Kaspersky software banned at U.S. federal agencies amid concerns of Kremlin ties

Under scrutiny, Kaspersky Lab considers changes to US subsidiary
US bans use of Kaspersky software in federal agencies amid concerns of Russian espionage
Author

14 September, 2017

Acting Secretary of Homeland Security Elaine Duke gave the agencies a timeline for complying with the directive.

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 United States national security.

Agencies in the executive branch are expected to begin the process of discontinuing Kaspersky products within 90 days.

The decision was made after the GSA raised concerns about a vulnerability in Kaspersky that could provide the Russian government backdoor access to systems running the security firm's products.

"The company would continue to work together with the US Department of Homeland Security as [it] is sure that further investigations would prove that all accusations brought against it are baseless", Kaspersky Lab's press service said in a statement as cited by TASS.

"The Department is concerned about the ties between certain Kaspersky officials and Russian intelligence and other government agencies, and requirements under Russian law that allow Russian intelligence agencies to request or compel assistance from Kaspersky and to intercept communications transiting Russian networks", the directive said.

"This action is based on the information security risks presented by the use of Kaspersky products on federal information systems", claimed the Department in its order. "The company does regularly work with governments and law enforcement agencies around the world with the sole objective of fighting cybercrime".

The directive issued by acting Homeland Security Secretary Elaine Duke comes as various US law enforcement and intelligence agencies and several congressional committees are investigating Russian meddling in the 2016 presidential election.

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It said it was concerned about ties between company officials and the Russian intelligence services.

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

"Kaspersky Lab has never helped, nor will help, any government in the world with its cyberespionage or offensive cyber efforts, and it's disconcerting that a private company can be considered guilty until proven innocent, due to geopolitical issues", the company said.

Earlier this year six top intelligence and security officials told a Congressional hearing that they would not use Kaspersky software.

"The reason all this drama is happening is because there were articles that came out indicating that Kaspersky had ties to the Russian government", said Dan Tentler, founder of Phobos Group.

The company's cyber-security software is widely used in the United States, and its billionaire owner, Eugene Kaspersky, has close ties to some Russian intelligence figures, according to US officials.

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


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