Kaspersky Struck References to 67 ‘Tech Partners’ Like Amazon and Microsoft From Website
The position of Kaspersky Lab, a lately beleaguered Moscow-based maker of antivirus software, has been slipping in the U.S. since allegations arose that Russian spies somehow used its technology to conduct espionage. (The company has denied any wrongdoing.)
In Sept., the U.S. Department of Homeland Security banned Kaspersky products’ installation on federal systems. The controversy also led big box retailer Best Buy to pull the software from its shelves.
Despite these setbacks, Kaspersky still enjoys a strong presence in the market thanks to a program that licenses its technology to other businesses. Consumers, in other words, may be using services that incorporate Kaspersky’s tech, such as its popular antivirus engine, without realizing.
While perusing a list of Kaspersky’s “technology partners,” Fortune noticed that references to 67 of them vanished from the English version of its website sometime after August 24th, when a cache of the original page was last archived. Some of the businesses originally listed included Amazon Web Services, Microsoft, Cisco’s Meraki, Symantec’s Blue Coat, Check Point Software Technologies, and Juniper Networks.
It’s unclear why the list was taken down—right around the time that Kaspersky began facing increased scrutiny and backlash for its alleged proximity to Russian intelligence services. The full list remains posted on the Russian version of Kaspersky’s website.
Sarah Kitsos, a spokesperson for Kaspersky, told Fortune in an email that she is looking into the matter. “There might be some technical issues associated with it,” she said.
Eugene Kaspersky, founder and namesake of the cybersecurity firm, told Reuters in a recent interview that his company’s software occasionally hoovers up non-malicious files from the computers on which it is installed. This behavior, said to be unusual for an antivirus program, raises more questions about the company’s practices.
Fortune has reached out to a handful of the companies listed on the Russian and cached English versions of Kaspersky’s technology partners page, including Amazon, Blue Coat, Microsoft, Check Point, Cisco and Juniper, in order to clarify the nature of their relationships. We will update a version of this story on Fortune.com when we hear back.
Enjoy the weekend.
Update 11/4/17: Check Point said it made versions of its security products that exclude Kaspersky’s tech available on Sept. 10, leaving the choice to customers.
Welcome to the Cyber Saturday edition of Data Sheet, Fortune’s daily tech newsletter. Fortune reporter Robert Hackett here. You may reach me via Twitter, Cryptocat, Jabber (see OTR fingerprint on my about.me), PGP encrypted email (see public key on my Keybase.io), Wickr, Signal, or however you (securely) prefer. Feedback welcome.
In Russia, spies get spied on by you! The Associated Press dug into a report from Secureworks, a Dell spin-out company, that details thousands of the Kremlin’s hacking targets—from Ukrainian politicians to members of the punk band Pussy Riot. Researchers were able to track the Moscow-based phishing campaign due to an improperly secured Bitly account, a link-shortening service used by the spooks to sneak past Google’s spam filters.
Tech in the hot seat. Legislators on Capitol Hill grilled Facebook, Google and Twitter executives about abuse of their platforms to spread disinformation this week. In the past couple of years, Facebook posts linked to the Internet Research Agency, often described as a Russian “troll farm,” reached 126 million people. Facebook said it would hire more workers to address the issue, causing the company’s stock price to take a slight dip after an otherwise spectacular earnings report.
Saving (Equi-)face. After an investigation by a board-assembled committee, Equifax has determined that executives who sold millions of dollars worth of the company’s stock days after its discovery of a massive data breach were not guilty of insider trading. Equifax CEO Richard Smith and ex-Yahoo CEO Marissa Mayer are scheduled to testify about the hacks before the U.S. Senate on Nov. 8.
SEC to ICOs: I see you. Celebrities like Paris Hilton and Floyd Mayweather who have touted “initial coin offerings” on social channels, like Instagram and Twitter, received a warning shot from the Securities and Exchange Commission this week. The SEC issued an investor advisory warning them that many digital tokens qualify as securities, and that failure to disclose compensation related to an ICO promotion could be in breach of the law.
Speaking of Hilton… Hilton Worldwide, the hotel chain, agreed to pay New York and Vermont $700,000 to settle inquiries into two data breaches that affected the company in recent years. The breaches, which Hilton failed to disclose in a timely manner, compromised more than 363,000 customer credit cards.
Was Halloween spooky enough for you? MIT researchers created a horror-writing robot.
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Bitcoin has faced turmoil in the past but nothing like this. In two weeks, a massive fight taking place among bitcoin insiders could produce a ruinous schism—undermining the integrity of digital currency and threatening its sky-high value. The fight is over a so-called fork in bitcoin’s software, known as SegWit2x, that will create two competing versions of the currency and lead to disagreement over the “real” bitcoin.
Amazon Just Bought 3 Cryptocurrency Web Addresses and No One Knows Why, by David Z. Morris
How Verizon Wants to Stop States From Protecting Online Privacy, by Aaron Pressman
This GIF Compares Compares Touch ID to Face ID, Side-by-Side, In Action, by Grace Donnelly
Google Fixes ‘Creepy’ Docs Problem But Spying Fears Persist, by Jeff John Roberts
Paul Manafort May Have Used ‘bond007’ As His Online Password, by Jonathan Vanian
ONE MORE THING
It’s Daylight Saving Time! And you know what that means: Most of us will have to set our clocks back an hour tomorrow. Interestingly, Arizona and Hawaii do not observe the horological ritual, joining more than 100 other countries in non-observance. Europeans, on the other hand, rolled back their clocks last week.