Shortly after a procession of intelligence officials raised questions in Congress today about whether Kaspersky Lab products pose a risk to U.S. national security, the leader of the Moscow-based software vendor offered to testify before the U.S. Senate.
Under questioning from Sen. Marco Rubio, the heads of the NSA, CIA, FBI and DIA one-by-one told a hearing of the Senate Intelligence Committee that they would not be comfortable using Kaspersky Lab security tools.
The testimony came as founder and CEO Eugene Kaspersky took live questions this morning during a Reddit “Ask Me Anything” chat session, hoping to confront head-on the recent published reports alleging the cybersecurity firm is too cozy with the Russian government.
“We don’t share any user data with any government including Russia,” Kaspersky said in response to one question on the forum. “We don’t have ties to any government other than paying taxes (we pay taxes in many countries as we are a very international company).”
Those comments mirror those in a statement emailed to MSPmentor by earlier this week.
Kaspersky also said today that the company has not yet been materially hurt by the controversy.
“We didn’t see any real impact on our business, but all these stories, they don’t make me happy,” he told the audience on Reddit.
“(To) some extent they give us something close to free advertising,” Kaspersky added. “But what makes me feel really good is how our international team, including in the U.S. is working great with all this media pressure.”
Citing unnamed intelligence sources, Reddit and ABC.com reported this week that federal authorities were concerned about the growing use of Kaspersky Lab products in U.S. government agencies, given the firm’s alleged close and deepening ties to elements of the Russian military and intelligence apparatus.
Those reports of concern were confirmed today when National Security Agency Director Mike Rogers told the Senate committee that an intelligence review is currently underway into U.S. government use of Kaspersky products.
Rogers told the panel that he was “personally involved” in the Kaspersky issue.
In a statement issued after the Congressional hearing, Eugene Kaspersky said he respectfully disagrees with suggestions that his company’s products pose a threat.
“I think that due to political reasons, these gentlemen don’t have an option, and are deprived from the opportunity to use the best endpoint security on the market without any real reason or evidence of wrongdoing from our side,” he said. “I would be very happy to testify in front of the Senate, to participate in the hearings and to answer any questions they would decide to ask me.”
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