USA bans government use of software from Russian firm Kaspersky

Under scrutiny, Kaspersky Lab considers changes to US subsidiary

US bans use of Kaspersky software in federal agencies amid concerns of Russian espionage

But Kaspersky also sells to federal contractors and third-party software companies that incorporate its technology in their products, so its technology may be more widely used in government than it appears from the contracting databases, US officials say.

One worst-case scenario the DHS outlines is that Russian intelligence agencies might work with Kaspersky officials to extract data from United States systems, using the very software that United States government agencies have installed to protect themselves.

Now, the Department of Homeland Security is putting a halt to that and ordering all agencies to get rid of the software within 90 days.

This is the first time the USA government has taken action and the clearest signal that the claims are being taken seriously.

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Indeed, the Department itself admitted that it didn't have any evidence of compromise. "This opportunity is also available to any other entity that claims its commercial interests will be directly impacted by the directive". He denies all charges of Russian government influence in his computer security products.

"No credible evidence has been presented publicly by anyone or any organisation as the accusations are based on false allegations and inaccurate assumptions", the company said in a statement.

"Eugene Kaspersky, CEO and founder of Kaspersky Lab, has repeatedly offered to meet with government officials, testify before the U.S. Congress and provide the company's source code for an official audit to help address any questions the U.S. government has about the company", the company said in a statement earlier this month.

Minnesota Sen. Amy Klobuchar, the ranking Democrat on the Senate Rules Committee, sent a letter to Duke asking the department for information about the government's use of Kaspersky products, especially on critical infrastructure and election systems. It has tried largely in vain to become a vendor to the USA government, one of the world's biggest buyers of cyber tools. "Many of those companies will now feel compelled to go through their systems and remove this antivirus program, as well as conduct a risk assessment". "The company looks forward to working with DHS, as Kaspersky Lab ardently believes a deeper examination of the company will substantiate that these allegations are without merit", the statement said.

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Kaspersky Lab's statements ignore the fact that it faces a wider backlash after retailer Best Buy withdrew its products from its shelves.

"Given that our intelligence officials would not use Kaspersky Lab software, it is alarming that essential USA government agencies do".

When the GSA announced its July decision, it underscored that its mission was to "ensure the integrity and security of USA government systems and networks" and that Kaspersky was delisted "after review and careful consideration".

Vendors have survived this sort of thing before: Huawei remains forbidden from selling to the USA and Australian governments, but its consumer handset business is doing very well in both markets and its enterprise business is a contender in many industries.

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