Tech Trends: Is the Kaspersky Anti-Virus safe?

Gail Eddy, Peak to Peak.  We’ve been getting a lot of questions recently about Kaspersky. Is it safe? Why has the US government banned it? Should I keep on using it?

 

In doing a little bit of research to answer these questions, I haven’t been able to find a definitive answer. Yes, the US government has taken the software off of their list of recommended software. And, yes, Best Buy has removed the product from their physical (and virtual) shelves. But is there any logic behind the removal other than general suspicion about Russia in general?

According to this article in Bloomberg: “While the U.S. government hasn’t disclosed any evidence of the ties, internal company emails obtained by Bloomberg Businessweek show that Kaspersky Lab has maintained a much closer working relationship with Russia’s main intelligence agency, the FSB, than it has publicly admitted. It has developed security technology at the spy agency’s behest and worked on joint projects the CEO knew would be embarrassing if made public.”

 

The NY Times reported that: “The F.B.I. has also been investigating whether Kaspersky software, including its well-regarded antivirus programs, contain back doors that could allow Russian intelligence access into computers on which it is running. The company denies the allegations. The officials, all of whom spoke on the condition of anonymity because the inquiries are classified, would not provide details of the information they have collected on Kaspersky.”

 

Kaspersky has responded by saying: “Regardless of how the facts are misconstrued to fit in with a hypothetical, false theory, Kaspersky Lab, and its executives, do not have inappropriate ties with any government. The company does regularly work with governments and law enforcement agencies around the world with the sole purpose of fighting cybercrime.”

 

This seems to be a reasonable response from an international company.

 

PC Magazine thinks this is all a bunch of hogwash and reached out to one of it’s experts, Graham Cluley, for his opinion.

 

“I’ve seen no evidence of Kaspersky having any inappropriate interaction with the Russian government,” said Cluley, “and no one seems to have presented any evidence of its software putting its US customers at risk. What I have seen are non-Russian security companies taking advantage of the current smear campaign against Kaspersky to promote their own solutions, which I find rather distasteful.”

 

If you’re interested, here are some additional articles on the subject:

 

 

BBC – 9/14/2017 – http://www.bbc.com/news/world-us-canada-41262049

 

Moscow Times – 7/12/2017 – https://themoscowtimes.com/articles/kaspersky-lab-denies-claims-of-cooperation-with-Russian-spy-agency-58368

 

Slate – 7/11/2017 – http://www.slate.com/blogs/future_tense/2017/07/11/how_worried_should_we_really_be_about_security_firm_kaspersky_lab_s_ties.html

 

The Hill – 7/2/2017 – http://thehill.com/policy/cybersecurity/340420-kaspersky-willing-to-turn-over-source-code-to-us-government

 

 

By the way, I did ask Chris for his opinion about Kaspersky. He said that it is a “perfectly good anti-virus, but we don’t recommend it. It isn’t designed in an efficient manner and tends to put a drag on the overall operational performance of the machine.”

 

The anti-virus we do recommend is ESET’s NOD32.

 

 

Chris Eddy of Geek For Hire, Inc. has been providing computer service to families and small businesses with Mac’s and PC’s for the past fifteen years. His company is highly rated by both the BBB (Better Business Bureau) and by Angie’s List. You can find more on our website, or give us a call 303-618-0154. Geek For Hire, Inc. provides onsite service (Tier 3) to the Denver / Boulder / Front Range area as well as remote service throughout North America.