McAfee locked horns with Eugene Kaspersky over his criticism of the Shady RAT espionage attacks.
The Kaspersky Lab co-founder said Shady RAT was not a sophisticated attack and did not use novel techniques or patterns in the malware.
He said was "a lame piece of homebrew code that could have been written by a beginner".
McAfee chief technology officer Phyllis Schneck said Kaspersky was "missing the point", as Shady RAT was not about malware, but "a massive case of espionage and wealth transfer".
“This attack was exposed so honest global communities can be aware of the urgency of cross-sector cyber resiliency," Schneck said.
“This was a clear case where technical arguments are preventing some people from seeing the larger, more important picture.”
McAfee denied Kaspersky's belief that Shady RAT is a botnet, and said the Russian anti-virus boss had got botnets and advanced persistent threats confused.
"The impressive thing here was the breadth of targets, the length of the attack and the amount of data taken, remembering also that we know only of 72 organisations victimised through one command and control server, out of hundreds or more used by this adversary.”
Kaspersky said McAfee has not provided proof of compromises or data leaks because of Shady RAT.
He insisted that Shady RAT is a botnet.
“Shady RAT is a threat, but no more than the avalanche of other threats we detect on a daily basis.”