Kaspersky pledges independent code review to cast off spying suspicions

Enlarge / Kaspersky Lab CEO and Chairman Eugene Kaspersky speaks at a conference in Russia on July 10, 2017. (credit: Anton NovoderezhkinTASS via Getty Images)

After reports that data collected by the company’s anti-malware client was used to target an NSA contractor and various accusations of connections to Russian intelligence, today Kaspersky Lab announced the launch of what company executives call a “Global Transparency Initiative.” As part of the effort aimed at regaining the trust of corporate and government customers among others, a Kaspersky spokesperson said that the company would open product code and the company’s secure coding practices to independent review by the first quarter of 2018.

In a statement released by the company, founder Eugene Kaspersky said, “We want to show how we’re completely open and transparent. We’ve nothing to hide. And I believe that with these actions we’ll be able to overcome mistrust and support our commitment to protecting people in any country on our planet.”

As part of the initiative, Kaspersky Lab will open three “Transparency Centers” for code review—one in the US, one in Asia, and one in Europe. This is similar to the practices of Microsoft and other large major software companies that allow code reviews by major government customers in a controlled environment. Kaspersky isn’t the first vendor accused of providing espionage backdoors to follow this route—a similar practice was launched by Chinese networking hardware vendor Huawei in 2012 in the United Kingdom. At the time, Huawei offered to do the same for Australia and the US, but the offer was rejected and the company was banned from sensitive network work in the US by Congress.

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