On the public side, Positive looks like many cybersecurity companies: employees deal with high-tech security, publish research on new threats, and even have cute office signs that say “Stay Positive!” hanging over their desks. The company is open to some of its ties with the Russian government: it has 18 years of defensive cybersecurity experience, including a two-decade relationship with the Russian Ministry of Defense. According to previously unreported assessments by the US secret services, the company also develops and sells weapons-based software exploits to the Russian government.

One area that stands out is the company’s work on SS7, a technology that is critical to global telephone networks. In a public demonstration for Forbes, Positive showed how it can bypass encryption by exploiting vulnerabilities in SS7. Privately, the US has come to the conclusion that Positive not only discovered and published bugs in the system, but also developed offensive hacking functions to …

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