You are currently viewing US bans Russian antivirus software maker Kaspersky over national security concerns – SiliconANGLE News

US bans Russian antivirus software maker Kaspersky over national security concerns – SiliconANGLE News

The U.S. Commerce Department today announced that it’s banning Kaspersky Lab Inc., the U.S. subsidiary of Russian antivirus software maker Kaspersky, and its subsidiaries and parent companies from selling its software in the U.S.

The decision from the Department of Commerce’s Bureau of Industry and Security institutes the ban starting July 20. The company is further prohibited from rolling out new security updates to existing customers starting Sept. 29.

The reason behind the ban is not surprising: national security. The Commerce Department claims that the decision, made after a lengthy investigation, found that Kaspersky’s continued operations in the U.S. presented a national security risk given the Russian government’s offensive cyber capabilities and its capacity to influence or direct Kaspersky’s operations, the latter of which cannot be addressed through mitigation methods.

The department is encouraging individuals and companies that use Kaspersky software to transition to new vendors to limit exposure to personal or other sensitive data from a potential lack of cybersecurity coverage. Companies and individuals that continue to use existing Kaspersky products and services will not face any legal penalties but must assume all the cybersecurity and associated risks in doing so.

“Russia has shown time and again [that] they have the capability and intent to exploit Russian companies, like Kaspersky Lab, to collect and weaponize sensitive U.S. information, and we will continue to use every tool at our disposal to safeguard U.S. national security and the American people,” Secretary of Commerce Gina Raimondo said in a statement. “Today’s action, our first use of the Commerce Department’s ICTS authorities, demonstrates Commerce’s role in support of our national defense and shows our adversaries we will not hesitate to act when they use their technology poses a risk to [the] United States and its citizens.”

Attempts to limit or ban Kaspersky’s activities in the U.S. date back to 2017 when the Trump administration banned software from the company being used by most U.S. government agencies. The U.S. Department of Homeland Security then ordered government agencies to stop using Kaspersky software later the same year.

Kaspersky fought the initial bans in court but ultimately failed, and the company’s products were permanently banned from government use in 2019. The company’s complete ban from the U.S. in 2024 comes amid increasing geopolitical tensions, particularly Russia’s ongoing invasion of Ukraine.

In response to the ban, a spokesperson for Kaspersky told Nextgov that the company “believes that the Department of Commerce made its decision based on the present geopolitical climate and theoretical concerns, rather than on a comprehensive evaluation of the integrity of Kaspersky’s products and services,” and that “the company intends to pursue all legally available options to preserve its current operations and relationships.”

Photo: Wikimedia Commons

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