Kaspersky rejects allegations that it faked malware information, to outdo rivals
One of the world’s biggest ant-virus software maker, Kaspersky has been hit by serious allegations.
According to a report by Reuters, the Russian security firm, has been faking malware in a bid to outdo its rivals.
The report mentions direct quotes, from two ex-employees of Kaspersky, who allege that the company has been fooling rival antivirus programs, for a decade. The security firm allegedly marked benign files as malware, which are nothing but false postives. By doing so, it would make its rivals to follow suit, and they would all mark the harmless files as dangerous, and remove the files.
What’s worse is that some of these attacks, were ordered by Eugene Kaspersky, the founder of the company. He was reportedly angered by rival anti-virus makers copying his work, according to one of the two former employees, who said. “Eugene considered this stealing.”
The ex-employees who wished to remain anonymous, were a part of a small group, familiar with the operation, and spilled more details about how this impacted users and rival antivirus firms. The false-positives ended up being quarantined by Antivirus products, and important files were deleted as a result.
The two former employees claim that they had to reverse-engineer rival products, to learn how they could be tricked into detecting harmless files as malicious.
Kaspersky was angered further by the fact, that other antivirus makers licensed each other’s engines and shared samples of malwares, and also began to use services like VirusTotal(which is now owned by Google). This was found to help antivirus makers to detect new threats quickly, by using each other’s data, instead of using their own detection methods. A few years ago, in a bid to prove that such “copycats” who were using its databases existed, Kaspersky created 10 files which were perfectly harmless, but flagged them as malware to Virustotal. This resulted in other security companies marking them as malware blindly.
Kaspersky has also been hit by claims that it injected malicious code into normal files in popular software, and then sending the “dangerous file” to VirusTotal, while maintaining its anonymity. Naturally, this file was also detected as malware by other security products. This move supposedly impacted Microsoft’s software too.
Kaspersky Lab has rejected the allegations, and has released an official statement.
“Our company has never conducted any secret campaign to trick competitors into generating false positives to damage their market standing. Such actions are unethical, dishonest and their legality is at least questionable.”
It is a bit shocking for me as a Kaspersky user, but unless we can find solid proof, I won’t be switching to another security product anytime soon.