Tuesday, July 23, 2024

Kaspersky Lab helps develop new spy drones for Russian army

The InformNapalm volunteer intelligence community recently unveiled the second part of its investigative series, shedding light on the intricate relationship between a Russian limited liability company (LLC) named ALBATROSS and Moscow-based cybersecurity company Kaspersky Lab.

This revelation comes in the wake of a comprehensive CYBINT operation by the Cyber Resistance team, which intercepted over 100 GB of sensitive information from ALBATROSS, a leak dubbed AlabugaLeaks.

In the latest installment, the investigation delves into the collaboration between ALBATROSS and Kaspersky Lab, highlighting the development of onboard artificial intelligence (AI) systems for Russian drones, notably the Albatross M5 fixed-wing drones and D1 industrial quadcopters.

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Kaspersky Lab, known for its software and antivirus applications, has faced scrutiny over alleged ties to Russian intelligence agencies, leading to bans on its software by some US federal agencies. Despite these concerns, Kaspersky Lab has managed to evade significant international sanctions, with only limited restrictions imposed by individual countries.

The investigative report underscores the ongoing cooperation between ALBATROSS and Kaspersky Lab, which persists even amid the full-scale Russian invasion of Ukraine. Documents obtained from the AlabugaLeaks reveal how Kaspersky Lab’s AI systems are integrated into ALBATROSS drones, contributing to their combat capabilities.

The collaboration between the two entities dates back to the Odyssey competition in 2018, where ALBATROSS participated in developing next-generation search and rescue technologies. Although the team did not win the competition, their involvement paved the way for a lucrative partnership with Kaspersky Lab.

Key figures from the Odyssey team, including Alexey Florov and Konstantin Spiridonov, played instrumental roles in organizing the production of combat drones at the Alabuga Special Economic Zone (SEZ) in Tatarstan. Their efforts, coupled with contributions from Kaspersky Lab specialists, facilitated the integration of AI systems into ALBATROSS drones, enhancing their functionality for military applications.

According to the InformNapalm, AlabugaLeaks data array on the activities of Albatross makes it possible to track the development history of certain company products. So, Kleshnin and Turov were invited to participate in the Odyssey competition and create an artificial intelligence system for their drones. Turov’s CV says that since 2018, he has been working at Kaspersky Lab as the head of the Antidrone project, focused on creating a protection system against UAVs. Cooperation with Albatross is not his main activity.

It is not yet clear whether Turov involved Kleshnin to work at Kaspersky Lab after meeting him on the Albatross project, or whether it happened any other way. But already as of January 2020 Kleshnin began corresponding with the corporate email of Kaspersky Lab, this is a proven fact. Albatross itself also did not stand aside and became a partner of this company. For example, Kaspersky Lab started purchasing Western equipment through Albatros LLC, a little-known company at that time.

Finally, the cooperation and the origin of neural network as a Kaspersky product are directly announced on the company’s website.

The collaboration extended beyond drone development, encompassing projects like the Kaspersky Antidrone system, designed to counter unauthorized drone flights over industrial facilities. Notably, ALBATROSS served as an integrator for the Antidrone system, facilitating its deployment at various strategic locations.

The AlabugaLeaks expose the flow of Kaspersky Lab’s civilian-developed technologies into the military domain, fueling the Russian war effort against Ukraine.

As Western nations contemplate stricter sanctions against Russian entities, the case of Kaspersky Lab underscores the urgent need for comprehensive measures to curb the proliferation of advanced technologies that threaten global security.

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Executive Editor

About author:

Dylan Malyasov
Dylan Malyasov
Dylan Malyasov is the editor-in-chief of Defence Blog. He is a journalist, an accredited defense advisor, and a consultant. His background as a defense advisor and consultant adds a unique perspective to his journalistic endeavors, ensuring that his reporting is well-informed and authoritative. read more

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