Kaspersky Lab to prove that U.S. accusations are 'baseless'

An employee works near screens in the virus lab at the headquarters of Russian cyber security company Kaspersky Labs in Moscow
Under scrutiny, Kaspersky Lab considers changes to US subsidiary
Author

14 September, 2017

According to the report, in newsletter The Bell, the firm may shutter its Kaspersky Government Security Solutions office as government agencies - who are among the world's biggest buyers of cybersecurity tools - are effectively banned from using its services.

Acting Department of Homeland Security secretary Elaine Duke announced the ban of Kaspersky Lab software from federal government networks.

The Department of Homeland Security says the risk is that the Russian government, acting on its own or in collaboration with Kaspersky, could use computer access to compromise USA government systems.

Founder and chief executive Eugene Kaspersky said he has repeatedly offered to present the company's source code to U.S. officials for an audit, but has not been given the opportunity to do so. "This wasn't an easy action for the U.S. government to take, and it will also have significant ramifications for corporations that use Kaspersky", explained Hamerstone, who is the Practice Lead for the Governance, Risk, and Compliance division at security consultant TrustedSec.

"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.

More news: Facebook says it sold political ads to fake Russian Federation accounts

This is the first time the US government has taken action and the clearest signal that the claims are being taken seriously. Unless directed otherwise by DHS based on new information, agencies and departments have 90 days from the date of the directive to discontinue use of Kaspersky Lab products. In a New York Times column earlier this month, Shaheen warned that the company poses a danger to USA security. During a Senate hearing on Russian election interference in March, former NSA director Keith Alexander said he wouldn't trust Kaspersky products on his own computer and suggested that others shouldn't use it either. The company's founder, Eugene Kaspersky, graduated from a KGB-supported cryptography school and had worked in Russian military intelligence. Best Buy did not link its decision to US Senator Jeanne Shaheen's attempt to have Kaspersky banned on government computers, but didn't explain it either. "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".

In a Tuesday statement, Kaspersky said it was "exploring opportunities to better optimize" the D.C. office.

Also in July, the USA government's General Services Administration removed Kaspersky Lab from a list of approved vendors.

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, USA officials say.

Vendors have survived this sort of thing before: Huawei remains forbidden from selling to the U.S. 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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