Kaspersky Lab to open Swiss data centre to combat spying allegations

Kaspersky Lab to open customer data centre in Switzerland by 2020

Customer data storage and processing, software assembly and threat detection updates will all be handled in Switzerland, with an independent third party supervising the work. The move is part of the company's Global Transparency Initiative which came in response to concerns about ties to the Russian government.

Reuters first reported the plans in March, citing company documents which said Kaspersky Lab was setting up the centre in response to moves in the United States, Britain and Lithuania past year to stop using the company's products.

U.S. government workers were ordered to stop using Kaspersky anti-virus software.

The cybersecurity vendor said it would install 800 servers in a data centre in Zurich by the end of 2019 to store and process all information for users in Europe, North America, Singapore, Australia, Japan and South Korea, with more countries to follow.

The Department of Homeland Security past year banned federal agencies from using Kaspersky software because Russia's intelligence agencies could force the company to help spy on its customers.

Last October, the Moscow-headquartered company launched a worldwide transparency effort after the United States claimed that the company had given Russian security agencies backdoor access to secretive data.

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The move is part of the company's "transparency initiative", which will also include third-party auditing of the company's software, processes and procedures.

The Russian antivirus vendor embarked on this initiative after the USA government has accused the company of working closely with Russian intelligence agencies. Before the end of 2018, Kaspersky Lab products and threat detection rule databases (AV databases) will start to be assembled and signed with a digital signature in Switzerland, before being distributed to the endpoints of customers worldwide.

In a statement, Kaspersky Lab said it would will relocate its "software build conveyer" - a set of programming tools used to assemble ready to use software from source code - to Zurich.

Eugene Kaspersky, CEO of Kaspersky Lab, said the move will allow his firm to rebuild customer trust and deal with industry challenges.

With Russia rarely out the headlines for its alleged role in election meddling, Kaspersky is now looking to distance itself from its domestic troubles by moving some of its data storage and processing infrastructure to Switzerland - a country often considered to have some of the strongest data privacy regulations in the world. "Since transparency and trust are becoming universal requirements across the cybersecurity industry, Kaspersky Lab supports the creation of a new, non-profit organisation to take on this responsibility, not just for the company, but for other partners and members who wish to join", Kaspersky added.

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