DHS bans Kaspersky on federal PCs over Russian Federation fears

Posted September 14, 2017

The Department of Homeland Security issued the order on September 13 following growing criticism in Congress and elsewhere about the Moscow-based company's software products, which are widely used in the United States and elsewhere.

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

Officials say that the prominent company poses a threat to US national security and have given government agencies and departments 90 days to get rid of Kaspersky Lab software.

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

The directive suggests the USA government puts some credence in reports that the popular antivirus company, and its founder Eugene Kaspersky, have close ties to Russian intelligence services.

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There is a blanket warning applying to all federal agencies over concerns of possible Russian espionage by one of the most popular cybersecurity companies. At a Senate Intelligence Committee hearing in May, six of the US's top intelligence officials, including the directors of the Central Intelligence Agency and the National Security Agency, said they would not be comfortable personally using Kaspersky software.

Last week Senator Jeanne Shaheen said she would attach to a crucial defense department appropriations bill a law banning government use of Kaspersky products. Agencies will have 30 days to "identify any presence of Kaspersky products on their information systems", 60 days to develop plans to remove and discontinue use of the products, and 90 days to implement said plans.

"The U.S. government has been looking at Kaspersky for years, so this announcement is no real surprise to anyone".

Kaspersky said it is not subject to the Russian laws cited in the directive and said information received by the company is protected in accordance with legal requirements and stringent industry standards, including encryption.

In July, the chief executive of Russia's Kaspersky Lab, Eugene Kaspersky, told The Associated Press at his Moscow headquarters that USA government officials can examine his company's source code to dispel suspicions about his company's ties to the Kremlin.

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In a statement, Kaspersky Lab said it was "disappointed" with the decision and said it was based on "false allegations and inaccurate assumptions".

Earlier this week, retailer Best Buy said it would stop selling Kaspersky software for the time being.

Kaspersky said the company was happy to have an opportunity to provide information to show that the allegations are unfounded.

The US government has already removed Kaspersky from its approved vendors list back in July amid speculation that it's involved with Russian authorities. "Kaspersky is a direct threat to national security".

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