Eugene Kaspersky reassures partners after US feud

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Eugene Kaspersky reassures partners after US feud
Eugene Kaserpsky

Kaspersky Lab CEO Eugene Kaspersky sought to reassure the company's channel in a letter to partners Thursday, in which he denied allegations of inappropriate ties to the Russian government.

In the letter, Kaspersky said the one constant in the "attacks" against the company is that "facts are continuously misinterpreted or manipulated to fit the agenda of certain individuals separately wanting there to be inappropriate ties between my company and the Russian government."

"I want to reassure you, our valued partner – there is no evidence because no such inappropriate ties exist. While Kaspersky Lab regularly works with governments and law enforcement agencies around the world to fight cybercrime, the company has never helped, nor will help, any government in the world with its cyberespionage efforts," Kaspersky said.

The letter comes after months of pushback against the security vendor over alleged ties to the Russian government, ties the security vendor has vehemently denied. Kaspersky Lab has global headquarters in Moscow and has North American headquarters in Woburn, Mass. 

This week, the US government removed Kaspersky Lab from the GSA Schedule, an approved list of technology vendors for government departments.

While it won’t prevent the government from buying Kaspersky Lab software entirely, it will likely vastly limit the company’s sales to the US government. A Bloomberg report this week also alleged that Kaspersky Lab had been working with the Russian intelligence agency FSB, citing internal emails it had obtained.

In the letter to partners, the CEO said the company has "been committed to trust and transparency" throughout its history. He said the company has offered to resolve the issues by meeting with government officials, testifying before Congress, and providing source code for audit.

"The company has a history in the IT security industry of always abiding by the highest ethical business practices and trustworthy development of technologies.

"These principles will never change, regardless of current geopolitical tensions or inaccurate media representations. We have never let – nor will we ever allow – false allegations stop us from fulfilling our primary mission of protecting people and businesses around the world from cyberthreats," Kaspersky said.  

Kaspersky said his team is available to answer any questions or concerns partners or customers may have. He also thanked partners for sticking with the company through the turmoil, saying the company recently has closed some of the biggest deals in the region.

"During these challenging times, I want to personally thank you, our valued partners. With your support, Kaspersky Lab continues to excel in North America," he said.

One US partner, Richard Delaney, CTO and principal solutions architect of New Jersey-based Delaney Computer Services, told CRN USA that Kaspersky Lab clearly has a "target on its back" as it is caught up in political rhetoric between the US government and Russia.

"The landscape of cybersecurity has become the next battleground," Delaney said. "It’s happening all day long. Our firewalls are hit by China and Russia… It's really become the new warfare. It's costing small business and companies like us untold thousands to keep up with protecting ourselves."

The challenge for partners, he said, is that customers need to be able to trust their technology vendors. The lack of clarity on who is telling the truth in this situation puts partners in a tough spot, he said, as they look to help clients choose trusted technologies.

"Dealing with a vendor is 100 percent about trust. If you have no trust, you have nothing… [Customers] basically have to trust us because they don't understand the technology themselves," Delaney said. "Someone has to separate the rhetoric from the fact." 


Below is the full text of the email, sent with the subject line, "A Message from Eugene Kaspersky" [links and emphasis in the original].

July 13, 2017

Hello Kaspersky Lab Partners,

Over the past few months, my company has faced ongoing accusations and false allegations made public by US government officials and select media sources. Throughout these attacks, there remains a constant – facts are continuously misinterpreted or manipulated to fit the agenda of certain individuals desperately wanting there to be inappropriate ties between my company and the Russian government.

I want to reassure you, our valued partner - there is no evidence because no such inappropriate ties exist. While Kaspersky Lab regularly works with governments and law enforcement agencies around the world to fight cybercrime, the company has never helped, nor will help, any government in the world with its cyberespionage efforts.

For 20 years, Kaspersky Lab has been committed to trust and transparency, as our partners know firsthand. The company has a history in the IT security industry of always abiding by the highest ethical business practices and trustworthy development of technologies. These principles will never change, regardless of current geopolitical tensions or inaccurate media representations. We have never let – nor will we ever allow – false allegations stop us from fulfilling our primary mission of protecting people and businesses around the world from cyberthreats.

I’ve repeatedly offered to meet with government officials, testify before the US Congress and provide the company’s source code for an official audit to help address any questions the US government has about the company. We are ready and available to assist all concerned government organizations with any investigations, and I believe a deeper examination of Kaspersky Lab will confirm that these allegations are unfounded.

Despite these challenging times, I want to personally thank you, our valued partners. With your support, Kaspersky Lab continues to excel in North America. In fact, during the past few months, we’ve closed some of the biggest deals we’ve ever had in the region!

Please know my team and I are available to answer any questions or concerns that you may have stemming from these false, unfounded accusations and misrepresentations.

Thank you for allowing Kaspersky Lab, the best cybersecurity software on the market, to protect what matters most to your customers.

Eugene Kaspersky, CEO of Kaspersky Lab

This article originally appeared at crn.com

Copyright © 2016 The Channel Company, LLC. All rights reserved.
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