Kaspersky software banned from USA government agencies ars_ab.settitle(1165929)

14 September, 2017, 01:02 | Author: Ora Austin
  • Under scrutiny, Kaspersky Lab considers changes to US subsidiary

The Department of Homeland Security has instructed federal agencies and departments to stop using products from Moscow-based cybersecurity firm Kaspersky Lab.

The agency explained its decision by citing "information security risks presented by the use of Kaspersky products on federal information systems", saying the Russian government could somehow "capitalize on access provided by Kaspersky products" to compromise USA national security. Any US government agency using Kaspersky products needs to identify them within the next 30 days, the DHS instructs, and then come up with a plan to remove them completely in the next 60 days.

The senator's comment comes following earlier media reports suggesting that the USA government plans to limit the use of Kaspersky products in the country over the company's alleged ties to Russian intelligence services in a move the Kremlin called "politicized".

Minnesota Sen. Amy Klobuchar, the ranking Democrat on the Senate Rules Committee, sent a letter to Duke asking the department for information about the government's use of Kaspersky products, especially on critical infrastructure and election systems. Kaspersky has been under suspicion for cyberespionage for several months now, especially due to its ties to the Russian government and the fact that the company is required under Russian law to comply with Russian intelligence agency requests.

The company says the reports are based on Russian policies and laws that have been misinterpreted, since they apply to telecoms and ISPs, not Kaspersky.

"Kaspersky Lab doesn't have inappropriate ties with any government, which is why no credible evidence has been presented publicly by anyone or any organization to back up the false allegations made against the company", a spokesperson for Kaspersky Lab said in a statement to the Washington Post.

Just a few days ago, Best Buy pulled Kaspersky's products from its shelves with claims that there were "too many unanswered questions" about the connections the company has with Russian intelligence services.

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There was no immediate reaction to the Homeland Security directive by Kaspersky. However, it claimed this was because "U.S. government sales have not been a significant part of the company's activity in North America".

American officials have not presented any concrete evidence that Kaspersky has allowed the Kremlin to use its products to advance its intelligence operations.

Founder and chief executive Eugene Kaspersky said he has repeatedly offered to present the company's source code to United States officials for an audit, but has not been given the opportunity to do so.

"The truth is we don't know if Kaspersky has direct ties", he said.

"Expanding the company's presence in the region will better enable Kaspersky Lab to provide its customers with the best cybersecurity solutions and services", the statement said.

On Friday, after news broke that the Federal Bureau of Investigation had reportedly urged American retailers to stop selling Kaspersky products, Best Buy became the first major American retailer to stop selling them.

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