12 Oct

How Is Security News Website Owned by a Security Company An “Independent News Site”?

A few weeks ago we were mentioning that the security news website Threatpost still seemed like it might be owned by the security company Kaspersky Lab despite marketing itself as being a  “an independent news site”. We happened look back at how they described themselves back when they were open about being owned by Kaspersky Lab and found that they also promoted themselves that way then. Here is the first paragraph of their About page as of August of last year:

Threatpost, The Kaspersky Lab security news service, is an independent news site which is a leading source of information about IT and business security for hundreds of thousands of professionals worldwide.

We are at a loss to understand what they are supposed to be independent from considering they are owned by a company in the industry they are supposed to be covering.

Maybe by independent they meant from normal journalistic standards, considering they didn’t provide the normal disclosure that would be provided news outlets when covering a related entity. For example here is article citing Kaspersky Lab, also from last August, were there is no mention of the outlet being owned by them. Compare that to two recent articles from the Washington Post covering Amazon that mentioned Jeff Bezos connection to the two entities.

Not surprisingly when such basics are not being properly handled we have found the actual coverage of security is often quite poor, in that previous post about them, we mentioned they were spreading false information about a vulnerability due to relying on an incompetent security company and we left a comment with a correction but that was not approved to be shown, so those reading the story would be left worse off. What would have seemed to have been better to cover in that instance was that well known security company doesn’t seem to have a clue about security, but is news outlet owned by a security company likely to expose the reality of how bad the security industry really is?

Something else we noticed is that despite Kaspersky Lab being very much a topic in the news in recent times, not just security focused news, due to claims about their involvement with the Russian government, there appears to have been no coverage of that from the Threatpost based on what articles are tagged Kaspersky Lab.