In a bid to prove that it's not in bed with the Russian government, antivirus company Kaspersky is willing to turn over its source code to the U.S. government.
Any Russian ties are apparently reason for concern nowadays for the U.S. government. Kaspersky, for its part, does have some former Russian intelligence officers among its staff, but swears it's not helping Russian spies.
U.S. Government Bans Kaspersky
Not too long ago, a proposal reached the U.S. Senate seeking to ban the Defense Department from using any Kaspersky software platforms. Long story short, the United States doesn't trust the Russian government. Amid suspicions that the Russians may have been involved in the 2016 U.S. presidential elections, along with other questionable ties between Russia and Donald Trump's campaign, Congress and other administration officials don't trust Russian firm Kaspersky to handle critical U.S. infrastructure.
The FBI has long been worried that Kaspersky is in bed with the Russian government, although the Russian-based antivirus company has previously served as a liaison between the FBI and Moscow to facilitate cooperation.
Kaspersky Offers To Share Source Code With U.S. Government
To ease concerns that the security company could act as a Trojan horse for the Russian government, Eugene Kaspersky, the CEO of Kaspersky Lab, offered to turn over Kaspersky's source code to the U.S. government.
"If the United States needs, we can disclose the source code," the Kaspersky CEO tells the Associated Press, noting that he would also be willing to testify before the U.S. Congress. "Anything I can do to prove that we don't behave maliciously I will do it."
"As a private company, Kaspersky Lab has no ties to any government, and the company has never helped, nor will help, any government in the world with its cyberespionage efforts," Kaspersky previously explained in a statement back in May.
However, offering to gain the U.S. government's trust by granting access to its source code could set a dangerous precedent. Governments worldwide have been increasingly requesting deeper access to the inner workings of various software, and giving in to such demands could eventually compromise integrity and security.
At the same time, it remains to be seen whether the source code will be enough for the U.S. government to trust Kaspersky Lab. The CEO admitted that some governments (unspecified) have previously asked Kaspersky to fire up cyberattacks, but the company never engaged in such actions. Moreover, even if some Kaspersky employees formerly worked for Russian intelligence, the CEO says that the company's network does not leave any room for abuse.
Nevertheless, in this case regarding the United States' concerns with Kaspersky, the current source code may not be too relevant as the concerns are not about what the company has done or is currently doing, but about what it could to in the future. To that extent, the source code would only prove that Kaspersky is not engaging in any dubious activities with the Russian government right now, but offers no guarantee that it will not do so in the future.
No evidence currently sustains theories that Kaspersky Lab is a threat, but it might take more than source code to convince the U.S. government that Kaspersky poses no threats of cyberespionage.