Kaspersky software banned from USA government computers

DHS Orders Feds to Ditch Software From Russia Linked Kaspersky Lab

Raphael Satter AP

These products don't work unless they're given the ability to monitor and control many aspects of a system.

Kaspersky has fired back at the 'completely unfounded allegations' and said that "no credible evidence has been presented" and that the 'accusations are based on false allegations and inaccurate assumptions'.

In its statement Wednesday, DHS said it is "providing an opportunity for Kaspersky to submit a written response addressing the department's concerns or to mitigate those concerns". "If they want to provide additional information or mitigation strategies, our door is open".

In an unclassified report released in January, top US intelligence agencies concluded Russian President Vladimir Putin waged an unprecedented "influence campaign" in an effort to sway the 2016 USA presidential election in favor of then-candidate Donald Trump.

Worries rippled through the consumer market for antivirus software after the USA government banned federal agencies from using Kaspersky Lab software on Wednesday.

The order applies only to civilian government networks, not the military's.

"The department is concerned about the ties between certain Kaspersky officials and Russian intelligence and other government agencies", the directive said.

The DHS is also giving Kaspersky the opportunity to appeal the directive, albeit experts believe this would be a futile effort. Many had been left to speculate about the risks of sticking with the company or abandoning taxpayer-funded contracts, sometimes at great cost. According to several media reports, FBI agents have even questioned, before summer, a dozen employees of Kaspersky in United States in context of a counterintelligence investigation.

Richard Ledgett, former National Security Agency deputy director, hailed the move.

Kaspersky has a track record of providing security software, which is now deployed on about 400 million computers and can be found in 270,000 organizations across the globe.

The department has expressed concerns about the potential ties of Moscow-based Kaspersky to the Russian government that could exploit the company's products to compromise federal data infrastructure.

This action is based on the information security risks presented by the use of Kaspersky products on federal information systems.

Homeland Security took this step ahead of a vote in the US Senate which sought to prohibit the use of the software security firm's technology by government.

China had banned Kaspersky from Government contracts in 2014, however, it also banned Symantec in the same round and so may not be a reasonable comparison.

Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov told reporters in Moscow on September 14 that US actions "cast a shadow over the image of our American colleagues as reliable partners" and violate "all worldwide trade rules".

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