US Law Bans Kaspersky Security Products From Government Systems

The US government has signed into law a ban on Kaspersky Lab software for government agencies amid concerns the company has ties to the Russian government.

The ban applies to both civilian and military networks and follows an order earlier this year for official agencies to remove the antivirus software within 90 days.

The FBI has also reportedly advised private firms not to use Kaspersky’s products and some retailers, such as Best Buy, have removed them from shelves.

Kaspersky has repeatedly denied any links to the Kremlin and had even offered its source code for inspection. It told Silicon that it had serious concerns about the legislation and claimed it had been unfairly singled out by Washington.

Kaspersky response

“All software, including various products more widely deployed in government networks than Kaspersky Lab software, can have vulnerabilities exploited by a malicious cyber actor,” said a Kaspersky Lab spokesperson.

“Yet, Congress failed to address this fact or take a comprehensive look at federal IT sourcing policies to determine what improvements, if any, Congress could make to existing statutory and administrative authorities related to protecting government networks.

“Instead, Congress singled out Kaspersky Lab based solely on the location of its headquarters, resulting in substantial and irreparable harm to the company, its U.S.-based employees, and its U.S.-based business partners.

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“Kaspersky Lab is assessing whether any further action is appropriate to protect its interests. In the meantime, Kaspersky Lab continues to prioritize protecting its customers from cyber threats, regardless of their origin or purpose, and collaborating globally with the IT security community to fight cybercrime.”

The UK government has also said it has concerns. Earlier this month, GCHQ’s National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC) warned government departments not to use antivirus software with links to Russia for systems related to national security.

Although not a government agency, Barclays decided to halt its offer of free Kaspersky protection to customers on receipt of the new advice.

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Steve McCaskill

Steve McCaskill is editor of TechWeekEurope and ChannelBiz. He joined as a reporter in 2011 and covers all areas of IT, with a particular interest in telecommunications, mobile and networking, along with sports technology.

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