- The Washington Times - Tuesday, May 15, 2018

Kaspersky Lab said it will relocate a “good part” of the cybersecurity firm’s infrastructure from Russia to Switzerland as part of an effort to regain customer trust eroded by allegations that it aided Moscow’s espionage activities.

Citing “growing challenges of industry fragmentation and a breakdown of trust,” Kaspersky Lab said in a statement Tuesday that it will shift operations starting later this year to a data center being established in Zurich, roughly 1,600 miles away from the company’s Moscow headquarters.

“In a rapidly changing industry such as ours, we have to adapt to the evolving needs of our clients, stakeholders and partners,” said Eugene Kaspersky, the company’s founder and a former software engineer for the Soviet military. “Transparency is one such need, and that is why we’ve decided to redesign our infrastructure and move our data processing facilities to Switzerland.”

The new facility will eventually “store and process all information for users in North America, Europe, Singapore, Australia, Japan and South Korea,” and it will serve as the launching pad for the company’s “software build conveyer,” a set of programing tools designed to make ready-to-use software from source code, Kaspersky said in the statement.

“To ensure full transparency and integrity, Kaspersky Lab is arranging for this activity to be supervised by an independent third party, also based in Switzerland,” the statement said.

Kaspersky’s latest measures are being branded part of a “Global Transparency Initiative” it launched last year after authorities in the U.S and U.K. issued security warnings over the company’s software and services and subsequently barred American and British government agencies from using either.

“The risk that the Russian government, whether acting on its own or in collaboration with Kaspersky, could capitalize on access provided by Kaspersky products to compromise federal information and information systems directly implicates U.S. national security,” the Department of Homeland Security said last year when the Trump administration ordered government agencies to stop using Kaspersky products.

Earlier this week, meanwhile, the Dutch government echoed similar concerns and announced it was phasing out Kaspersky software “as a precautionary measure.”

Kaspersky has denied being in cahoots with the Russian government, though the company said Tuesday that relocating to Switzerland — a move costing upwards of $12 million, The Wall Street Journal reported — is meant in part to address users’ concerns.

“The company needs to address that,” Anton Shingarev, Kaspersky Lab’s vice president of public affairs, told Financial Times. “The allegations we faced are wrong and there is no evidence. Still the allegations are there. We need to show customers we are taking them seriously and address them.”

• Andrew Blake can be reached at ablake@washingtontimes.com.

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