The Israeli officials who had hacked into Kaspersky’s own network alerted the United States to the broad Russian intrusion, which has not been previously reported, leading to a decision just last month to order Kaspersky software removed from government computers.
.. More than 60 percent, or $374 million, of the company’s $633 million in annual sales come from customers in the United States and Western Europe.
.. “Antivirus is the ultimate back door,” Blake Darché, a former N.S.A. operator and co-founder of Area 1 Security. “It provides consistent, reliable and remote access that can be used for any purpose, from launching a destructive attack to conducting espionage on thousands or even millions of users.”
.. Kaspersky reported that its attackers had used the same algorithm and some of the same code as Duqu, but noted that in many ways it was even more sophisticated. So the company researchers named the new attack Duqu 2.0, noting that other victims of the attack were prime Israeli targets.
.. Kaspersky uncovered were hotels and conference venues used for closed-door meetings by members of the United Nations Security Council to negotiate the terms of the Iran nuclear deal — negotiations from which Israel was excluded.
.. Kaspersky noted that its attackers seemed primarily interested in the company’s work on nation-state attacks, particularly Kaspersky’s work on the “Equation Group” — its private industry term for the N.S.A. — and the “Regin” campaign, another industry term for a hacking unit inside the United Kingdom’s intelligence agency
.. It is not clear whether, or to what degree, Eugene V. Kaspersky, the founder of Kaspersky Lab, and other company employees have been complicit in the hacking using their products.
.. Mr. Kaspersky, who attended an intelligence institute and served in Russia’s Ministry of Defense, would have few illusions about the cost of refusing a Kremlin request.