It seems that money talks. Loudly. Threatened with the possibility of having their products being banned from the Pentagon, the CEO of security software company Kaspersky has said he will hand his source code over to the US government to prove he’s not a Russian spy.
According to reports from an interview conducted by the Associated Press, company CEO Eugene Kaspersky says he will move some of the company’s research work to the US and that he is prepared to testify to lawmakers that his is not part of some Russian plot to spy.
This follows reports that Kaspersky staff in the US received a friendly visit from their local FBI agents – a move that Kaspersky says has destroyed his relationship with that agency.
Handing over the keys to the software kingdom – source code – is a big move. Given the US government’s inability to control its own software – the CIA’s loss of control over EternalBlue and the development of WannaCry and Petya/GoldenEye are the most recent examples of what happens when things don’t go to plan – the impact of them losing control of a security vendor’s software would be massive.
As well as hurting Kaspersky, imagine if a tainted version of their software was released. This could be devastating.
Clearly, Kaspersky sees that a black mark from the US government could have massive impact on his business. In the absence of evidence, it’s hard to say what the US government is specifically concerned about. Are they reacting to rumour and innuendo or a credible threat?
While the immediate impact for Kaspersky is on business it does with the US government. But if the government puts a back mark against Kaspersky then other businesses might abandon them. Initially, this might be in the US but it wouldn’t take long for that kind of distrust to spread globally.
The impact could be devastating.
But one thing is for sure – if this is what it will take to do business in the US and beyond we are in for some interesting times.