Daily Management Review

Government Use Of Kaspersky Lab Software Limited By Trump Administration


07/12/2017




Government Use Of Kaspersky Lab Software Limited By Trump Administration
Amid concerns the cyber security firm's products could be used by the Kremlin to gain entry into U.S. networks, Moscow-based Kaspersky Lab was removed from two lists of approved vendors used by government agencies to purchase technology equipment by the Trump administration on Tuesday.
 
There have been mounting suspicion over months now among the intelligence officials and lawmakers that the company is likely to be closely connected to some of the hostile Russian intelligence agencies which have been accused of cyber attacks on the United States and this most recent delisting represents the most concrete action taken against Kaspersky.
 
An agency spokeswoman said in a statement that for contracts that cover information technology services and digital photographic equipment, Kaspersky products have been removed from the U.S. General Services Administration's list of vendors.
 
The spokeswoman said that the GSA's priorities "are to ensure the integrity and security of U.S. government systems and networks" and added that the action was taken "after review and careful consideration."
 
Kaspersky products purchased separate from the GSA contract process could still be allowed ot be used by government agencies.
 
Kaspersky has been a leading player in the cyber security market for decades and its anti-virus software is popular in the United States and around the world.
 
Regarding its vendor status, it had not received any updates from GSA or any other U.S. government agency, Kaspersky Lab said in a statement.
 
“Kaspersky Lab has no ties to any government, and the company has never helped, nor will help, any government in the world with its cyberespionage efforts," the company said.
 
While each side is attempting to use the company as a pawn in their political game", it had been "caught in the middle of a geopolitical fight, the firm added.
 
The day that the ABC News reported the Trump administration was considering implementing a broader ban that would block agencies from using Kaspersky software, the delisting was done by the Trump administration.
 
A defense spending policy bill that would ban Kaspersky products from use in the military was passed last month by the Senate Armed Services Committee. As part of a counterintelligence investigation into its operations the FBI interviewed several of the company's U.S. employees at their private homes just a day before the move came.
 
They were reviewing government use of software from Kaspersky Lab, senior U.S. intelligence officials said in testimony before the Senate Intelligence Committee in May.
 
In a particularly sensitive issue given allegations by U.S. intelligence agencies that Russia hacked and leaked emails of Democratic Party and political groups to interfere in the 2016 presidential election campaign, lawmakers have raised concerns that Moscow might use the firm's products to attack American computer networks.
 
Russia denies the allegations.
 
The RIA news agency reported that Kaspersky Lab said it was ready to respond to any questions from U.S. officials.
 
"By all appearances, Kaspersky Lab happened to be dragged into a geopolitical fight where each side is trying to use the company as a pawn in its game," RIA quoted the company's press service as saying.
 
the press service was cited as saying that company head Eugene Kaspersky has offered to testify to the U.S. Congress "to respond to all questions from the U.S. government that may arise" and has more than once proposed meeting U.S. government officials.
 
(Source:www.reuters.com) 






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