Russian cybersecurity firm Kaspersky Lab says that it has expanded its relationship with global law enforcement agency Interpol, agreeing to share "threat intelligence data" in what it called an effort to help fight against global cybercrime.
The company announced the agreement on October 12, the same day that Kremlin dismissed recent media reports that said Israeli intelligence officials have determined that Russian government hackers have used Kaspersky's software for espionage.
In a statement on its website, Kaspersky Lab said it hopes the new agreement with Interpol will help it "support law enforcement in new ways by exchanging critical information on specific cybercrime situations in respective countries."
The New York Times reported on October 10 that Israeli intelligence agents hacked into the Kaspersky network and, upon detecting an intrusion by Russian hackers, alerted the United States.
The Times said the Israeli warning led to a U.S. government decision last month to remove Kaspersky software from all U.S. government computers, citing "ties between certain Kaspersky officials and Russian intelligence and other government agencies."
The Wall Street Journal, meanwhile, reported last week that the Russian government was able to modify Kaspersky software to turn it into an espionage tool.
It said anti-virus software such as that created by Kaspersky can become a tool for espionage because it scans all files in a computer and its network to detect and prevent virus infections.
Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said on October 12 that the reports in the Times, the Journal, and other media indicating that Kaspersky has been used as a conduit for Russian espionage are "absurd."
"The government has not had and does not have any connection to such activity," he said. "The accusations are ungrounded and unproven.”
Kaspersky and its founder, Yevgeny Kaspersky, have repeatedly denied having any connection to the Russian government and say they do not engage in espionage.
In a statement on its website on October 10, Kaspersky Lab referred to the media reports as "unsubstantiated claims" and said it could not investigate them because "there has not been any evidence presented."
“Kaspersky Lab was not involved in and does not possess any knowledge of the situation in question, and the company reiterates its willingness to work alongside U.S. authorities to address any concerns," it said.
In another recent statement, the company claimed it has been "caught in the middle of a geopolitical fight" between the United States and Russia.
With reporting by Reuters, AFP, Interfax, and TASS