Kaspersky Lab plays Swiss gambit in attempt to assuage Russian spying fears

Graham Cluley

Kaspersky Lab plays Swiss gambit in attempt to assuage Russian fears

Kaspersky Lab plays Swiss gambit in attempt to assuage Russian fears

Kaspersky Lab has announced that it is moving some of its core infrastructure from Russia to Switzerland.

The relocation is part of the company’s latest attempt to allay fears that the Kaspersky anti-virus company can be coerced by the Kremlin to spy on customers – fuelled by recommendations from the US, UK, and now Dutch governments that the software not be used.

The new facility in Zurich will act as a so-called “transparency centre”, allowing Kaspersky’s software and threat detection updates to be “compiled and signed in Switzerland under the supervision of a third-party organization before being distributed to customers.”

In addition, Kaspersky Security Network servers that store and process data in the cloud on behalf of Kaspersky customers in Europe, North America, and other countries, will be based in Zurich.

Building a data centre in Switzerland will cost Kaspersky millions of dollars, but it will be money well spent if it succeeds in dispelling concerns about the software.

That, of course, is a big “if”.

I can’t help but feel sorry for Kaspersky Lab. A reputation that took them over 20 years to build up is being damaged by rumours that aren’t supported by any publicly-shared evidence of wrong-doing.

I don’t know how or if Kaspersky Lab can successfully convince everyone that they can be trusted, but shifting their core infrastructure to Switzerland certainly won’t do them any harm at all.

For what it’s worth, I haven’t seen anything which makes me think that it’s any more dangerous to run Kaspersky’s security software than any other major anti-virus product.

Graham Cluley Graham Cluley is a veteran of the anti-virus industry having worked for a number of security companies since the early 1990s when he wrote the first ever version of Dr Solomon's Anti-Virus Toolkit for Windows. Now an independent security analyst, he regularly makes media appearances and is an international public speaker on the topic of computer security, hackers, and online privacy. Follow him on Twitter at @gcluley, or drop him an email.

3 Replies to “Kaspersky Lab plays Swiss gambit in attempt to assuage Russian spying fears”

  1. Shame on US especially DEM senator from New Hampshire for banning Kaspersky on rumors only. US didn't even have the guts to examine the source code. Russia needs sanctions no doubt but Kaspersky is not the problem. It's Putin and his oligarchs that need sanctions–strong ones!

  2. It's unfortunate, but, it's not realistic for other nations to use AV software from rival countries in the first place, especially if there are major tensions. AV are the most intimate of third party programs. I really don't see how this move satisfies anyone's concerns.
    But, who knows?

    This is just a sign of the times. Like the issue with Huawei, in the US. And nobody is suggesting the US government use AV products by Baidu, or any other Chinese AV software. If all the nation states could agree, and practice hands off, well, you know what I mean.

  3. No one has any concerns about other AV providers? I wonder if we can really trust any of them!

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