The Russians are coming! Turn off your saunas immediately.
October 2017, News
I, of all people, love a good cloak-and-dagger hacking story. But really, the Americans are taking this to the extreme. First, Hillary blamed the nasty Russians for losing her the election (which has been proved false), next, Facebook was also accused of running Russian ads to make sure ol’ Hillary lost, then Trump and some of his associates were accused of collusion (again proved false and three CCN ‘journalists’ resigned in shame after admitting as much).
As if that wasn’t enough embarrassment for one year, then Eugene Kaspersky, the boss of Kaspersky Lab, a well-known security company (based in Russia – guess where this is going) was accused of being a spy, or at least in cahoots with Russian spies whom he meets regularly at a sauna.
No really, Bloomberg reports: “Unless Kaspersky is travelling, he rarely misses a weekly banya (sauna) night with a group of about 5 to 10 that usually includes Russian intelligence officials.” (You can read all about it at https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2015-03-19/cybersecurity-kaspersky-has-close-ties-to-russian-spies.) This bit of news has led to a number of Internet headlines in the flavour of “Kaspersky shares your computer secrets in weekly sauna meetings with Russian secret service” – and you thought the French were frisky.
And now many American government departments are refusing to use Kaspersky. And you can be sure commercial enterprises will follow suit. This, after Kaspersky offered to let them inspect the software’s source code (http://fortune.com/2017/07/02/kaspersky-source-code-inspection/).
If you apply a teensy bit of logic to the scenario, wouldn’t the CEO of a company developing security software want to schmooz with politicians to get his software into government? Especially when the president (Putin) has openly encouraged Russians to use more software developed in the country? Maybe the sauna is a bit much, but who knows, maybe Jacob and Atul sauna together with Malusi and then jump into the fire pool to cool down afterwards.
I recently saw, on a highly regarded security website, a question being asked about the ONVIF Device Manager. The curious party noted that it was written and distributed by Russians, and he was wondering if this was part of their plot to take over the world (or something like that). This bit of software is available for free, only adding to the suspicion of socialist/communist tendencies of the developers.
But the Russians needn’t feel special, China is also in the firing line. Whenever a security vulnerability is uncovered in Hikvision’s or Dahua’s equipment it is labelled as a ‘backdoor’ – all part of the Chinese plot to take over the world (it’s true you know, I read it on Facebook).
Stay tuned for next month’s exciting episode: The Chinese are coming. Turn off your CCTV cameras. (Too late!)