The European Commission has acknowledged in a public document issued this week that it possesses no evidence to support the notion that software from Russia-based Kaspersky Lab software is malicious. The admission comes about 10 months after the European Parliament passed a resolution calling for the European Union to ban dangerous software, naming Kaspersky products as specific example.
The statement came in the form of an official response to questions previously submitted by right-wing Belgian politician and European Parliament member Gerolf Annemans (pictured), who asked the Commission if it had any reasons to justify the labelling of Kaspersky products as malicious.
"The Commission is not in possession of any evidence regarding potential issues related to the use of Kaspersky Lab products," replied Bulgarian politician and European Commissioner for Digital Economy and Society Mariya Gabriel, on behalf of the EU.
Kaspersky has come under scrutiny in recent years over repeated allegations – denied by the founder Eugene Kaspersky – that Russian intelligence officials work inappropriately closely with the company and collude in the use its anti-virus products as tools to spy on users. In 2017, the US Congress passed legislation banning Federal use of Kaspersky products and services. The US Department of Homeland Security had issued a similar ban just months earlier. Despite challenges the bans were declared constitutional.
In the UK, the NCSC has also warned government agencies against using Kaspersky products.
In addition to issuing denials, Kaspersky has responded to concerns by launching a Global Transparency Initiative and announcing that it would move some of its core processes from Russia to Switzerland. It was also reported to have helped the NSA.
Still, Kaspersky continues to be the subject of much intrigue and controversy. Yesterday AP published a report describing an alleged, bungled spy operation in which an operative using the alias Lucas Lambert met with prominent Kaspersky critics to see if they were paid to denigrate the company. It remains unclear who the man was working for.
The original version of this article was first published on SC Media US.