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News Worms


DHS Bans Use of Kaspersky Lab Software in US Government

DHS Bans Use of Kaspersky Lab Software in US Government

The Department of Homeland Security issued a directive to agencies ordering them to identify Kaspersky products on their information systems within 30 days, develop plans to remove and discontinue the products within 60 days, and begin discontinuing their use within 90 days. "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". Kaspersky claimed that it is not subject to stringent rules governing firms such as internet service providers and which grant the Kremlin broad authorities over such companies.

The move is the culmination of months of distrust of Kaspersky from figures in Washington, all tinged with the allegation that company has inappropriate ties with or can be compromised by Russian intelligence agencies.

The move comes amid heightened strains between Russian Federation and the U.S. over Moscow's alleged interference in last year's United States presidential election.

Kaspersky said in a statement that it was disappointed by the directive and insisted "it does not have unethical ties or affiliations with any government, including Russian Federation".

"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 agency said. During a Senate hearing on Russian election interference in March, former NSA director Keith Alexander said he wouldn't trust Kaspersky products on his own computer and suggested that others shouldn't use it either.

Kaspersky Labs has been invited to comment on the directive with a written response, the Department of Homeland Security said today.

The DHS further explained that its decision is based on assessments of the "information security risks presented by the use of Kaspersky products on federal information systems". A 2012 report from Bloomberg discussed founder Eugene Kaspersky's ties to the Russian FSB and his background in KGB-sponsored cryptography research.

Best Buy announced last week it would stop selling Kaspersky products over concerns about the company's Russian government ties.

Those offices, home to the Kaspersky Lab subsidiary KGSS that is dedicated to the USA federal market, were empty when a Reuters reporter visited them in July. The action removed the company from the list of products approved for purchase on federal systems and at discounted prices for state governments.

Shaheen has been working to pass a government-wide ban on Kaspersky software, which would effectively make the directive the law. Many had been left to speculate about the risks of sticking with the company or abandoning taxpayer-funded contracts, sometimes at great cost. "Kaspersky is a direct threat to national security".

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