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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 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 (

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!)

Andrew Seldon


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Further reading:

  • Ideco allows you to own your own identity
    October 2017, Ideco Biometrics, News
    Ideco launches advanced identity verification ecosystem that speeds verification via mobile phones.
  • Securexpo East Africa postponed
    October 2017, News
    Organisers behind Securexpo East Africa have confirmed that in light of the recent re-scheduling for the Kenyan Presidential elections, the exhibition will be postponed.
  • OT-Morpho becomes IDEMIA
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    The result of the merger of Oberthur Technologies (OT) and Safran Identity & Security (Morpho), the OT-Morpho Group has became IDEMIA.
  • HID Global to acquire Mercury Security
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    HID Global announced that it has signed an agreement to acquire Mercury Security, an OEM supplier of controllers for physical access control.
  • ELPA concludes first certifications
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    Following its launch in June this year, the first set of certification exams for Earthing and Lighting Protection Association (ELPA) accredited installers/designers were held in Johannesburg.
  • Packaged cyber-threat service
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  • ZKTeco’s sales kick off a success
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  • Invixium integrates with Paxton
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    Paxton has announced the integration of its networked access control system, Net2, with Invixium’s biometric software, IXM WEB.
  • Hikvision reaches new heights
    October 2017, Hikvision South Africa, News, CCTV, Surveillance & Remote Monitoring, Perimeter Security, Alarms & Intruder Detection
    Hikvision held an event to celebrate the launch of its perimeter defence solutions on 15 September on the 20th Floor of The Venue, Green Park.
  • New operations coordinator for Powell Tronics
    October 2017, Powell Tronics, News
    In line with Powell Tronics’ mission to enhance the customer experience, Matthew Bushell recently joined the team in the role of operations coordinator.
  • Arteco integrates with Hanwha Techwin
    October 2017, News, CCTV, Surveillance & Remote Monitoring
    Arteco announced that its Video Event Management and Video Intelligence Solutions are now compatible with the new Hanwha Techwin Wisenet 5 chipset.
  • New appointments at Anviz SA
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    Anviz SA has announced two new appointments to its South African team.

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