“The $1 billion Russian cyber company that the US says hacks for Moscow”
MIT Technology Review, April 15, 2021
by Patrick Howell O’Neill
“Washington has sanctioned Russian cybersecurity firm Positive Technologies. US intelligence reports claim it provides hacking tools and runs operations for the Kremlin.”
The hackers at Positive Technologies are undeniably good at what they do. The Russian cybersecurity firm regularly publishes highly-regarded research, looks at cutting edge computer security flaws, and has spotted vulnerabilities in networking equipment, telephone signals, and electric car technology.
But American intelligence agencies have concluded that this $1 billion company—which is headquartered in Moscow, but has offices around the world— does much more than that.
Positive was one of a number of technology businesses sanctioned by the US on Thursday for its role in supporting Russian intelligence agencies. President Joe Biden declared a national emergency to deal with the threat he says Moscow poses to the United States. But the details of the sanctions released by the Treasury Department only cover a small fraction of what the Americans now believe about Positive’s role in Russia.
MIT Technology Review understands that US officials have privately concluded that the company is a major provider of offensive hacking tools, knowledge, and even operations to Russian spies. Positive is believed to be part of a constellation of private sector firms and cybercriminal groups that support Russia’s geopolitical goals, and which the US increasingly views as a direct threat.
About the Author:
Patrick Howell O’Neill is the cybersecurity senior editor for MIT Technology Review. He covers national security, election security and integrity, geopolitics, and personal security: How is cyber changing the world? Before joining the publication, he worked at the Aspen Institute and CyberScoop covering cybersecurity from Silicon Valley and Washington DC.