Homeland Security Orders Removal of Kaspersky Lab Antivirus from Government Computers

Russia calls US ban on Kaspersky products 'regrettable' (Lead)

"It goes on to state that the action is based on the information security risks presented by the use of the products since the software has access to files and privileges on the computers on which it is installed and that it can be exploited by 'cyber actors to compromise those information systems". The firm has about 400 million customers worldwide.

The intelligence community - particularly the Federal Bureau of Investigation - has been investigating ties between Kaspersky Lab and the Russian government, but has yet to provide the public with any hard evidence of collusion or influence.

This move by DHS is the latest in a series of actions taken by the USA government to vilify the Russia-based antivirus company and get its products away from government information systems.

On Wednesday, the US Department of Homeland Security announced that Kaspersky Lab products threatened the country's national security and urged US government agencies to abandon its products.

The head of Kaspersky Lab Eugene Kaspersky has agreed to serve in the U.S. Congress.

Nicholas Weaver, a computer security researcher at the University of California, Berkeley, called the US government decision "prudent"; he had argued for such a step in July.

Kaspersky Lab has repeatedly denied that it has ties to the Kremlin. He told Engel his company has had "zero contact with the offensive agencies in Russian intelligence".

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The US Department of Homeland Security said it was concerned about ties between company officials and the Russian intelligence services.

DHS has given Kaspersky 90 days to provide proof that its products are not facilitating espionage for Russian Federation or to offer mitigating measures. The retail giant Best Buy has said it would stop selling the company's software.

However, the company has not been able to shake off the allegations.

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.

During a Senate hearing in May, American security officials including the chiefs of the Federal Bureau of Investigation and Central Intelligence Agency were asked if they were comfortable having Kaspersky software running on their organizations' computers.

Kaspersky has agreed to serve in Congress after the ban on the company's products in the Federal agencies of the United States. "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.

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