Eugene Kaspersky has announced that he's ready to clear his company's name by handing Kaspersky Lab's source code over to US security agencies.
“Anything I can do to prove that we don't behave maliciously, I will do it,” Kaspersky told the Associated Press (AP), at the company's Moscow headquarters, where Kaspersky said he wishes to quell rumours of his ‘long-standing ties' to the Russian government.
Kaspersky also announced that he is ready to move some of the company's research work to the US, which he started nearly 20 years ago, to dispel rumours that, he says, were started out of “professional jealousy.”
The move comes shortly after senior US intelligence officials, testifying before US Congress, recommended avoiding using Kaspersky Lab products. Congress has even considered a proposal to ban Kaspersky products from the Pentagon.
The recommendation isn't a lone incident either: on Wednesday last week NBC reported that at least “a dozen US employees of Kaspersky were visited at their homes by FBI agents,” and before that, a Kaspersky Lab employee was arrested by the FSB on charges of treason.
Kaspersky told AP that as a result, the company's relationship with the FBI is now “shot”.
The suspicion around Kaspersky Lab will certainly chill international relations with the FBI, he told AP: "It means that if some serious crime happens that needs Russian law enforcement to cooperate with FBI, unfortunately, it's not possible."
The rumours against Kaspersky are rife. In 2012, an article in WIRED magazine claimed “Kaspersky's rise is particularly notable—and to some, downright troubling—given his KGB-sponsored training, his tenure as a Soviet intelligence officer, his alliance with Vladimir Putin's regime, and his deep and ongoing relationship with Russia's Federal Security Service, or FSB. Of course, none of this history is ever mentioned in Cancun.”
SC Media UK recently asked Kaspersky himself his opinion of the article in a Reddit Ask Me Anything to which he responded, “This article is complete and utter BS.”
While there is much speculation that Kaspersky has kept his “soviet era contacts” as AP describes them, no evidence has ever been produced to back up such claims.
However, as AP says, “what was once gossip at tech conferences”, has now escalated into “public accusations from American politicians and intelligence officials amid rising concerns over Russian interference in the United States.”
Although the sharing of source code might not stop all rumours against Kaspersky Lab, the founder seemed to want to clear his company's name.He has no plans, he told AP, to go to the "dark side."