Eugene Kapersky, founder of Kapersky Lab, fired back Friday at Bloomberg over a report that alleged that he and his Russian cybersecurity firm “has close ties to Russian spies,” calling it a “sensation” and a “conspiracy theory.” Bloomberg cited six anonymous current and former Kapersky employees in its report, which said Kapersky Lab has systematically replaced top managers with individuals close to Russian intelligence and provided what should be confidential information on Kapersky Lab’s 400 million users to Russian intelligence to aid investigations.
“It’s been a long time since I read an article so inaccurate from the get-go – literally from the title and the article’s subheading ... Speculations, assumptions and unfair conclusions based on incorrect facts," Kapersky said in a blog post titled “A Practical Guide to Making Up a Sensation,” in which he refuted nearly every word of the Bloomberg report. "In their pursuit for a sensation, the journalists turned things upside down and ignored some blatantly obvious facts.”
One of the allegations against Kapersky in the Bloomberg piece was that he regularly attended banya, or the sauna, with Russian intelligence officers. Kapersky said he while he does regularly go to banya, he does not knowingly do so in the company of officers of the Federal Security Services, or the FSB, which is the successor to the Soviet KGB. He also refuted the Bloomberg claim that he and Kapersky Lab’s Chief Legal Officer Igor Chekunov are former KGB employees. At most, he said, Chekunov served out his compulsory military service as a border guard under the KGB when he was 18.
One anonymous source told Bloomberg that a crack team run by Checkunov to investigate serious cybercrimes could have remote access to any of Kapersky Lab’s users’ data.
“Theoretically, any security vendor can do that,” Kapersky wrote. “Following this logic you can imagine what nasty things Facebook, Google or Microsoft can theoretically do. Theoretically, authors of an article can stick to facts. The reality, however, is that I’ve no reason to risk my 700mln$ business.”
Kapersky hinted that the Bloomberg report was retribution for Kapersky Lab’s work uncovering the Equation Group, a highly sophisticated hacking and spying group that his company believes is connected to the National Security Agency and other U.S. government espionage agencies.