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Red panic: Best Buy yanks Kaspersky antivirus from shelves

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"Hey! Spying on Americans is the job of the American government, not the Russian government!"

Did Best Buy say that, or did the NSA say that with their hand up the back of Best Buy like a puppet?

As an American, I'd much rather have the Russians spying on me than the NSA. The Russians don't have a habit of using the prosecutorial process to destroy Americans (who are physically in the United States). I'd be more likely to go to Best Buy to have them remove an American anti-malware and have it replaced with Kaspersky than the reverse (though in reality I'd do neither... no one works on my stuff but me).

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Actually it was the FBI that was enlisting the Best Buy Geek Squad to spy on their customers' equipment brought in for repairs. Same difference, though.

I read the feds brief on this subject and substituted "American" every place it said "Russian" and yes, it read pretty much the same: "Go back to pen and paper no matter where you live."

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Anonymous Coward

Reminds me of that comment Julian Clary made about Norman Lamont.

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@Amos1

"Go back to pen pencil and paper no matter where you live." FTFY. BTW Russians love to write with pencil because it can always be erased with a rubber (and keeps working at -45 °C).

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Happy

"Because Kaspersky's servers are in Russia, sensitive United States data is constantly cycled through a hostile country,"

If the Kaspersky antivirus is cloud-based, as in it sends personal files to it's cloud for analysis, then this is true.

Democrats demanded that the General Services Administration remove Kaspersky from its list of U.S. government approved vendors back in July. The GSA complied. This is old news.

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Yes - don't install Kaspersky. Use Avast, which is based in the Czech Republic. No, change that to ESET, based in Slovakia. No, change that to Bitdefender based in Romania. Wait, erase that. Use F-Secure based in Finland or TrendMicro in Japan, Panda from Spain.

What about backup software which could install boot loader infections? CloneZilla from South Korea. EaseUS? Mainland China. Acronis is a Swiss based company started by and currently run by Russians!

Over the years I've read a lot of malware writeups by a lot of different companies based all over the world. They do a great job and seem to have one objective - figure out how the bad guy software works and stop it from messing with my stuff. I have nothing but admiration for these people.

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Re: @Amos1

That reminds me of the (possibly apocryphal) story that during the early days of the "space race" the Americans spent millions trying to perfect a ballpoint pen which would work in zero gravity.

The Russians used pencils.

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Anonymous Coward

I judge security vendors

On how they behave in public, how truthful they are at reporting risks and such.

Kaspersky and Checkpoint are both on my no buy list as they are keen to sponsor and push scare stories to sell their wares.

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Re: @Amos1

Yeah, nice story. You know what happens to a pencil's graphite dust and shavings in zero gravity? It floats around and gets into all sorts of nooks and crannies. Wouldn't matter if it weren't extremely good at CONDUCTING ELECTRICITY!

Yes, that's what I want, electrical shorts everywhere while in a spacecraft.

Btw, the Russians didn't use pencils.

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Re: @Amos1

Bollocks.

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This post has been deleted by its author

Anonymous Coward

Re: @Amos1

Btw, the Russians didn't use pencils.

They did for early flights - certainly for the Gagarin's flight, who famously lost the pencil while in orbit. NASA also used pencils early on.

Later, both switched to pressurized ballpoints, coming in fact from the same (american) company.

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Re: @Amos1

Very good Sir / Maam / Inbetween.

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Stop

Re: @Amos1

You're right, it is apocryphal.

http://www.snopes.com/business/genius/spacepen.asp

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there is a difference between allied(NATO etc.) and openly hostile country, especially when that country manages to break even more written and unwritten rules than U.S.

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Re: @Amos1

yea that is funny. simplicity does fun sometimes....

...but there was a reason for that pen. A pencil lead could break/fragment, sending little bits of conductive material floating around the spacecraft and into electronics...

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Re: @Amos1

They did for early flights - certainly for the Gagarin's flight, who famously lost the pencil while in orbit

I think these were chinagraph pencils, rather than graphite. Used in aviation even today.

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Anonymous Coward

Pencils in space

They did for early flights - certainly for the Gagarin's flight, who famously lost the pencil while in orbit

I think these were chinagraph pencils, rather than graphite. Used in aviation even today.

Not it Gagarin's case: he apparently used a bog-standard graphite pencil. If you believe Wikipedia's article on writing in space:

<quote>

The wood pencil has been used for writing by NASA and Soviet space programs from the start. It is simple with no moving parts, except for the sharpener. However, wood, graphite, and rubber (in the eraser) are all combustible and create dust. Graphite, in particular, both burns and produces dust that conducts electricity.

The mechanical pencil has been used by NASA starting in the 1960s Gemini program. It can be made to be as wide as the width of astronauts' gloves, yet maintain its light weight. There are no wooden components which might catch fire and create dust. However, the pencil lead still creates graphite dust that conducts electricity.

Grease pencils on plastic slates were used by the Soviet space program as an early substitute for wood pencils. It is simple with no moving parts. The paper shroud is peeled back when needed. The disadvantage is that the paper wrapper has to be disposed of. Writing done with the grease pencil is also not as durable as ink on paper.

Ballpoint pens have been used by Soviet and then Russian space programs as a substitute for grease pencils as well as NASA and ESA. The pens are cheap, use paper (which is easily available), and writing done using pen is more permanent than that done with graphite pencils and grease pencils, which makes the ball point pen more suitable for log books and scientific note books. However, the ink is indelible, and depending on composition is subject to outgassing and temperature variations.

Felt-tip pens were used by NASA astronauts in the Apollo missions. However, wick-based instruments are designed around low viscosity, and thus operating temperature and pressure.

</quote>

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Wow

The part about software still being sold on shelves, that is.

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Re: Wow

That's nothing. Some backwoods locations still have active video rental stores.

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Bronze badge

Re: Wow

Not just backwoods and no problem with this. Really no reason to hand over every last $ to growing monopoly of few service providers. Some people just don't like to sign up for another subscription, some don't consider high tier broadband worth the price and some just have no choice.

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Re: Wow

A lot of it is barely a step beyond those games that made the news for basically shipping a CD with the Steam installer on it. Buying a box containing a physical copy of the license, on the other hand, is not a bad thing.

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Bronze badge

Bitdefender is the same.

Since it went cloud, it is actually harvesting personal information from your computer.

Prior to the renewal of my subscription ,I was really happy , then on the renewal I was asked to DL an "updated" version.

now it is harvesting personal information from my files structure and in some cases it is unsecured, wireshark has show me this.

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If you want in-secure take a look at F-Secure which proxies SSL web browsing information including PayPal details on a localhost server using http......

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Pint

National security

I can't speak for anyone else here, but Russians spying on my browsing and other activities would be a boon to American security. The FSB would be bored to death.

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Paris Hilton

Re: National security

They just get a better class of porn.

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Re: National security

I wonder what AV software Trump's team uses?

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Anonymous Coward

Re: AV Software for Trump

Naturally, it will be one made in "Make America Great" naturally which sort of only leaves MS.

So the only system approved for use in the whole of the US Government will be Windows. Bit hard to run windows on some of those mega HPC systems that are used by all the TLA people.

MS will love licensing windows on a few dozen 65536 core systems. The US Federal budget deficit will go up by a few billion.

But it will make America Great

Sarcasm intented.

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Big Brother

I guess everyone needs a scapegoat at this point in time... be it countries, politicians, or software companies. And now shops selling equipment. What's next on the list to boycott? I'll assume that our government will now say that all US products are without US backdoors?

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No but "the only good backdoor is our own.backdoor."

Except it is not.

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Anonymous Coward

It is when you have no choice BUT to have a back door because "leaving it" means you can't live anywhere.

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Who has most to lose?

I would have thought that a growing boycott of software and tech products would hurt the US far more than anyone else. There are plenty of other companies out that that will fill the void. More to the point they will fill it permanently. The likes of Huawei would jump at the chance of replacing Dell, HPe, SuperMicro. It is irrelevant where the kit is manufactured as the profits are ultimately in the US and the are US companies/. The US could lose substantially, particularly if China not only joins a boycott but actively pushes alternatives.

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WTF?

What the FEEL?

I just can't believe the hysteria that some people will go through, because, FUD.

"The Russians are coming, the Russians are coming!"

"Eemeargencie. Eemeargencie. Everybody get from striiit."

[ok I can't remember the details THAT well, did anyone NOT get that reference? Maybe I missed something...]

next thing, maybe quote Bill Murray from the Ghostbusters movie. "Cats and dogs, living together" etc.

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Re: What the FEEL?

The scoops are on their way, bob.

(IT'S MADE OF PEOPLE, PEOPLE!)

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Gde

Who knew?

Proof that there is upward job mobility at Best Buy.

Their worthless idiot salespeople have clearly moved into purchasing.

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My antivirus is "not clicking on random things I don't understand". Served me perfectly well since the 80's,

and subscription is free :)

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Silver badge

"My antivirus is "not clicking on random things I don't understand". Served me perfectly well since the 80's,"
What a truly excellent idea that is and well worth more than a single upvote. Worked well for me for the best part of two decades. Except there's more than just virus around these days so, being a belt and braces man, I've always had anti-malware protection as well.

Then the other day I really, really needed to run a dubious exe file. So, I dutifully ran it by Vipre and received the nod to run it. Big Mistake! It installed 26 different applications and a huge number of other nasties. Spent most of yesterday disinfesting the machine.

Malware Bytes was a great help. Vipre have most definitely lost a customer, but then that was the case when they started bad-mouthing Kaspersky. Put the idea in my head that they just might be doing what they accuse Kaspersky of.

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needed to run a dubious exe file...

Come on, spill. It was iTunes wasn't it?!

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Re: needed to run a dubious exe file...

"Come on, spill. It was iTunes wasn't it?!"
Actually it wasn't. What purpose would iTunes serve me? I have some 700+ GB of CD RIPs and transcriptions of my vinyl record collection. All played through Foobar 2000.

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Anonymous Coward

Just install the virustotal context menu clicker.

Any dubious files, right click send to virustotal, get results. Even if all the AV shows it as safe, you can see the breakdown of file information on one of the tabs and judge for yourself.

Saves having to worry about whether a particular malware blocker is up to scratch.

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Re: needed to run a dubious exe file...

"What purpose would iTunes serve me? I have some 700+ GB of CD RIPs and transcriptions of my vinyl record collection. All played through Foobar 2000."

I could have made that exact post... seriously, my CD and Vinyl collection combined takes up nearly 1TB of space and I use Foobar 2000. Freaky.

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What was it, the latest and greatest version of Vipre....? :)

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"My antivirus is "not clicking on random things I don't understand". Served me perfectly well since the 80's,"

Until you get a drive-by from a hacked reputable site.

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Anonymous Coward

Why not fire up a vm and run it in that first? Or even a usb bootable copy of windows.

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Re: needed to run a dubious exe file...

"I could have made that exact post... "
Great minds like a think :-)

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"Just install the virustotal context menu clicker."
The horse has already bolted of course, but thanks for the heads up. Hopefully I won't ever need it, but if I do I hope I remember your excellent advice.

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'My antivirus is "not clicking on random things I don't understand". Served me perfectly well since the 80's,'

That approach has served me well, but it is not reliable. There are many ways to get malware even if you are careful. Many reputable sites have served up malware, as has *every* significant ad network. Even if you run an ad-blocker, a few still slip through.

My most dangerous compute exposure is when I need to run Windows for work, and must visit a range of work-required sites. For instance, when your job requires you to be part of a video conference / presentation that first requires downloading Java and Flash and running code from a slew of third and fourth party websites.

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Silver badge
Holmes

My most dangerous compute exposure is when I need to run Windows for work, and must visit a range of work-required sites.

This is done on a laptop provided by work, and via a VPN terminating at work.

If something nefarious happens: not my circus, not my monkeys.

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