.
  • Met his first wife Natalya Kaspersky at Severskoye, a KGB vacation resort, in 1987.
  • Lives in Russia and is a Ruskie.

More cold war mongering – better dead than red stuff. But if you lived in the period 1945-1991 then the US fear of communists, socialists and Russia was pretty well ingrained.

OK, Eugene drank the KGB Kool-Aid. I know lots of Aussies that went to government-run schools; had government-funded higher education; did national service; worked in the public service; joined a political party or were union reps; and became political apparatchiks. In fact, much of Australia’s government resembles that.

Kaspersky presents a highly visible and convenient target. His only crime is that he was good at maths, born in Russia and been successful in building a top-five cybersecurity company.

Do we also point the bone at the thousands of cybersecurity engineers because they were part of the Israeli secret Unit 8200 or leaned security coding at one of the many US, European or even Australian cyber terrorism units?