US Bans Kaspersky Software Over Alleged Ties to Russian Government

Written by Lore Apostol
Published on June 21, 2024

The U.S. announced a "first of its kind" ban on selling antivirus software made by Russian firm Kaspersky Lab in America due to its alleged links to the Kremlin. The announcement, made by the Department of Commerce's Bureau of Industry and Security (BIS) on Thursday, mentioned that Kaspersky’s U.S. operations posed a significant national security risk.

This blockade also affects affiliates, subsidiaries, and parent companies of the Russian multinational cybersecurity and anti-virus provider, as first reported by Reuters, who will need to stop selling Kaspersky software to U.S. customers in the consumer and business sectors starting July 20.

The significant risk to U.S. infrastructure, services, and economy is “due to the Russian Government's offensive cyber capabilities and capacity to influence or direct Kaspersky's operations," the BIS said, adding that total prohibition is the only viable solution to alleviate security concerns involving data theft, espionage, and system malfunction.

The BIS announcement said the Russian government has Kaspersky under its control and jurisdiction. It said the Russian government is using its software to access sensitive U.S. customer information, possibly install malicious software, or withhold critical updates.

Besides, Kaspersky has also been added to the BIS Entity List, which is a U.S. government list containing foreign individuals, companies, and organizations believed to be a national security concern, already being featured on the American Federal Communications Commission's (FCC) Covered List since 2022. Germany and Canada have similar restrictions for Kaspersky.

While Kaspersky software and antivirus signature updates will still be available to existing customers until September 29, it's crucial to note that beyond that date, customers who choose to continue using this product may significantly compromise their security protection, potentially exposing their systems to cyber threats. 

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