Kaspersky Banned: Federal Agencies Ditch Russian Cybersecurity Firm Over Spying Concerns

Audrey Hill
September 14, 2017

The Department of Homeland Security has ordered federal agencies to stop using software made by Kaspersky Lab over concerns about the company's ties to Russian intelligence, DHS announced Wednesday.

Officials say that the prominent company poses a threat to USA 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 US national security", it added. The company's founder, Eugene Kaspersky, graduated from a KGB-supported cryptography school and had worked in Russian military intelligence.

The General Services Administration removed Kaspersky from a list of pre-approved technology vendors in July, after press reports emerged linking the company to Russian intel.

There was no immediate reaction to the Homeland Security directive by Kaspersky. In a statement on Wednesday, DHS Acting Secretary Elaine Duke directed all Executive Branch agencies and departments to identify any Kaspersky products being used over the next 30 days, to make a plan to eliminate their use in the next 60 days and to begin that discontinuation within 90 days.

"Expanding the company's presence in the region will better enable Kaspersky Lab to provide its customers with the best cybersecurity solutions and services", the statement said.

"No credible evidence has been presented publicly by anyone or any organization as the accusations are based on false allegations and inaccurate assumptions, including claims about the impact of Russian regulations and policies on the company", it said in a statement.

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

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Concerns about Kaspersky software had been brewing for years, according to one former official who told The Post that some congressional staffers were warned by federal law enforcement officials as early as November 2015 not to meet with employees from Kaspersky, over concerns about electronic surveillance.

Kaspersky Lab has laughed off attempts to have its wares banned from United States government computers by saying it hardly sold to the Feds anyway.

Sen. Jeanne Shaheen, D-N.H, has been pushing to prohibit the federal government from using the firm's products.

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 USA officials.

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.

"No" was the reply given by then-acting FBI Director Andrew McCabe, CIA Director Mike Pompeo, National Intelligence Director Dan Coats, National Security Agency Director Adm. Mike Rogers, National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency Director Robert Cardillo and Defense Intelligence Agency Director Lt. Gen. Vincent Stewart.

Other reports by MaliBehiribAe

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