Kaspersky: US government removes Russian security software

DHS bans Kaspersky on federal PCs over Russia fears

Kaspersky: US government removes Russian security software

The order comes from the Department of Homeland Security with a directive to all federal agencies to identify Kaspersky products on their systems within 30 days and to discontinue usage within 90 days.

USA federal agencies are being told to stop using computer software supplied by Kaspersky Lab because of concerns about ties between company officials and the Kremlin and Russian spy operations.

At a hearing of the Senate Intelligence Committee in May, six of the US intelligence community's top officials all said they would not allow the use of Kaspersky software products in their systems.

Last week, Best Buy Co, the No.1 USA electronics retailer, said it was pulling Kaspersky Lab's cyber security products from its shelves and website. Kaspersky anti-virus products and solutions provide broad access to files and elevated privileges on the computers on which the software is installed, which can be exploited by malicious cyber actors to compromise those information systems.

"Given that US government sales have not been a significant part of the company's activity in North America, Kaspersky Lab is exploring opportunities to better optimize the Washington D.C. office responsible for threat intelligence offerings to USA government entities", a Kaspersky spokeswoman said in a statement to Reuters.

Rep. Bennie Thompson, D-Miss., the ranking member of the House Homeland Security Committee, said that since the election, questions have intensified about federal information networks use of the Russian company's software.

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

Kaspersky Lab, on the other hand, firmly denies the accusations, stating that it "doesn't have any inappropriate ties with any government" and that there's "no credible evidence" to back up the "false allegations".

She also expressed concern that Russian intelligence agencies can by law request or compel assistance from Kaspersky, including in intercepting communications transiting Russian networks.

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. "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 is a direct threat to national security".

Kaspersky said it was disappointed by the decision but would attempt to prove that the allegations were unfounded.

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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