Russia condemns decision to bar U.S. government use of Kaspersky

Posted Sep 14, 2017 by Ken Hanly
Russia has complained that the U.S. government decision to stop government use of Kaspersky Lab software undermines free competition. The U.S. Department of Homeland Security expressed concern about ties between the company and Russian intelligence.
Kaspersky Labs founder Eugene Kaspersky  seen at a 2013 forum in Washington  denies his company has ...
Kaspersky Labs founder Eugene Kaspersky, seen at a 2013 forum in Washington, denies his company has any ties to the Russian government
Kaspersky had repeatedly denied that it has any connection to the Russian government or intelligence services. Kaspersky Lab is a huge multinational cybersecurity and anti-virus provider with headquarters in Moscow. However, it is operated by a holding company in the U.K. The firm was founded in 1997 by Eugene Kaspersky who is the present CEO. It has an excellent reputation and is widely used although some claim the firm has connection with Russian intelligence services. The firm has about 400 million customers worldwide.
Russia said that the U.S. decision "called into question the reliability of the United States as partners" and would undermine the competitive position of Russian firms around the world. Already the large retailer Best Buy has decided not to sell Kaspersky products in its stores. It is not clear why the U.S. government decision has just now been made to stop using the Kaspersky software. The allegations about Kaspersky having cosy relations with Russian intelligence have been around for years.
An earlier statement from the Russian embassy in New York said the move would prolong ongoing diplomatic disputes between the two countries: "These steps can only evoke regrets. They only move back the prospects of bilateral ties recovery." Homeland Security Department Secretary, Elaine Duke, said: "The department is concerned about the ties between certain Kaspersky officials and Russian intelligence and other government agencies. The risk that the Russian government, whether acting on its own or in collaboration with Kaspersky, could capitalise on access provided by Kaspersky products to compromise federal information and information systems directly implicates U.S. national security."
Kaspersky expressed disappointment at the U.S. decision and claimed the company was being used as a pawn in a political game. The company said: "No credible evidence has been presented publicly by anyone or any organisation as the accusations are based on false allegations and inaccurate assumptions."
In July, the U.S. General Services Administration removed Kaspersky Lab from a list of approved vendors. The U.S. is not the first country to ban the use of Kaspersky by the government. Back in August of 2014 Kaspersky along with its U.S. rival Symantec were banned for use by the Chinese central government. However, local governments, large enterprises and individuals could still use the products.