back to article Red panic: Best Buy yanks Kaspersky antivirus from shelves

US big box retailer Best Buy has pulled from its shelves Kaspersky Lab's PC security software amid fears of Kremlin spies using the antivirus tool to snoop on Americans. Despite there being no concrete evidence to indicate that the security software is a threat, the retail chain is ending its long relationship with Kaspersky, …

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  1. Updraft102 Silver badge

    "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).

    1. Amos1

      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."

      1. harmjschoonhoven

        @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).

        1. charlie-charlie-tango-alpha

          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.

          1. baspax

            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.

            1. Anonymous Coward
              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.

          2. J. R. Hartley Silver badge

            Re: @Amos1

            Bollocks.

          3. This post has been deleted by its author

          4. Neoc
            Stop

            Re: @Amos1

            You're right, it is apocryphal.

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

          5. Anonymous Git

            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...

            1. werdsmith Silver badge

              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.

              1. Anonymous Coward
                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>

          6. This post has been deleted by its author

        2. This post has been deleted by its author

        3. Slackness

          Re: @Amos1

          Very good Sir / Maam / Inbetween.

      2. BillG Silver badge
        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.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

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

    3. OldSoCalCoder

      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.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        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.

      2. DeeCee

        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.

  2. Kevin McMurtrie Silver badge

    Wow

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

    1. Big John Silver badge

      Re: Wow

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

      1. joed Silver 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.

    2. fobobob

      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.

  3. razorfishsl

    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.

    1. depicus

      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......

  4. Florida1920 Silver badge
    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.

    1. macjules Silver badge
      Paris Hilton

      Re: National security

      They just get a better class of porn.

      1. Version 1.0 Silver badge

        Re: National security

        I wonder what AV software Trump's team uses?

        1. Anonymous Coward
          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.

  5. Mark 85 Silver badge
    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?

    1. Evil Auditor Silver badge

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

      Except it is not.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

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

        1. hoola

          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.

  6. bombastic bob Silver badge
    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.

    1. Frumious Bandersnatch Silver badge

      Re: What the FEEL?

      The scoops are on their way, bob.

      (IT'S MADE OF PEOPLE, PEOPLE!)

  7. Gde

    Who knew?

    Proof that there is upward job mobility at Best Buy.

    Their worthless idiot salespeople have clearly moved into purchasing.

  8. Codysydney

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

    and subscription is free :)

    1. Pompous Git 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.

      1. JoshOvki

        needed to run a dubious exe file...

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

        1. Pompous Git Silver badge

          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.

          1. soulrideruk Bronze badge

            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.

            1. Pompous Git Silver badge

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

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

        2. Kiwi
          Mushroom

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

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

          More likely "basic_printer_driver.exe"...

          --> Explosion of worthless stuff on your HD

      2. Anonymous Coward
        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.

        1. Pompous Git Silver badge

          "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.

      3. Adam JC

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

      4. Bluto Nash

        ALL shonky executabes, PDFs, non-confidential docs or spreadsheets go straight to Virustotal before being opened on on a VM that's had a recent checkpoint made and no network access.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          "ALL shonky executabes, PDFs, non-confidential docs or spreadsheets go straight to Virustotal before being opened on on a VM that's had a recent checkpoint made and no network access."

          And if you're dealing with a Red Pill (hypervisor exploit) capable of forcing your network stuff on to make a connection...or simply wait until you MUST update it by network or USB and infect the medium then?

    2. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

      "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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