A couple of my residential clients are concerned that they have heard rumors that Kaspersky, the maker of Kaspersky Anti-Virus and Internet Security, is “helping Iran” to defeat the Stuxnet and Flame viruses which are designed (allegedly, okay, almost definitely) by Israel and/or the United States to damage Iran’s nuclear arms program.
(We sell Kaspersky to our residential clients who have only one to three computers to manage. For businesses, we recommend Trend Micro Hosted Security because it includes a web-based dashboard that allows all the of the computers’ security to be centrally managed.)
Let’s put aside where you or I personally stand on the Iran situation. This post is addressed to my clients who are concerned about this particular rumor. I have no wish to engage in a political discussion on this blog.
It’s not true, as some are claiming, that Iran engaged Kaspersky to fight the Stuxnet virus in 2010. Rather, it was the the International Telecommunication Union, an agency of the United Nations, that asked Kaspersky to investigate reports of a virus affecting Iranian Oil Ministry computers. This was before anyone knew anything about the origin or purpose of the virus. The UN is, and we all should be, concerned about the spread of malware and viruses worldwide and this is the body that is responsible for investigating these threats.
As far as I can tell, the source of the big stir over this is one article which has been republished over and over on the net. The article, by Avi Perry, is called “Whose Side is Kaspersky On”?
In an article in Wired, Eugene Kaspersky is quoted as follows:
“The Flame malware looks to be another phase in this war, and it’s important to understand that such cyber weapons can easily be used against any country.”
Mr. Perry likens the virus to “a smart bomb” which can only damage Iranian military imstallations. Then he tells us that Kaspersky has revealed details about the virus which should not have been made public for security reasons. Without any details about the virus other than what Kaspersky has revealed, how do we know it’s too “smart” to boomerang against us or our allies?
Most security analysts would argue there is no such thing as a “smart virus”. And that, not protecting or working with Iran, seems to be Kaspersky’s concern.
I hope this post eases your mind about using Kaspersky products.