Security

Best Buy Drops Kaspersky Lab Products Amidst National Security Concerns

Matt Broersma is a long standing tech freelance, who has worked for Ziff-Davis, ZDnet and other leading publications

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The move follows US government allegations that Kaspersky Lab’s products could be used to carry out ‘nefarious activities against the United States’

Best Buy, America’s largest electronics retailer, has confirmed it has stopped selling products from Moscow-based Kaspersky Lab amidst US government criticism of the company.

In recent months Kaspersky has been targeted by US government efforts to stop its use by government bodies and in sensitive industries such as the energy sector, alleging the company’s customer data is vulnerable to being accessed by the Russian government.

‘Too many questions’

Kaspersky has denied this is the case and has said its users’ data is secure

The firm did however confirm its relationship with Best Buy has been suspended.

eugene kaspersky
Kaspersky Lab chief executive Eugene Kaspersky.

“The relationship may be re-evaluated in the future,” Kaspersky said in a statement. “Kaspersky Lab has enjoyed a decade-long partnership with Best Buy and its customer base, and Kaspersky Lab will continue to offer its industry-leading cybersecurity solutions to consumers through its website and other retailers.”

Best Buy also confirmed the move, but declined to offer further comment. The retailer said its technical staff could remove Kaspersky software from users’ systems.

On Friday the Star-Tribune, a newspaper in Best Buy’s home state of Minnesota, reported the retailer had dropped Kaspersky because it “felt there were too many unanswered questions”. The report cited unnamed people familiar with the decision.

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‘Nefarious activities’

In July the US’ General Services Administration removed Kaspersky from an approved-vendors list, while Congress began efforts to pass a law that would ban the firm’s products from being used by the Department of Defence.

As part of those efforts a congressional panel in late July asked federal government agencies to share information on Kaspersky because the firm’s tools could be used to carry out “nefarious activities against the United States”.

The proposed law was amended last week to ban Kaspersky’s software from any federal computer.

Meanwhile, the FBI has reportedly been giving private briefings to US companies since the beginning of this year in which it urges them to stop using Kaspersky products and citing the company as a threat to national security.

Kaspersky said the reported briefings were “extremely disappointing” given that the company is “law-abiding and ethical”.

“The company doesn’t have inappropriate ties with any government, which is why no credible evidence has been presented publicly by anyone or any organisation,” Kaspersky said at the time, adding it “has never helped, nor will help, any government in the world with its cyber-espionage or offensive cyber efforts”.

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