Fri, Sep 15, 2017 - Page 7 News List

Moscow ‘regrets’ US ban on Kaspersky

STATE LINKS:Critics have said it is unlikely that Eugene Kaspersky’s firm is operating independently in Russia, where spy agencies’ influence has expanded dramatically


A decision by the US government to stop using Kaspersky Lab products is “regrettable” and delays the prospects of a restoration of bilateral ties, the Russian embassy in the US said.

The administration of US President Donald Trump has told US government agencies to remove Kaspersky Lab products from their networks.

Washington said it was concerned the Moscow-based cybersecurity firm was vulnerable to Kremlin influence and that using its anti-virus software could jeopardize national security.

“These steps can only evoke regrets. They only move back the prospects of bilateral ties recovery,” the embassy said in a statement issued late on Wednesday.

It also called for consideration of Russia’s proposal to form a joint group to address cybersecurity issues.

The directive issued by US Acting Secretary of Homeland Security Elaine Duke comes as various US law enforcement and intelligence agencies and several congressional committees are investigating Russian meddling in last year’s US presidential election.

Kaspersky said in a statement that it was disappointed by the directive and insisted that “it does not have unethical ties or affiliations with any government, including Russia.”

Duke directed all US federal agencies and departments to stop using products or services supplied directly or indirectly by the Russian-owned and operated company.

The directive gives agencies 30 days to determine whether they are using any Kaspersky products. The software must be removed from all information systems within 90 days.

“The [US] Department [of Homeland Security] is concerned about the ties between certain Kaspersky officials and Russian intelligence and other government agencies,” the directive said, adding that the department is also concerned about Russian laws that would permit Russian spy agencies to compel Kaspersky to provide assistance or intercept communications transiting Russian networks.

“The risk that the Russian government — whether acting on its own or in collaboration with Kaspersky — could capitalize on access provided by Kaspersky products [in order] to compromise federal information and information systems directly implicates US national security,” the directive said.

The directive provides Kaspersky an opportunity to respond or mitigate the department’s concerns.

Kaspersky said the company was happy to have an opportunity to provide information to show that the allegations are unfounded.

“No credible evidence has been presented publicly by anyone or any organization, as the accusations are based on false allegations and inaccurate assumptions, including claims about the impact of Russian regulations and policies on the company,” Kaspersky said.

Kaspersky said it is not subject to the Russian laws cited in the directive, adding that information received by the company is protected in accordance with legal requirements and stringent industry standards, including encryption.

“Kaspersky Lab has never helped, nor will help, any government in the world with its cyberespionage or offensive cyberefforts, and it’s disconcerting that a private company can be considered guilty until proven innocent, due to geopolitical issues,” Kaspersky said.

Electronics retailer Best Buy has removed Kaspersky products from its shelves, although it declined to explain why., which sells Kaspersky software, declined to comment.

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