Kaspersky denies faking anti-virus info to thwart rivals

A Reuters article quoted anonymous sources saying Kaspersky tagged benign files as dangerous, possibly harming users

Responding to allegations from anonymous ex-employees, security firm Kaspersky Lab has denied planting misleading information in its public virus reports as a way to foil competitors.

"Kaspersky Lab has never conducted any secret campaign to trick competitors into generating false positives to damage their market standing," reads an email statement from the company. "Accusations by anonymous, disgruntled ex-employees that Kaspersky Lab, or its CEO, was involved in these incidents are meritless and simply false."

On Friday, the Reuters news service ran a report charging that the security company had been deliberately classifying routine system files as malware, possibly causing such files to be flagged or deleted on user machines by competing anti-virus software.

The story draws heavily from interviews with two ex-employees, quoted anonymously, who were reportedly familiar with the operation. They had charged that in at least some of the instances, Kaspersky Lab cofounder, Eugene Kaspersky, personally directed planting the file names in the company's virus reports.

Anti-virus companies, including Kaspersky competitors AVG Technologies and Microsoft, will routinely share information about new attacks they find, such as through the Google-owned service for aggregating virus reports, VirusTotal. This practice helps get word out more quickly about emerging threats.

Kaspersky felt that other companies were just copying his work, without offering any contributions of their own, the ex-employees charged.

In 2010, Kaspersky had publicly complained of copycat anti-virus companies. To illustrate his point, his company submitted to VirusTotal the names of 20 benign files, marking them as malicious.

Within a week and a half, the files were marked as malicious by at least 14 security firms, Reuters reported.

While the 2010 operation, which the Lab characterized as an experiment, was public knowledge, the company planted similar false positives unbeknownst by others in the security industry for more than 10 years, especially between the years of 2009 and 2013, the Reuters sources charged.

Kaspersky Lab has denied deliberately planting any other misleading virus information.

Joab Jackson covers enterprise software and general technology breaking news for The IDG News Service. Follow Joab on Twitter at @Joab_Jackson. Joab's e-mail address is Joab_Jackson@idg.com

Join the Good Gear Guide newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.

Tags kaspersky labssecurity

Our Back to Business guide highlights the best products for you to boost your productivity at home, on the road, at the office, or in the classroom.

Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Joab Jackson

IDG News Service
Show Comments

Essentials

Lexar® JumpDrive® S57 USB 3.0 flash drive

Learn more >

Microsoft L5V-00027 Sculpt Ergonomic Keyboard Desktop

Learn more >

Mobile

Lexar® JumpDrive® S45 USB 3.0 flash drive 

Learn more >

Exec

Audio-Technica ATH-ANC70 Noise Cancelling Headphones

Learn more >

Lexar® Professional 1800x microSDHC™/microSDXC™ UHS-II cards 

Learn more >

Lexar® JumpDrive® C20c USB Type-C flash drive 

Learn more >

HD Pan/Tilt Wi-Fi Camera with Night Vision NC450

Learn more >

Budget

Back To Business Guide

Click for more ›

Most Popular Reviews

Latest News Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Azadeh Williams

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

A smarter way to print for busy small business owners, combining speedy printing with scanning and copying, making it easier to produce high quality documents and images at a touch of a button.

Andrew Grant

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

I've had a multifunction printer in the office going on 10 years now. It was a neat bit of kit back in the day -- print, copy, scan, fax -- when printing over WiFi felt a bit like magic. It’s seen better days though and an upgrade’s well overdue. This HP OfficeJet Pro 8730 looks like it ticks all the same boxes: print, copy, scan, and fax. (Really? Does anyone fax anything any more? I guess it's good to know the facility’s there, just in case.) Printing over WiFi is more-or- less standard these days.

Ed Dawson

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

As a freelance writer who is always on the go, I like my technology to be both efficient and effective so I can do my job well. The HP OfficeJet Pro 8730 Inkjet Printer ticks all the boxes in terms of form factor, performance and user interface.

Michael Hargreaves

Windows 10 for Business / Dell XPS 13

I’d happily recommend this touchscreen laptop and Windows 10 as a great way to get serious work done at a desk or on the road.

Aysha Strobbe

Windows 10 / HP Spectre x360

Ultimately, I think the Windows 10 environment is excellent for me as it caters for so many different uses. The inclusion of the Xbox app is also great for when you need some downtime too!

Mark Escubio

Windows 10 / Lenovo Yoga 910

For me, the Xbox Play Anywhere is a great new feature as it allows you to play your current Xbox games with higher resolutions and better graphics without forking out extra cash for another copy. Although available titles are still scarce, but I’m sure it will grow in time.

Featured Content

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?