INTERPOL, the international police organization based in Lyon, France, has joined with Kaspersky Lab, the Russian anti-virus software and consulting giant, to fight cybercrime and cyberthreats. For all except the totally ignorant and naïve, the INTERPOL move would seem to be a case of inviting the vampire to guard the blood bank.
INTERPOL announced that Kaspersky Lab “will provide cyber intelligence with a view to Interpol's sharing it among its 190 member countries seeking to protect cyberspace and investigate cybercriminals”.
The Moscow-based Kaspersky Lab is the creation of Yevgeny “Eugene” Kaspersky, the KGB-trained cryptologist who is now one of Russia’s most famous business oligarchs. Kaspersky anti-virus software is now one of the most widely used computer security products.
“Transnational crime cannot be fought in isolation, and drawing on private sector expertise and support against cybercrime is essential. Fighting cybercrime requires that law enforcement at both the national and international levels works with the private sector, particularly its forward-thinking technological leaders such as Kaspersky Lab, in order to keep pace with today’s cybercriminals,” Ronald Noble, INTERPOL Secretary General, told journalists. Noble is a former Undersecretary for Enforcement of the United States Department of the Treasury under President Bill Clinton.
“The strong support for the INTERPOL Global Complex for Innovation expressed by Evgeny Kaspersky, the founder and CEO of Kaspersky Lab, will provide law enforcement in our 190 member countries with the expertise to generate actionable intelligence to protect cyberspace and to bring cybercriminals to justice,” noted Noboru Nakatani, executive director of Global Complex for Innovation (IGCI), INTERPOL’s new global cyber security department.
Mr. Kaspersky is obviously happy about the new partnership, something he has been campaigning for for several years. “We’re taking an active part in investigating international cybercrime, providing our expertise, technology, and resources to law enforcement authorities of different countries of the world. Now the criminals will never be able to lay low in some distant country, hiding behind the physical borders,” Kaspersky shared.
Wired.com provides these statistics about the Russian tycoon’s mushrooming business:
Between 2009 and 2010, according to Forbes, retail sales of Kaspersky antivirus software increased 177 percent, reaching almost 4.5 million a year — nearly as much as its rivals Symantec and McAfee combined. Worldwide, 50 million people are now members of the Kaspersky Security Network, sending data to the company’s Moscow headquarters every time they download an application to their desktop. Microsoft, Cisco, and Juniper Networks all embed Kaspersky code in their products — effectively giving the company 300 million users. When it comes to keeping computers free from infection, Kaspersky Lab is on its way to becoming an industry leader.
Wired.com is one of the few media sources that have expressed concerns about Kaspersky’s KGB background and his ongoing relationship with the FSB, the KGB’s successor. Kaspersky is a pal of Russian President Vladimir Putin, current dictator of the KGB/FSB mafia state known as Russia. One has to be a “Pal of Putin” to continue doing business in Russia today, as William Browder, CEO of Hermitage Capital, discovered the hard way: He was strong-armed by Putin’s thugs for a payoff of hundreds of millions of dollars, and his company’s attorney was jailed, tortured, and murdered.
As with most stories on Russia’s superrich oligarchs, most of the reporting on Kaspersky has focused on his brilliance as a computer geek and his enormous wealth, his propensity for jetting about the globe, and his casual, gregarious style. He is an avid race-car driver and a sponsor of Ferrari’s Formula 1 team. He likes to mention his connections to Henry Kissinger, U.S. Senator John McCain, and presidents and prime ministers, and he is a regular at that famous annual haunt of the rich and famous, the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland.
However, like Mikhail Prokhorov, on whom we reported recently ("The NBA’s KGB Billionaire Mikhail Prokhorov: Next President of Russia?"), Mr. Kaspersky has a much darker side that the American government and the American media have failed to investigate. The INTERPOL/Kaspersky alliance may indeed catch some independent cyber criminals, but only those who are viewed as competitors to the KGB/FSB criminals with whom Kaspersky is partnered. The Internet has just become an even more dangerous place.