Guest blog: The case for increasing transparency in cybersecurity

Posted by    on   Oct 2, 2018

In a guest blog post by VB2018 gold partner Kaspersky Lab, Anton Shingarev, Vice President, Public Affairs, considers the case for increasing transparency in cybersecurity.

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The gap between national security and cybersecurity has never been narrower. Ransomware has crippled the ability of local governments and hospitals to provide crucial services. Nation-state malware has disabled portions of a city’s electric grid. Connected devices and technologies power economies and individuals’ daily lives.

Governments have concerns about how criminals and foreign entities might use digital means to further their own agendas. These concerns extend to vendors of security products. Companies must realize that trust in their products is no longer a given. Kaspersky Lab is no exception; in fact, we may be 'the rule'.

The entire industry must meet new challenges and adapt accordingly. That means increasing transparency in the processes we rely on to build products that protect individuals, businesses, critical infrastructure and governments every day.

Last October, amid global concerns about the integrity and trustworthiness of security software, Kaspersky Lab launched its Global Transparency Initiative. It includes:

  • The relocation of key elements of our infrastructure to Switzerland, including data processing and storage for a number of regions as well as our software and threat detection rule assembly – a major initiative that will take several years to complete
  • Code reviews of our source code, code bases, and threat detection rules
  • Third-party evaluations of our products and their underlying infrastructure
  • External audits of our internal controls and processes and engineering practices
  • Increasing bug bounty awards for identifying potential vulnerabilities

The relocated data processing and storage will begin before the end of this year for customers in Europe. We are also about to open our first Transparency Center in Zurich. The Transparency Center will provide a space where trusted stakeholders can conduct code reviews and evaluate the results of our independent evaluations.

We recognize that transparency is not a cure-all or without its own risks. But this approach allows us to address concerns, even theoretical ones, related to unauthorized access to data and unintended product functionality. It can also serve as the basis for developing objective, risk-informed frameworks that can apply to all security product vendors in order to generate credible levels of assurance and trust throughout the entire cybersecurity ecosystem.

The value that transparency creates in security far outweighs the risks that may deter us from this strategy of engagement. What we have previously announced about our Global Transparency Initiative is just the beginning, and we welcome insight and ideas from the Virus Bulletin community on how we can improve this long-term and ever-evolving project.

 

 

 

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