Kasperksy emails ‘shed new light’ on false-flag blitz: Reuters

Internal memos from cyber-sec firm’s founder suggest rival should be ‘rubbed out’

Tags: Cyber crimeKaspersky LabRussia
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Kasperksy emails ‘shed new light’ on false-flag blitz: Reuters Kaspersky claims emails ‘may not be legitimate’.
By  Stephen McBride Published  August 30, 2015

Kaspersky Lab's co-founder, Eugene Kaspersky, stands accused of sending emails to his senior managers suggesting rival cyber-security vendor AVG Technologies should be "rubbed out", Reuters reported.

The news agency claims to have seen an email sent by Kaspersky in 2009, in which he urged action against AVG because the co-founder perceived it was poaching high-level Kaspersky Lab staff and copying its software. He suggested "rubbing them out in the outhouse", in the email, according to Reuters.

The distinct phrase is borrowed from Russian president Vladimir Putin. In 1999, as Boris Yeltsin's prime minister, Putin commented on the country's anti-terrorist agenda (according to the Daily Telegraph): "We will chase terrorists everywhere. If in an airport, then in the airport. So if we find them in the toilet, excuse me, we'll rub them out in the outhouse. And that's it, case closed."

Kaspersky was earlier this month accused of playing a key role in setting up a secret hit squad inside Kaspersky Lab to target rivals with false malware, which was designed to embarrass cyber-security firms by tricking them into identifying safe files as malicious. According two ex-employees, the false-flag campaign even led to cyber firms damaging customer machines by quarantining important system files.

Kaspersky's subsequent statement dismissed the employees as "disgruntled" and said their claims were "meritless and simply false".

In an email to news outlets, including ITP.net, the company said: "Kaspersky Lab has never conducted any secret campaign to trick competitors into generating false positives to damage their market standing. Such actions are unethical, dishonest and illegal. Accusations by anonymous, disgruntled ex-employees that Kaspersky Lab, or its CEO, was involved in these incidents are meritless and simply false."

But Reuters has hit back with a series of emails it claims to have seen.

"More and more I get the desire to smack them with their falses," Kaspersky wrote in Russian on July 23, 2009, according to the news agency. Kaspersky also accused AVG of poaching staff. "AVG is carrying out an HR attack on the company, mostly the managers."

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