Russian software company vendor Kaspersky banned from US federal computers

Russian software company

Russian software company vendor Kaspersky banned from US federal computers

Russian software company vendor Kaspersky banned from US federal computers. The US government will have to dispense with its security solutions for fear that they will allow Moscow to spy on it.

The government of the United States has launched an ultimatum to all departments and federal agencies in the country. The institutions will have to begin uninstalling the software of the Russian security publisher Kaspersky within 90 days.

The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) has ordered the agencies and ministries of the country to do without this software, antivirus in particular, lest the latter do not allow Moscow to spy on them. In order to function, security solutions like those of Kaspersky, one of the world leaders in the sector, require deep access to the computer systems they protect.

In particular, the US authorities are worried about “the links between some Kaspersky executives and Russian intelligence” and the legal obligation for Russian companies to work closely with the country’s intelligence agencies.

“The risk that the Russian government, on its own initiative or with the help of Kaspersky, can take advantage of the access provided by the company to compromise the federal computer systems is a matter of national security,” writes the DHS in a press release. The latter is also open to any dispute on the part of the company, which it invites to provide “a reply as well as all the relevant evidence or data” about these accusations.

“No credible evidence”

In a statement, the company refuted any “inappropriate” connection with the government, saying “why no credible evidence to prove these charges has ever been advanced”  : 

“Kaspersky has never helped or will ever help any government in espionage or computer offensive, and it is troubling that a company is presumed guilty due to geopolitical issues. “

The company refers to the strong tensions between Moscow and Washington since the United States accused Russia of having interfered in the 2016 presidential election, notably through computer piracy. The Russian embassy in Washington reacted and described the decision of the US government as “unfortunate”, saying it made the “prospects for restoring bilateral relations” even more precarious between the two countries. Russian software company

The decision of the DHS is political, explains Julien Nocetti, researcher specialist of Internet and Russia to the French Institute of the international relations:

“Kaspersky is an emblematic company, one of the few Russian economic players to be truly globalized and whose scope is global. It’s pretty symbolic. “

This decision must be compared with that taken recently by the authorities to consider the RT channel as an “agent from abroad”, also explains the researcher. “The United States is focusing on the influence side and the computer security aspect. This is significant of the will to tap where it hurts “explains Mr. Nocetti. Russian software company 
The suspicion of proximity between the Russian services and Kaspersky dates back to 2012 but has intensified in recent months. In July, US authorities had already removed Kaspersky from two lists of approved security software vendors. Shortly before the Committee on strengths arm, led Senate had amended the bill of Finance of the Ministry of Defense in order to prevent them from resorting to software manufactured by the Russian company. According to several media reports, FBI agents even interviewed a dozen Kaspersky employees in the United States before the summer in the course of an investigation of counter-espionage. In an interview over the summer, the CEO of the company, Eugene Kaspersky, even offered to provide the source code of its software to the US government, so that the latter can ensure its loyal operation.