Russian cybersecurity firm Kaspersky Lab said on October 12 that it has expanded its relationship with global law enforcement agency Interpol, agreeing to share threat data to help the global fight against cybercrime.
The company disclosed the agreement as the Kremlin dismissed as "absurd" recent media reports that Israeli intelligence officials have determined that Russian government hackers have used Kaspersky's software for espionage.
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 decision by the U.S. government 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.
Kaspersky and its founder, Eugene Kaspersky, have repeatedly denied having any connection to the Russian government and say they do not engage in espionage.
In a recent statement, the company claimed it has been "caught in the middle of a geopolitical fight" between the United States and Russia.
Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said on October 12 that the allegations in the Times, the Journal, and other media about Kaspersky being used as a conduit for Russian spies are "absurd."
"The government has not had and does not have any connection to such activity," he said. "The accusations are ungrounded and unproven.”