Kaspersky Lab to move key infrastructure from Russia to boost transparency

Kaspersky Lab to move key infrastructure from Russia to boost transparency

Kaspersky Lab is moving core parts of its infrastructure from Russia to Switzerland as part of its latest efforts to improve transparency about its cybersecurity work, the firm announced on Tuesday.

The move comes after the U.S. government began wiping the firm's products from its computer servers amid fear that Kaspersky Lab's operations are tied to the Kremlin. Other countries have also followed suit.

"We are relocating a good part of our infrastructure to Zurich, Switzerland, including the 'software assembly line' and servers that store and process Kaspersky Security Network data, and creating our very first Transparency Center," the company announced in a blog post

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The firm said it will move its assembly line — the process it uses to compile "products and threat detection rule updates" — to Zurich so that they can have "the supervision of a third-party organization before being distributed to customers."

Servers that process and store information for users located in North America, Europe, Australia, South Korea, Japan, and Singapore will also be moved to Zurich.

"Storing it in Switzerland under the supervision of an independent organization means that any access to this data is meticulously logged — and the logs can be reviewed at any moment should any concerns arise," the firm said.

Kaspersky Lab last year announced its Global Transparency Initiative, which aims to help rebuild the firm's reputation in the wake of allegations that it was working with Russian intelligence.

The company, which plans to open additional centers in North America and Asia by 2020, said it chose Switzerland because of its "policy of neutrality" as well as its "strong data protection legislation." 

The U.S. government and Congress made the decision last year to remove Kaspersky Lab’s products from computer systems amid growing concerns about Russian efforts to sow discord and interfere in the 2016 election. 

The software company has repeatedly maintained that it operates independently of the Kremlin, describing the U.S. government’s assertions as "completely unfounded." U.S. policymakers maintain that removing the anti-virus software gets rid of a vulnerability that Russia could have exploited in the future.

Although Congress mandated the software be removed in its annual defense policy bill, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) had already issued a directive last September ordering civilian agencies to expunge Kaspersky products from their systems by a December deadline.

In earlier court filings, DHS said its decision was based in part on information already available in the public domain, like newspaper reports and congressional testimonies.