Kasper­sky in fo­cus as Us-rus­sia cy­ber-ten­sions rise

Millennium Post - - WORLD -

WASH­ING­TON: The se­cu­rity soft­ware firm Kasper­sky has be­come the fo­cal point in an es­ca­lat­ing con­flict in cy­berspace between the United States and Rus­sia.

The Rus­sian-based com­pany has been ac­cused of be­ing a ve­hi­cle for hack­ers to steal se­cu­rity se­crets from the US Na­tional Se­cu­rity Agency (NSA), and was banned by all Amer­i­can govern­ment agen­cies last month.

But it re­mains un­clear if Kasper­sky was part of a scheme or an un­will­ing ac­com­plice in an es­pi­onage ef­fort.

The soft­ware firm has ar­gued it has no ties to any govern­ment and said in a re­cent state­ment it is sim­ply “caught in the mid­dle of a geopo­lit­i­cal fight”.

But the lat­est ac­cu­sa­tions high­light what some see as a sim­mer­ing cy­ber­war between the two pow­ers.

“Cur­rently, we’re los­ing,” said James Lewis, a fel­low with the Wash­ing­ton-based Cen­ter for Strate­gic and In­ter­na­tional Stud­ies.

“It’s not the kind of con­flict we’re used to.”

The Kasper­sky al­le­ga­tions come in the wake of an ap­par­ent Rus­sian-led ef­fort to ma­nip­u­late so­cial me­dia and in­flu­ence the 2016 US pres­i­den­tial elec­tion.

Rus­sia has an ad­van­tage be­cause “they have fig­ured out how to use our civil lib­er­ties against us and there’s not much we can do about it,” Lewis said.

“We don’t have a group that does this kind of psy­cho­log­i­cal war­fare and we don’t have the le­gal author­ity to de­fend against it.”

Peter Singer, a New Amer­ica Foun­da­tion strate­gist and au­thor who has writ­ten on 21st cen­tury war­fare, agreed that Rus­sia is gain­ing ground in this cy­ber con­flict.

“If it’s a ‘cy­ber­war’, it is a akin to a Cold War-style backand-forth of ev­ery­thing from steal­ing se­crets to po­lit­i­cal in­flu­ence op­er­a­tions,” Singer said.

“Given that the Rus­sians have so far got away with no real con­se­quences for the big­gest, most im­pact­ful op­er­a­tion, the hacks and in­flu­ence cam­paign tar­get­ing the 2016 US elec­tion, I’d say they are do­ing pretty well.”

But Gabriel Weimann, a pro­fes­sor at Is­rael’s Univer­sity of Haifa and au­thor who has writ­ten on cybersecurity, said it may be pre­ma­ture to de­clare Rus­sia the win­ner.

“We don’t re­ally know the achieve­ments of NSA in mon­i­tor­ing the web, this kind of in­for­ma­tion is se­cret,” Weimann said.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from India

© PressReader. All rights reserved.