Kaspersky Antivirus Made Fake Malware for More Than 10 Years – Ex-employees

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Two former employees of the security firm Kaspersky labs have told Reuters that the Russian company made fake malware for more than 10 years to gain advantage over its rivals. According to the report, Kaspersky took this step as it believed that other antivirus companies were stealing its technology.

Founded in the year 1997, Kaspersky Antivirus has become one of the most popular antivirus solutions available. The Russian security firm operates in more than 200 countries and is a respected name. But, according to a report by Reuters, Kaspersky Labs made fake malware for more than 10 years to gain an advantage over other antivirus software solutions. Thus, one of the largest security companies in the world tried to damage its rivals in the market by tricking them into classifying harmless files as malicious.

According the Reuters, two ex-employees told that Kaspersky took this step as it felt that its “smaller” rivals were stealing some technology. They said that the secret campaign targeted Avast, AVG, Microsoft and other rivals. The employees claim that some attacks were ordered by co-founder Eugene Kaspersky himself.

This fake malware fooled them into disabling and deleting important files of users’ PCs. This was done by distorting the important software files on PCs to make it look it like malware and then submitting it to Google’s VirusTotal malware aggregator. These databases are looked up by antivirus solutions to keep up their software up to date. Thus, Kaspersky tricked rivals into identifying important software files as a virus.

Denying such decade-long secret campaigns, the company told Reuters:

Our company has never conducted any secret campaign to trick competitors into generating false positives to damage their market standing. Such actions are unethical, dishonest and their legality is at least questionable.

According to the employees, researchers at Kaspersky Labs reverse engineered rival software to produce false positives. As these files looked similar to the originals, Kaspersky was able to trick rivals into identifying important software as malware. Kaspersky researchers produced false positives and uploaded the harmless files to VirusTotal to show how rivals blindly follow its lead. This was confirmed by the fact that within a week and a half, 14 security companies declared Kaspersky’s false positives as dangerous.

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