Kaspersky Lab Says End User Malware Infection Caused Secret Data Grab

Today’s topics include Kaspersky Lab's denial that its security application was scanning customer's computers for classified information; Symantec's Endpoint Security application that's been updated with threat deception technology; How HPE is making artificial intelligence more accessible to enterprises; and Microsoft's move to rebrand its Azure Container Service as a managed Kubernetes offering.

Security firm Kaspersky Lab is facing a ban of its products by U.S. government agencies and an ongoing congressional investigation on allegations that its anti-malware software is secretly aiding Russian intelligence.

In response, the firm argued Oct. 25 that they have found only a “single incident that happened in 2014,” where source code for the “Equation” espionage platform- now linked to U.S. intelligence services- was detected and sent back to the company’s servers for analysis.

The incident supposedly occurred because the U.S. analyst working on the project had turned off the antivirus program, downloaded a pirated version of Windows that was infected with malware, and then turned on Kaspersky Lab’s security software, which detected the malware and Equation source code.

“The archive was deleted from all our systems. The archive was not shared with any third parties,” the company stated.

Symantec announced updated products in Endpoint Security for the Cloud Generation portfolio Oct. 25, including the Symantec Endpoint Protection platform 14.1, which now integrates deception technology to use decoys or fake services to attract and trick attackers.

"Customers can leverage deployed SEP agents with the existing SEP management system to quickly deploy deception and add an additional layer to improve security architecture," said Sri Sundaralingam, Head of Product Marketing for Enterprise Security Products at Symantec.

Also in the 14.1 release are hardening capabilities to SEP that prevents zero-day exploits and improves application isolation, and a new SEP Mobile application.

"Our new endpoint solution [includes] best of breed capabilities, integrated into a single agent, to help them streamline, lower costs and effectively combat advanced threats, malware and ransomware," Mike Fey, Symantec president and COO stated.

In an effort to make it easier for enterprises to implement artificial intelligence in their IT systems and software products, Hewlett Packard Enterprise introduced on Oct. 25 several new purpose-built platforms and service capabilities focused on deep learning, which is typically deployed for image and facial recognition, image classification, and voice recognition.

HPE now offers essential tools to help enterprises lacking the necessary expertise and resources, sophisticated and tailored hardware and software, and integration capabilities to deploy deep learning.

These include Rapid Software Installation for AI, the HPE Deep Learning Cookbook, the HPE AI Innovation Center, and Enhanced HPE Centers of Excellence. Also offered are flexible and scalable consumption services for HPE infrastructure, which avoids over-provisioning and increases cost savings.

Microsoft’s cloud-based Azure Container Service is getting updates and a name change to reflect its new Kubernetes-centric approach to cloud-native applications.

Dubbed AKS by Microsoft while retaining Azure Container Service branding, the offering is being billed as a managed Kubernetes service, reflecting the open-source technology's front runner status in the field of container orchestration.

Microsoft added Kubernetes support to Azure Container Service in February and AKS is now available for beta testing on Microsoft's Cloud.

"This new service features an Azure-hosted control plane, automated upgrades, self-healing, easy scaling, and a simple user experience for both developers and cluster operators," said Gabriel Monroy, Azure principal program manager of containers. "With AKS, customers get the benefit of open source Kubernetes without complexity and operational overhead."

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