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14 September 2017, 12:44 | Brenda Erickson
US bans use of Kaspersky software in federal agencies amid concerns of Russian espionage
According to a statement provided by the Department of Homeland Security to the Washington Post: "The risk that the Russian government, whether acting on its own or in collaboration with Kaspersky, could capitalize on access provided by Kaspersky products to compromise federal information and information systems directly implicates us national security".
"The risk that the Russian government, whether acting on its own or in collaboration with Kaspersky, could capitalize on access provided by Kaspersky products to compromise federal information and information systems directly implicates US national security", it said.
This follows increasing scrutiny Kaspersky products have faced in recent months amid heightened concerns around potential Russian-borne cyber threats.
The risk that the Russian government, whether acting on its own or in collaboration with Kaspersky, could capitalize on access provided by Kaspersky products to compromise federal information and information systems directly implicates United States national security.
Still, aside from Kaspersky's ties to Russia and the word "cyber", there's no public evidence to show that the company is colluding with Russian intelligence services.
Kaspersky counts among its ranks former Russian intelligence officials and has assisted Russian authorities in investigations of cybercrime, but such links to domestic security services and assistance are routine in the cybersecurity industry. Last week, Best Buy Co, the No.1 USA electronics retailer, said it was pulling Kaspersky Lab's cyber security products from its shelves and website.
Agencies in the executive branch are expected to begin the process of discontinuing Kaspersky products within 90 days.
The company has faced rumors that it could be coerced into sharing information with the Russian government for some time, but those allegations have garnered more attention as Washington reacts to the mounting evidence of Russian meddling in the 2016 presidential election.
The federal ban could lead to pressure on state and local governments to ditch Kaspersky products as well.
In July, the chief executive of Russia's Kaspersky Lab, Eugene Kaspersky, told The Associated Press at his Moscow headquarters that US government officials can examine his company's source code to dispel suspicions about his company's ties to the Kremlin.
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"Given that our intelligence officials would not use Kaspersky Lab software, it is alarming that essential US government agencies do".
The statement goes on to say that "North America remains a strategic market for Kaspersky Lab".
The US-owned Best Buy chain sazid it would no longer sell Kaspersky products.
With Kaspersky booted from American federal networks, the Russian government may strike back at American firms.
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