Almost 21 years ago, I embarked on a mission to make the world a safer, better place. Today, we’re proud to protect with our cybersecurity solutions the digital lives of over 400 million consumers and 270,000 organizations around the world. Like many other companies whose aim is enhancing people’s lives, we also know that the higher you go, the stronger the winds can be. For us these winds include false media reporting. And in today’s environment of ‘media-ocracy’ and fake news, the situation is getting worse.
For nearly four years now, certain U.S. media outlets have been printing outlandishly preposterous false stories about cyber-conspiracies concocted between secret service folks and Yours Truly against the ‘free world’.
Evidence suggests that a Dutch politician is behind a fake story about Kaspersky Lab in the biggest Dutch daily newspaper
These tales from the paranoid side about us all fit the same template. Accordingly, their basic structure and rhetoric are always identical:
- Unnamed U.S. intelligence officials share certain ‘shocking details’ about [insert as applicable] with a select few representatives of a given media outlet;
- Anonymous sources are mostly used; any ‘sources’ cited are incompetent/unqualified to be sources;
- Zero evidence of any wrongdoing on our part is presented (logical: there is no wrongdoing);
- Distortion of reality based on the Pareto principle (80% truth + 20% fiction = monstrous lie);
- These media stories are then used as a basis for taking political decisions (proof).
Incidentally, you may be wondering why, if all the stories about us are indeed false, we’ve never taken legal action in the U.S. The short answer to that is that U.S. legislation makes establishing the truth of a media story very difficult. Meanwhile, we get a ‘media-ocracy’ – with ‘news’ that isn’t news at all, just a vehicle for instilling in readers’ minds images of an ‘enemy’, so as to influence the underlying opinions of the people reading those media. But it doesn’t stop there. This non-news is used to justify high-level political moves against the next-in-line-to-be-out-of-favor company. Yes, of late it’s not just KL being pinpointed; this is growing bigger and bigger every month, affecting other companies too.
Worryingly, this media-ocracy is very influential – and highly contagious; so much so that it can now be felt all around the world, not just in America. And that now includes even the Netherlands.
Media-ocracy: vehicle for instilling in readers’ minds images of an ‘enemy’ and using false allegations for taking political decisions. Alas, it’s highly contagious.
On February 3 of this year, the largest Dutch national daily newspaper, De Telegraaf, published a ‘sensational’ article about a hacker who, allegedly, had claimed to have hacked into the network of our Dutch office (from just outside the building) and managed to obtain a number of IP addresses – all as part of a supposed investigation to help uncover a leak in the Dutch parliament – a leak organized to help ‘the Russians’. Inevitable questions like why specifically we were hacked, why those particular IP addresses were obtained, etc. are left unanswered, but for us the key thing to be addressed was the claim that someone had breached our own highly secure corporate network.
So yes, we took the claims very seriously. We’re a cybersecurity company, remember?! So naturally we carried out an internal investigation. And guess what it showed. No hack occurred. But that’s only the start of this sorry tale.
Read on: It gets even more ridiculous…