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Pentagon and Department of Defense Releases A Blacklist of Software Providers

By Nitish Singh / July 30, 2018

With the Department of Defense and The Pentagon set to work together for future contracts, Defense Undersecretary Ellen Lord listed new guidelines for defense contractors. Any defense contractor listed under the Department of Defense is recommended to avoid software providers from a new list provided by the DOD. The list went into the compilation phase six months ago and had already been handed to all DOD agencies.

Lord revealed in a press conference “What we are doing is making sure that we do not buy software that's Russian or Chinese provenance. Quite often that’s difficult to tell at first glance because of holding companies." The defense undersecretary also revealed at the DOD is looking at US companies which are based abroad and will be reviewing the source code in their software.

The list of “Do Not Buy” software providers contain mostly Chinese and Russian companies that contain the risk of breaching national security. The “Do Not Buy” list is not mandatory for the defense contractors but when working contracts for the Pentagon, any software that is seen as a threat to security will not be allowed.

Three of the DOD agencies will be working with the Pentagon including the Aerospace Industries Association, the National Defense Industrial Association, and the Professional Services Council to alert all listed contractors about the at-risk applications which should be avoided.

It is not the first time that US officials have blacklisted Russian or Chinese products for government use. Last year, Kaspersky’s antivirus solutions were banned while multiple Chinese brands like ZTE and Huawei have been banned from partnering with national telecoms to offer subsidized mobile hardware.

Recently, a Senator endorsed WireGuard VPN as a replacement for currently used solutions in government organizations to avoid data breaches. Officials in the United States fear that the Russian and Chinese governments might gain access to private information and misuse it for cyber attacks against government networks.

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