Technology 4 min read

Real-Life Spy Game Featuring Russian, Israeli, and U.S. Spies Begins

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Geralt |

Three powerful countries are now in the midst of a real-life spy game that has shown the world how a popular application meant to protect people’s privacy has been exploited for use by intelligence.

For years, the entertainment industry has been teeming with espionage films that showed governments spying on each other and hitting the cyber war button in response to every threat.

Who would have thought that powerful governments would actually engage themselves in a real-life spy game in broad daylight, with the whole world as a witness?

Espionage should be a confidential thing. That’s what many of us used to believe. However, times have changed.

Three of the world’s top developed nations, Israel, Russia, and the United States, are now chasing after each other’s tail after a thorny hacking scandal led Israel to expose Russia’s spying activities on the U.S. government.

US-Russian spy scandal involves #Kaspersky @e_kaspersky denied the allegations!Click To Tweet

Today’s Real-Life Spy Game Involves Kaspersky Lab

Apparently, the real-life spy game story involves spies monitoring other spies. In a story published by the New York Times, Israeli intelligence officers caught an alleged group of Russian hackers in real-time as they scoured the world for code names involving American intelligence projects.

Now, like kids, they’re blaming each other for doing the same thing.

Spying has been around for many centuries. Long before James Bond even made it to the silver screen. However, this real-life story revolves around a popular antivirus that you and millions of people worldwide might have used: Kaspersky.

James Bond
Daniel Craig as James Bond | PopKey |

Last week, a report from the Wall Street Journal tagged Kaspersky for its alleged devil role in the Russian espionage mission.

The Russian-based Kaspersky Lab‘s antivirus software was seemingly used by the Russian hackers to infiltrate and steal classified National Security Agency (NSA) files from a contractor’s home computer back in 2015.

The Wall Street Journal didn’t provide any identification of its sources from the U.S. intelligence. Somehow, the news agency failed to substantiate its story about Kaspersky’s involvement with the hacking incident.

However, this new report from New York Times seems to support the initial reports of the WSJ. According to the NYT story, The Israeli government hacked Kaspersky’s own network and alerted the U.S. government about the Russian infiltration.

The story never made it to the headlines, but apparently, it led to the decision of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) to remove all Kaspersky software from government computers.

“The Russian operation, described by multiple people who have been briefed on the matter, is known to have stolen classified documents from a National Security Agency employee who had improperly stored them on his home computer, on which Kaspersky’s antivirus software was installed. What additional American secrets the Russian hackers may have gleaned from multiple agencies, by turning the Kaspersky software into a sort of Google search for sensitive information, is not yet publicly known,” NYT further reported.

It should be remembered that in mid-2015, Kaspersky published a report concerning a sophisticated cyberespionage backdoor it detected within its corporate network. However, the company never blamed Israel even though the company found some attack codes sharing the same fingerprints with the infamous Stuxnet worm, the malware said to be developed and used by Israel and the United States to sabotage Iran’s nuclear program in 2010.

In a statement released through Twitter on Tuesday by Kaspersky Lab founder, Eugene Kaspersky, he denied the company’s involvement with any international espionage.

“Kaspersky Lab has never helped, nor will help, any government in the world with its cyberespionage efforts.”

The company also said that it “respectfully requests any relevant, verifiable information that would enable the company to begin an investigation at the earliest opportunity.”

Since all governments involved with this real-life spy game story refuse to comment on the matter, Kaspersky’s role on the hacking incident is still not certain. Right now, it’s up to the American government to release all intelligence information it acquired from the Israeli government regarding Russia’s cyberespionage activities.

Do you think Kaspersky Lab has any direct involvement with what the Russian hackers did? Where do you think this will lead? Let us know your thoughts in the comment section below!

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Chelle is the Product Management Lead at INK. She's an experienced SEO professional as well as UX researcher and designer. She enjoys traveling and spending time anywhere near the sea with her family and friends.

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