Published: Tue, May 15, 2018
Finance | By Loren Pratt

Kaspersky to move user data to new Swiss centre by end

Kaspersky to move user data to new Swiss centre by end

It is common for companies with government contracts to allow the secure inspection of their code, to check for hidden backdoors, and that's what will also be on offer at Kaspersky's Zurich facility.

The creation of the Zurich Transparency Center is part of a larger plan announced by the company in October 2017, called the Global Transparency Initiative.

Russian anti-virus software firm Kaspersky Lab, which is suspected by U.S. authorities of helping the Kremlin's espionage efforts, said Tuesday it was moving its core infrastructure and operations to Switzerland.

Kaspersky has repeatedly denied these allegations, but the company claims that it is working with others to "address growing challenges of industry fragmentation" and "a breakdown of trust".

The firm says this is part of its Global Transparency Initiative and that it will also open a Transparency Center in Switzerland this year.

"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", it added.

Announced in October a year ago, the Global Transparency Initiative is an effort to re-establish both trust and reputation in the wake of accusations that Kaspersky Lab's operations were tied to the Russian government.

"The data of our customers from the U.S., Europe, Japan, Korea, Singapore and Australia will henceforth be stored and processed in Switzerland". This information is shared voluntarily by users with the Kaspersky Security Network (KSN) an advanced, cloud-based system that automatically processes cyber threat-related data.

The Swiss facility will host a number of core processes, including customer data storage and processing for most regions, as well as software assembly, including threat detection updates.

Kaspersky said these plans will make sure that "newly assembled software can be verified by an independent organisation" and that "software builds and updates received by customers match the source code provided for audit".

The Dutch government announced that the national government will no longer use anti-virus software from Kaspersky Lab. Justice and security minister Ferdinand Grapperhaus said the Kaspersky products present an increased security risk due to the company's links to the Russian government.

The vendor claimed that before the end of this year it would start to assemble and sign products and AV databases in Zurich before distributing them around the world.

"In a rapidly changing industry such as ours, we have to adapt to the evolving needs of our clients, stakeholders and partners", he said in a statement.

"Transparency is one such need, and that is why we've made a decision to redesign our infrastructure and move our data processing facilities to Switzerland".

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