Conflict & Justice

Russian hackers used Kaspersky software to steal NSA documents

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An employee works at the headquarters of Kaspersky Labs, a company which specialises in the production of antivirus and internet security software, in Moscow. 

Credit:

Sergei Karpukhin/Reuters

Moscow-based antivirus and security software company Kaspersky Lab has long denied accusations that it has ties to the Kremlin. 

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This story is based on a radio interview. Listen to the full interview.

But there’s now evidence that hackers working for the Russian government used the software to steal highly classified US documents. 

“Intelligence officials in the United States have suspected, and even said publicly in some cases, that they think Kaspersky is being used by the Russian government for espionage,” says Wall Street Journal reporter Shane Harris, who co-reported the story. “This is the first confirmed case of that [the Russian government using software for espionage] that we know about.”

The document at the center of the hack “concerns the techniques and the methods that the National Security Agency uses to break into foreign computer systems and spy on American adversaries,” Harris says, making it one of the most significant breaches in recent years.

How did hackers use Kaspersky software to get to the documents? Listen to an interview with Harris above.