As the US government's campaign against Moscow-based Kaspersky Lab has intensified in recent months, the security software company revealed on Wednesday that its software obtained the source code for a suspected NSA hacking tool not from the government itself but from a user's personal PC in the US.
The company has already begun plans to win back public trust after being ousted from the PCs of government agencies in the US and taken off of retailer Best Buy's shelves.
Now Kaspersky Lab is providing more information on how it acquired the source code for a hacking tool made by the NSA to counter claims that it is in collusion with the Russian government.
In 2014, the company claims that the consumer version of its popular antivirus software flagged a zip file as malicious on a US computer and then one of its analysts discovered the source code for a hacking tool that would later be attributed to the Equation Group that has been linked to a number of viruses including Stuxnet and Flame.
The zip file was removed by the software and the analyst who discovered reported the discovery to Kaspersky Lab's CEO Eugene Kaspersky who then ordered for the source code to be destroyed.
At the time the company believed that the source code was leaked as a result of a data breach suffered by the NSA in 2014.
A spokesperson for Kaspersky Sarah Kitsos offered further details on the company's reasoning behind deleting the source code in question, saying:
“We deleted the archive because we don't need the source code to improve our protection technologies and because of concerns regarding the handling of classified materials.”
Kaspersky Lab does not often remove uninfected files from its users' computers but has done so on rare occasions.
The company is also denying the allegations that it provided the Russian government with the source code as it believes other third parties may have obtained the NSA hacking tool through a back door in the PC that was discovered later.
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