Can Antivirus Software be used as a Spying Tool?


Yes, says a security analyst named Patrick Wardle, Chief Research Officer at Digita Security.  As the software runs close to a computer’s bare metal, it has the privilege to access every program, application, web browser, email, and file. And so a company offering antivirus software can easily spy on its users as it tracks each an every movement of its consumers.

“In a battle against malicious codes, antivirus software’s are acting as a staple”, said Patrick. As these tools share a lot of characteristics with the advanced cyber espionage tools they can act as search platforms to hackers launching cyber attacks.

Mr. Patrick Wardle, a former ethical hacker of NSA said that Kaspersky lab can prove as a subverting antivirus tool for classified documents.

Though Mr. Wardle did not want to go deep into the complex accusations, he admitted that any antivirus software maker can technically be coerced to, or hacked, or subverted to create a signature to classified documents.

Reacting to the news of US President Donald Trump imposing a ban on the usage of Kaspersky software in all government agencies across America, Patrick said that it was a wise move-especially when some rogue nations are trying to create political instability in Western countries.

The above said news actually has renewed importance over the last 4 months in the wake of the United States accusing Kaspersky of supporting the spying intentions of Russia on Western nations- an accusation which was rigorously denied by Eugene Kaspersky, the CEO of the Russia based cybersecurity software maker.

Note- In November last year, Kaspersky software was found guilty of spying on NSA’s security contractor Mr. Pho’s computer. But later Eugene Kaspersky said that his company immediately destroyed the obtained documents as soon as it realized that they were classified.

Means, it does have the technical privilege to sneak and keep a track of all documents which are being generated and used by its consumers on their respective computers—–hence proved that antivirus software makers can use their software tools as software meant for espionage!

Naveen Goud
Naveen Goud is a writer at Cybersecurity Insiders covering topics such as Mergers & Acquisitions, Startups, Cyber Attacks, Cloud Security and Mobile Security

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