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Accused of spying for Russia, Kaspersky Lab plans move to Switzerland

By the end of 2019, data from customers in Europe will be stored and processed in Zurich. Kaspersky also plans to open its first Transparency Center, also in Switzerland, this year



Facing heat over allegations that Russia used its antivirus software to spy on many of its targets, including US government officials, the Moscow-based Kaspersky Lab has now decided to open a data centre in Switzerland.

The move aims to address concerns in the Western countries that Russia exploits Kaspersky’s anti-virus software to spy on its customers.

There were specific reports that the Russian antivirus tool was used to extract sensitive information from a US National Security Agency contractor who worked on his home computer that had Kaspersky installed.

The Kaspersky Lab has now said it is moving a number of its core processes from Russia to Switzerland, as part of its “global transparency initiative”. The infrastructure being adapted for the move includes customer data storage and processing for most regions, as well as software assembly, including threat detection updates. There will be an independent third party, also based in Switzerland, which will supervise this activity.

The data centre in Zurich will be functional by the end of 2019.

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On June 5 this year, Kaspersky will host a live online summit, where senior representatives from the cybersecurity industry will discuss how to maintain trust and collaboration across the industry.

“Trust is essential in cybersecurity, and Kaspersky Lab understands that trust is not a given; it must be repeatedly earned through transparency and accountability,” the firm said in a statement.

The new measures comprise the move of data storage and processing for a number of regions, the relocation of software assembly and the opening of its first Transparency Center, also in Switzerland.

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“In a rapidly changing industry such as ours we have to adapt to the evolving needs of our clients, stakeholders and partners. Transparency is one such need, and that is why we’ve decided to redesign our infrastructure and move our data processing facilities to Switzerland. We believe such action will become a global trend for cybersecurity, and that a policy of trust will catch on across the industry as a key basic requirement,” Kaspersky Lab CEO Eugene Kaspersky said commenting on the process move and opening of the transparency centre.

Explaining the relocation of customer data storage and processing, Kaspersky says the lab and its Zurich facility will store and process all information for users in Europe, North America, Singapore, Australia, Japan and South Korea, with more countries to follow. This information, says the lab, is shared voluntarily by users with the Kaspersky Security Network (KSN), “a cloud-based system that automatically processes cyberthreat-related data”.

The source code of Kaspersky Lab products and software updates will be available for review by responsible stakeholders in the dedicated Transparency Center in Switzerland likely to be opened this year.