But several other experts said they were “not shocked” by the disclosure of the language in Kaspersky’s FSB certificate.“It is common view around the intelligence community that [Kaspersky] is treated [by the Kremlin] like an arm of the Russian government,” said a former Obama administration cyber official, who asked for anonymity because of the sensitivity of the matter.Kaspersky has gained an unwanted spotlight lately amid the Justice Department’s investigation headed by outside Special Counsel Robert Mueller into whether the Kremlin colluded with President Donald Trump’s 2016 campaign.Its security software is also widely available in the United States in Target, Walmart and other retail outlets.Federal agencies use it as well, with Kaspersky serving as a subcontractor on a smattering of federal software contracts, So has, ironically, the Democratic National Committee, even after its emails were breached last summer by Russian hackers.Russian President Vladimir Putin attended the military exercises Monday and Russian government news site TASS reported that 95 foreign monitors from 50 countries were also present at the event. This year's "Zapad," which means "west" in Russian, involved more than 12,000 Russian troops and a slew of fighter jets, missiles, helicopters and tanks displaying their abilities within Russian territory near European Union borders.In response, NATO sent 4,000 troops to stand in Poland and the Baltic states near the Russian border, reported the Guardian.
However, Russia’s certification reviews do not require the company to divulge “the necessary information to permit those (spy) organizations to bypass products’ security mechanisms,” Kaspersky said.
Unlike the stamped approvals the FSB routinely issues to companies seeking to operate in Russia, Kaspersky’s include an unusual feature: a military intelligence unit number matching that of an FSB program.“That strikes me as much more persuasive public evidence,” said Paul Rosenzweig, a former deputy secretary for policy at the Department of Homeland Security.
“It makes it far more likely that much of the rumor and uncertainty about Kaspersky are true.”For years, suspicions that Kaspersky is connected to Russia’s spying apparatus have dogged the company, a leading global seller of anti-virus programs.
The exercises Russia is conducting is part of a week-long program dubbed Zapad 2017 and is taking place along the borders of NATO nations Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania and Poland, as well as Finland, a non-NATO country.
The last time Zapad was conducted was in 2014, shortly before Russia invaded Ukraine, causing NATO to have some concern over this year's exercises, although they are carried out regularly every four years.
The United States also sent 600 paratroopers to the Baltic for the duration of Zapad.