Kaspersky Lab's Policy on Virus Warnings: To Educate, Not to Scare

11 Sep 2000
Business News

Kaspersky Lab Int. refutes accusations about the spreading of "virus hysteria"

The W2K.Stream virus has not only generated some lively debate amongst anti-virus experts relative to this sort of malicious program's potential danger. W2K.Stream has also precipitated personal affronts to Kaspersky Lab Int. from competitor anti-virus software companies who have accused KL of creating "virus hysteria" amongst computer users.

Given the latest events, Kaspersky Lab would like to once again confirm its position regarding the danger present in the NTFS alternate data streams (ADS). Furthermore, we state that by continuing to ignore the problem and not taking similar steps-steps that Kaspersky Lab has already taken and continues to take-to bring their anti-virus product up to contemporary standards, the aforementioned competitor anti-virus companies are neglecting their users' anti-virus security.

"From our stand-point, we have already taken the necessary measures to release the Kaspersky Anti-Virus 3.5 version in the near future, which, among the new technology, will support ADS," said Michael Kalinichenko, Kaspersky Lab Technical Director.

In addition, the groundless criticism has also been targeted at Kaspersky Lab's company policy in general. Among the accusations made by our competitors, it was stated that Kaspersky Lab warnings are in some way an exaggerated and clever marketing ploy designed to draw attention to our product. An analogous situation could be described as one doctor arbitrarily stigmatizing another doctor as a "quack." We consider the recent statements made by other anti-virus companies to be unethical in regards to their colleagues and imprudent in regards to their users. Without logically refuting even one of the arguments justifying Kaspersky Lab's warning of the potential threat posed by ADS virus appearances, our competitors have used their unfounded refutations to set about misinforming users.

"We understand the position of the anti-virus-industry �Big Boys' seeing us as a serious competitor. We have a unique technology in our anti-virus arsenal; high-class, round-the-clock technical support; and a wide range of products for both the individual user and for corporate networks of any size. It seems clear that their wish is to simply �choke' and neutralize a young anti-virus company that has made an active appearance on the international market. We are almost flattered in a way that we have attracted their attention," stated Den Zenkin, Head of Corporate Communications for Kaspersky Lab.

"We also understand perfectly that actively maintaining a market share is a part of business; however, this in no way justifies other anti-virus companies' showing of indifference for user security as they have displayed in this recent attack on our policy of keeping our clients and users privy of any real and potential virus threat."

The basic Kaspersky Lab information-policy principle that distinguishes us from other anti-virus companies is our before-the-fact warning of users. This covers not only currently existing dangers (such as the "ILoveYou"/"LoveBug" virus), but also potential threats that are contained in the peculiarities of provider programs and computer equipment. It is namely this principle that has attracted user attention and more than 200,000 Kaspersky Lab subscribers who receive our company newsletter. Every day this figure grows, and here are just a couple of the more-than-positive responses from our subscribers:

I don't have anything against a virus company with a rock-solid product like AVP producing virus "notices" (not warnings, notices) about viruses that exist. It's far and away better than the baloney email virus warnings you get chain mailed every single day! And in my experience, AVP is far more reliable at detecting esoteric viruses than either McAfee's or Norton's, both of which have missed various viruses that AVP has caught.

Michael Hall, IT Manager from Grand Rapids, Michigan

AVP is not only the best anti-virus program I have ever used, it makes me absolutely fearless of viruses.... it does not attempt to take over your machine, and it does not leave behind its evil roots unlike most other anti-viral programs. I regard its updates with cheer, not fear. I think the big boys are jealous.

Hermine Stover, Architect, for California-based Endangered Species

We would also like to note that it is this very Kaspersky Lab information-policy principle-which KL has had from the very beginning-that underscores our validity. In 1997, we warned about the danger of Internet-worms spreading, and today more than 80% of all active viruses have the possibility of self-sending via e-mail. In 1998, we were once again accused of causing "virus-hysteria," because of our prediction about the development of script-viruses. Today, 70% of all virus attacks occur in this form. And concerning the "Chernobyl" virus that was first detected by Kaspersky Lab experts in 1998; even at that time, many people refused to believe in its existence altogether.

"Because the scope of our plans includes the opening of our own representative office in the USA, we expect an increase in the "full-court press" tactics of our competitors," said Natalya Kaspersky, Kaspersky Lab CEO. "We value user security first and foremost, and see our mission as defending against and preventing all potential threats. We are prepared to continue our principle of providing our users with effective and extensive information about virus warnings even in the face of our competitors' unsubstantiated affronts."

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