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So far this week, separate reports have indicated that Russia exploited software from Kaspersky Lab to traul US systems for classified data—in at least one case, successfully—and that North Korea hacked into classified South Korean military files. (It’s only Wednesday.) The common culprit? Antivirus software.
While antivirus software ostensibly seems like a benefit—it can stop malware from infecting your computer—many security researchers have expressed reservations about it for years. And though the recent Russian and North Korean incidents involve fairly specific circumstances, they serve as sobering reminders of just how much can go wrong when you grant deep system access to software that may not be as secure as it seems.
None - Antivirus
None of that means you should trash your personal antivirus just yet. But it's worth understanding what you’re dealing with.
A quick recap: After months of escalating hostility toward the Russian cybersecurity company and antivirus maker Kaspersky, including its complete banishment from US government agency computers, the New York Times reports that Russia has in fact used Kaspersky antivirus software to probe federal systems for US intelligence secrets.
North - Korea - Hauri - Company - Software
North Korea, meanwhile, reportedly infiltrated Hauri, a South Korean company that provides antivirus software to that country’s military. By sneaking malware into the legitimate antivirus offering, The Wall Street Journal reports, North Korean hackers were able to grab classified data that included joint US-South Korea planning in event of war.
'AV is pretty much the perfect bugging device on every computer it’s sold on.'
Kaspersky - Connection - Government - New - York
Kaspersky denies that it has any direct connection to the Russian government, and the New York Times report that outlines Russia’s intrusion stops short of stating that the company colluded with Russian intelligence. But the two incidents underscore a troubling truth either way: Antivirus software can pose major risks, whether you’re an intelligence service or an everyday computer user.
“AV is pretty much the...
(Excerpt) Read more at: WIRED
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