3 July 2015

NSA, British counterpart targeted cybersecurity firms

Michael Hardy
June 26, 2015 

The U.S. and United Kingdom have been trying to find ways around anti-virus and security software by surreptitiously studying the products and the companies that make them, according to various published reports.

Moscow-based security software maker Kaspersky Lab is one of the prime targets of the effort, according to a report at ZDNet.com.

Citing documents released by National Security Agency whistleblower Edward Snowden, the website reported that NSA and Britain's Government Communications Headquarters (GCHQ) studied Kaspersky's software to look for weaknesses.

GCHQ sought a warrant to allow it to reverse engineer Kaspersky's software to find a way to neutralize it, according to reports.

"Personal security products such as the Russian anti-virus software Kaspersky continue to pose a challenge to GCHQ's CNE [Computer Network Exploitation] capability and SRE is essential in order to be able to exploit such software and to prevent detection of our activities," the warrant renewal request said, as reported atFirstlook.org. "Examination of Kaspersky and other such products continues."

Kaspersky is not the only target of the spy agencies, according to the report. The NSA appears to be monitoring the email traffic of foreign anti-virus companies to learn about new flaws in anti-virus software. The Intercept blog at Firstlook posted an NSA document that lists at least 23 companies that the agencies were watching.

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