Russia might retaliate if the US Congress bans the US Department of Defense from using Kaspersky Lab’s cybersecurity software, Russian Minister of Telecom and Mass Communications Nikolay Nikiforov said.
Any “unilateral political sanctions” by the US might prompt a response from Russia, whose government systems use “a huge proportion of American software and hardware solutions in the IT sphere, even in very sensitive areas,” Nikiforov said in an interview on Friday.
He declined to identify US software products that might be affected by any reciprocal sanctions.
A nation’s use of “foreign software isn’t necessarily about information risks as it undergoes screening and certification procedures” against possible hidden code that might threaten the security of computer networks, he said.
Amid political controversy in the US over computer hacking and alleged Kremlin meddling in last year’s US presidential election, the Senate Armed Services Committee has proposed banning the Pentagon “from using software platforms developed by Kaspersky Lab due to reports that the Moscow-based company might be vulnerable to Russian government influence.”
Kaspersky Lab said it does not cooperate with any government in cyberespionage, Interfax news service reported on Thursday.
FBI agents interviewed at least a dozen Kaspersky Lab employees in the US this week as part of a counterintelligence probe, NBC News reported.
The company has “long been of interest” to the authorities, it added.
There was no indication the interviews were linked to a US investigation into alleged Russian interference in the elections, the broadcaster reported.
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