Netenrich says cybersecurity conferences are attended by all walks of life.
Positive Technologies denies the U.S. Treasury Department’s “groundless accusations” that its conferences provide venues for recruiting Russian spies.
Positive Technologies, along with five other Russian research centers and companies, aided the country’s intelligence services in honing their cyber capabilities for operations such as the SolarWinds breach, the Wall Street Journal reported.
The Treasury Departmentimposed sanctions on Positive Technologies as part of a broader executive order by President Biden on Russia. It authorized financial penalties and diplomatic expulsions.
The Treasury didn’t respond to our request for more details regarding the allegation of helping to recruit Russian spies.
No Evidence of Providing Venues for Recruiting Russian Spies
Positive Technologies issued a statement in response to the department’s actions:
“In the almost 20 years we have been operating, there has been no evidence of the results of Positive Technologies’ research being used in violation of the principles of business transparency and the ethical exchange of information with [the] professional information security community,” it said.
Positive’s global mission is to create products and technologies to improve cybersecurity around the world. It’s also to ensure conditions for the most efficient prevention of cyberattacks for the benefit of society, business and government agencies.
“We do this regardless of geopolitical situation, with maximum openness and a focus on cooperation (including international cooperation),” it said.
Cybersecurity Conferences Attended by ‘All Walks of Life’
Chris Morales is Netenrich‘s CISO. He said “all walks of life” attend security conferences. While many might be engaged in illegal activities, a large portion do work regular jobs. And they’re often with companies that provide tools and services to federal agencies.
“Most are just basic business transactions of off-the-shelf technology,” he said.
NSA director Keith Alexander gave the keynote at Defcon 20 in 2012, actively pitching for attendees to join, including a custom landing page for attendees to sign up, Morales said.
“They even had a booth,” he said. “So does the FBI. This is at most security conferences these days, just like any other vendors.”