Kaspersky Labs’ Antivirus and Security Software May Be Spying on You

Antivirus and Security Software

A new computer threat – this time from a major antivirus software company.

For many years, second only to your operating system, it has been common place to install antivirus and security software.   There are a number of choices available with some good options for purchase and more recently available free of charge.   Could one of these choices actually compromise your computer without you knowing it?

CBS reports that Federal cyber-security coordinator Rob Joyce is warning of this exact issue.  He has issued a warning to the public about using software from Kaspersky Lab.   The Federal government has vowed not to use it’s products.

What does antivirus and security software do?

Since the onsite of connected computers in the mid 1990’s computer virus and cyber-attacks have been part of daily life for computer users.  Early on, before the common use of the Internet, it was still possible to get virus and malware.   The spread was slower because physical or dial up modem connections were required between computers.

Since this time a number of companies have created and produced antivirus and security software.  One of the first programs of this type was released by Symantec in 1989 and is more commonly known as Norton Antivirus.   Their software along with that of other companies this is designed to prevent the infection of computer viruses.  (Computer software written specifically to damage or cause a computer to operate in an unintended way).

What is Kaspersky Labs suspected of doing?

Kaspersky Labs is located in Moscow Russia with distribution in the United Kingdom.  CBS News has confirmed that FBI officials have meet with industry representatives to communicate the concern about ties between Kaspersky and Russian intelligence.

The biggest issue is that while their products do protect against viruses it also may be providing confidential computer information to the Kremlin.

The company is registered with the FSB, a Russian intelligence agency.  The company’s founder, Eugene Kaspersky, once served in Russia’s Ministry of Defense and is a graduate of a computer school tied to Russian intelligence.

While the company denies the accusations U.S. officials dismiss the denials and continue to warn about the software.

What do I do if I have Kaspersky?

If you are one of the 400 million users of Kasperksy Lab’s software and would like to make a change there are many good options.   Some options include products offered by Norton/Symantec.  This includes Norton Security Premium, available for $49.99 at Norton.com.   Also available are products from McAfee (owned by Intel) and Avast as well as many other companies for around the same price.

What is the difference between antivirus and security software?

The major difference between antivirus and internet security software is the capability.  While an antivirus program protects from viruses that may infect your computer, an internet security suite protects you from many other forms of malicious content with features like firewalls, phishing detection and the ability to detect key loggers and other types of attacks.

Is antivirus and security software only necessary for Microsoft Windows users?

This is a common question mainly because most of the malware and virus attacks we hear about effect Windows based computers.  Unfortunately, if you are running another operating system, such as a Mac, Android or Linux, you still can get virus and malware infections.  Most of the major security and antivirus software companies produce versions that work with all major operating systems.

William (Bill) Sikkens has been a technology expert for KXL on the Morning Show with Steve and Rebecca since 2014. With an expertise in I.T., cyber security and software design he has had more than 20 years’ experience with advanced technology. Sikkens conceptualizes and designs custom applications for many professional industries from health care to banking and has the ability to explain the details in a way all can understand.

Got a technology question or comment for Bill? Follow him on Twitter @sikkensw



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