Security Worries Prompt Federal Halt On Kaspersky Software

Buy sign at a store in Hialeah Fla. Best Buy said it will no longer sell software made by the Russian company Kaspersky Labs

"This wasn't an easy action for the USA 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.

The Department claims that the Russian government could compel Kaspersky to compromise its own products on behalf of Russian intelligence, although there is no evidence either of such a request or of Kaspersky software being mis-used in this or any other way.

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

Part of the problem with Kaspersky is certain company officials, according to DHS, have ties with Russian intelligence, which means it's possible Kaspersky could share sensitive information garnered from federal networks with the Russian government.

The move comes amid several federal investigations into whether the Russian government attempted to meddle in the 2016 USA presidential election.

The order comes from the Department of Homeland Security with a directive to all federal agencies to identify Kaspersky products on their systems within 30 days and to discontinue usage within 90 days. "The risk that the Russian government, whether acting on its own or in collaboration with Kaspersky, could capitalize on access provided by Kaspersky products to compromise federal information and information systems directly implicates US national security".

"The reason all this drama is happening is because there were articles that came out indicating that Kaspersky had ties to the Russian government", said Dan Tentler, founder of Phobos Group.

In a statement, DHS echoed this sentiment Wednesday. A spokesperson for Target said that "we now carry Kaspersky products in Target stores and are reviewing this, given today's news". The FSB is the successor agency of the KGB. He said American employees had been leaving the company at a rapid pace in recent weeks.

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".

Kaspersky has also attracted attention on Capitol Hill.

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.

For DHS, even the possibility of such sharing is an unacceptable risk to national security. "Public contracting reports show that Kaspersky Lab software has been used by the Department of Justice, the Treasury Department, the Department of State and several other agencies".

Kaspersky has more than 400 million customers worldwide, but it has never succeeded in becoming a major supplier to the U.S. government.

Kaspersky Lab, on the other hand, firmly denies the accusations, stating that it "doesn't have any inappropriate ties with any government" and that there's "no credible evidence" to back up the "false allegations".

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