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

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

Earlier Wednesday, the DHS issued a Binding Operational Directive (BOD) calling on the U.S. departments and agencies to identify and "to develop detailed plans to remove and discontinue present and future use of the products" supplied by Kaspersky Lab within 90 days.

Law360, Nashville (September 13, 2017, 4:53 PM EDT) - The U.S. Department of Homeland Security ordered federal agencies Wednesday to stop using Kaspersky Lab software and services amid concerns about possible security risks, citing links between Kaspersky officials and the Russian government.

The decision was made after the GSA raised concerns about a vulnerability in Kaspersky that could provide the Russian government backdoor access to systems running the security firm's products.

The directive said Kaspersky's anti-virus products allow "broad access" to files and can be exploited by "malicious cyberactors" to compromise the systems.

"The risk that the Russian government - whether acting on its own or in collaboration with Kaspersky - could capitalize on access provided by Kaspersky products (in order) to compromise federal information and information systems directly implicates USA national security", the directive said. According to the company, American officials have misinterpreted Russian law.

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.

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.

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"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", Kaspersky said.

In a statement provided to BuzzFeed News after the DHS announcement, Kaspersky said that it "has never helped, nor will help, any government in the world with its cyberespionage or offensive cyber efforts, and it's disconcerting that a private company can be considered guilty until proven innocent, due to geopolitical issues".

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.

In July, the chief executive of Russia's Kaspersky Lab, Eugene Kaspersky, told The Associated Press at his Moscow headquarters that USA government officials can examine his company's source code to dispel suspicions about his company's ties to the Kremlin.

"The truth is we don't know if Kaspersky has direct ties", he said.

A Kaspersky Lab spokesperson said in a statement that the company is disappointed in the DHS decision and will provide additional information "to confirm that these allegations are completely unfounded".

It will take some time to stop the government from using Kaspersky products.

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