Kaspersky Banned: Federal Agencies Ditch Russian Cybersecurity Firm Over Spying Concerns

14 September, 2017, 00:47 | Author: Bridget Leonard
  • Under scrutiny, Kaspersky Lab considers changes to US subsidiary

US federal agencies are being told to stop using computer software supplied by Kaspersky Lab because of concerns about ties between company officials and the Kremlin and Russian spy operations.

US officials have been wary of Kaspersky Lab's ties to the Russian government and state-sponsored cyberespionage-a concern that has only ramped up in the wake of the 2016 presidential election, which Russia appear to interfere with.

Acting Homeland Security Secretary Elaine Duke gave government offices 90 days to begin to remove and replace the software.

"The risk that the Russian government, whether acting on its own or in collaboration with Kaspersky, could capitalise on access provided by Kaspersky products to compromise federal information and information systems directly implicates U.S. national security", Duke said on Wednesday.

"Given that our intelligence officials would not use Kaspersky Lab software, it is alarming that essential US government agencies do". Kaspersky responded that it and its employees "do not have inappropriate ties with any government". According to the company, American officials have misinterpreted Russian law.

The US-owned Best Buy chain sazid it would no longer sell Kaspersky products. Several other retailers that carry Kaspersky, including Amazon and Newegg, declined to confirm to BuzzFeed News that they were committed to continue to selling the firm's products.

In a statement obtained by BuzzFeed, a Kaspersky spokesperson emphasized the lack of evidence demonstrating it has done anything wrong.


"No" was the reply given by then-acting FBI Director Andrew McCabe, CIA Director Mike Pompeo, National Intelligence Director Dan Coats, National Security Agency Director Adm. Mike Rogers, National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency Director Robert Cardillo and Defense Intelligence Agency Director Lt. Gen. Vincent Stewart. "For us in the government that was can unacceptable risk".

"Under Russian law that company must collaborate with the FSB", Rob Joyce, Trump's top cyber adviser, said during remarks at the Billington Cybersecurity Summit in Washington. Last week, Best Buy Co, the No.1 US electronics retailer, said it was pulling Kaspersky Lab's cyber security products from its shelves and website. "And while there haven't been articles that have come out saying the same thing about USA based companies, you have to understand that it's gotta be true of us here as well". "The only conclusion seems to be that Kaspersky Lab, a private company, is caught in the middle of a geopolitical fight, and it's being treated unfairly even though the company has never helped, nor will help, any government in the world with its cyberespionage or offensive cyber efforts".

But it hasn't given up.

In a statement, DHS echoed this sentiment Wednesday.

The direct financial impact of the decision will likely by minimal for Kaspersky Lab, one of the world's leading anti-virus software companies that was founded in 1997 and now counts over 400 million global customers.

"It's such a tight turnaround for us!"

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