The Kaspersky ConundrumThe cyber-frustrations of members of Congress and their witnesses are a frequent feature of Intelligence and Armed Services Committee hearings and other national security hearings on the Hill. They seldom, however, get more specific than broad statements and almost never involve the name of a specific problem or company. On Thursday, however, two senators mentioned one in particular: Kaspersky Labs.
The Russian company — which supports NPR and is a provider of security services for its IT systems — has been linked to work for Russia's intelligence agencies. The leaders of the House Oversight Committee released documents showing payments by Kaspersky to Flynn. Even so, millions of Americans use Kaspersky software, as Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., pointed out to the witnesses — but, he asked, would they run it on their systems?
Here's how they answered:
McCabe, of the FBI: "A resounding no from me."
Pompeo, of the CIA: "No."
Coats, the director of national intelligence: "No, senator."
Rogers, of the NSA: "No, sir."
Stewart, of the Pentagon's DIA: "No, senator."
Cardillo, of the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency: "No, sir."
Later, Sen. Joe Manchin, D-W.Va., asked the intelligence bosses about Kaspersky again. They repeated their own government systems were safe from any danger, but the DIA's Stewart said he couldn't be sure about all of his contractors. Intelligence and defense contractors have been the sources for huge leaks of secrets from the NSA, CIA and other agencies.
Update: one of the reasons I wonder about this is because of the mysterious level of activity from Russia (or, sometimes other odd countries) that can appear when you check "stats" on Blogger. The hits Blogger shows must include heaps of 'bot hits, or something, because if you have a separate company's hit counter embedded on the blog, you get a much more realistic number. For example, today Blogger stats says I got 2,800 hits yesterday, and by far mostly from Russia!:
My embedded statcounter shows a much more realistic 96 hits.
It makes me feel my blog is somehow being used, but I don't know how...