Kaspersky Lab outlines plans to submit software for independent review

Kaspersky Lab tries to claw back trust with transparency initiative

Kaspersky's new 'global transparency initiative' aims to rebuild trust by submitting source code for review

US President Donald Trump's administration last month barred government agencies from using Kaspersky Lab anti-virus products, citing concerns that the company was vulnerable to Kremlin influence and that use of its software could jeopardise national security.

The Russian cybersecurity firm Kaspersky Lab wants to win back public trust that has been eroding amid fears that its popular software spies on US interests for the Kremlin.

Kaspersky's software, widely respected for its virus-catching effectiveness, is used on millions of computers around the world.

Beleaguered computer security firm Kaspersky Lab announced a new transparency initiative Monday morning, to reestablish some of the trust lost after recent allegations tied the firm to espionage.

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US officials reportedly turned on Kaspersky after a National Security Agency (NSA) employee took NSA spy tools home and put them on his computers, where Kaspersky's antivirus picked them up and reported their details back to the Russian company.

The formation of three Transparency Centers globally, with plans to establish the first one in 2018, to address any security issues together with customers, trusted partners and government stakeholders; the centers will serve as a facility for trusted partners to access reviews on the company's code, software updates, and threat detection rules, along with other activities.

Distancing itself from Russian Federation, the company will open specialist centres throughout Asia, Europe and United States.

The company is planning to provide software regulation and review bodies with the source code of current and future products, working with "the broader information-security community and other stakeholders". "Reduced cooperation among countries helps the bad guys in their operations, and public-private partnerships don't work like they should", he said in the statement. The internet was created to unite people and share knowledge. That's why we're launching this Global Transparency Initiative: we want to show how we're completely open and transparent. We've nothing to hide.

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The most prominent allegation claims that its software was used to steal NSA data by Russian hackers in 2015, though it was never proven that it intentionally stole data, nor established that it bore responsibility for any potential hacks. "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".

The move comes amid heightened tensions between Russian Federation and the USA over allegations of Moscow interfering in last year's U.S. presidential election. A senior official in Interpol decried the USA federal ban on Kaspersky tools as risky "balkanization", language that Kaspersky boss Eugene Kaspersky picked up on in his statement announcing the transparency initiative.

Kaspersky had denied the allegations.

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