Rep. Clay Higgins (R-La.) told two House Science subcommittees they should take antivirus magnate Eugene Kaspersky up on his offer to testify before Congress during a joint hearing Thursday.
Kaspersky Lab continues to receive government contracts, despite legislators’ suspicions that the Moscow-headquartered outfit may have ties to the Russian government.
There is no public evidence linking the two, but the Department of Homeland Security has issued guidance to avoid the vendor. Kaspersky has also become a frequent topic of conversation at Senate Intelligence Committee meetings.
Both Kaspersky and his company have pushed back against these claims. In May, Eugene Kaspersky said he would testify before Senate Intelligence.
“The FBI, CIA and NSA advise this body that they do not trust Kaspersky,” said Higgins, adding, “I strongly suggest we take him up on his offer.”
Eugene Kaspersky was educated at a KGB-sponsored university and served in Russian military intelligence. As is the case with American cybersecurity firms, many of the Russia-based employees come from the public sector.
Kaspersky Lab has international research facilities, including a presence in the United States. Many of its researchers are prominent in the field.
Though the company has exposed espionage hacking operations believed to be connected to U.S. and Britain, it also has exposed the still-active “Turla” group believed to be connected to Russia.
Higgins made his comments during a hearing on how the government should move forward after the Wanna Cry ransomware outbreak.
Witnesses noted that coding errors likely prevented millions of additional infections of the malware and that the prevailing theory was that North Korea had launched the attack. Higgins jokingly asked the panel what they thought might happen to the coders and issued an invitation to any programmers feeling heat from Pyongyang to come to America.
“We’d love to have you before the Committee,” he said.
“We’ll give you some real good food.”