US Officially Bans Kaspersky Products From Government Systems

US Officially Bans Kaspersky Products From Government Systems

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In a Binding Operational Directive published today by the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), the US government has banned the use of Kaspersky Lab security software on government computers.

The decision comes after a Senate Intelligence Committee accused the Russian antivirus vendor of having secret ties to the Russian government.

Senate meetings were held on the topic, and the FBI interviewed a dozen Kaspersky employees working at the company’s US offices.

Agencies have 90 days to remove Kaspersky software

According to the Directive issued today, the DHS is instructing government agencies to “identify any use or presence of Kaspersky products on their information systems in the next 30 days, to develop detailed plans to remove and discontinue present and future use of the products in the next 60 days, and at 90 days.”

Below is the section of the DHS directive that explains the US government’s decision to remove Kaspersky software from government PCs.

This action is based on the information security risks presented by the use of Kaspersky products on federal information systems. Kaspersky anti-virus products and solutions provide broad access to files and elevated privileges on the computers on which the software is installed, which can be exploited by malicious cyber actors to compromise those information systems. The Department is concerned about the ties between certain Kaspersky officials and Russian intelligence and other government agencies, and requirements under Russian law that allow Russian intelligence agencies to request or compel assistance from Kaspersky and to intercept communications transiting Russian networks. 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 U.S. national security.

The DHS is also giving Kaspersky the opportunity to appeal the directive, albeit experts believe this would be a futile effort.

Ever since rumors about the US government’s intentions have surfaced, Kaspersky Lab has vehemently denied any accusations.

FBI pushing private sector away from Kaspersky

A month ago, reports revealed the FBI had been holding meetings with the US private sector and pressuring US companies to ditch Kaspersky products.

Last week, US retailer Best Buy removed all Kaspersky Lab products from its stores.

In retaliation to the mounting attacks on Kaspersky’s reputation in the US, Russian President Vladimir Putin has pledged support for a law that favors Russian software over foreign products on Russian government networks.

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