When you were a kid, did your parents ever discourage you from hanging out with “that friend” or “that group of friends”? Almost instinctively, your parents knew which folks were up to no good and knew that continuing to associate with them wasn’t going to end up well for you. As we grow older these parental admonitions are transformed into pithy phrases such as, “You’re judged by the company you keep,” probably to help us remember them better. But the truth behind it remains as true today as when you were a kid. Well, the folks at Kaspersky are certainly being judged based on their acquaintances, and — as your mother might have predicted — things aren’t working out too well for them.
Like most of us, Kaspersky started out on the right foot. They developed a number of anti-virus and security products that led to them amassing more than 400 million users globally. Then like those kids who got tempted into smoking cigarettes behind the gym by the wrong “friends,” the folks at Kaspersky gave into temptation and soon were running with what might euphemistically be called a ‘bad crowd.’ ‘Crowd’ in this case being another name for Russian intelligence. While being acquainted with the intelligence service of any foreign nation is probably not advisable for a security software company, the prospect of palling around with the FSB (you might remember them by their former acronym — KGB) tends to make everyone a little nervous right now. Even if they weren’t doing anything, the whole “guilt by association” thing is going to discourage sales.