Software firm Kaspersky Lab is back under the microscope of the federal government — this time, leading to an FBI investigation for possible links to Russian security services.
The repercussions of this possible tie between Kaspersky and Russian intelligence could be futile in their impact, especially in the states. Kaspersky’s software is widely used by state governments, but also ordinary Americans. According to Kaspersky, the firm has over 400 million users around the globe. In addition to its widely used antivirus software, it also holds a robust business analyzing and investigating cyberthreats.
But according to The New York Times, Elaine C. Duke, acting secretary of the Department of Homeland Security, has ordered federal agencies to develop plans to remove Kaspersky software from the government's systems in the next 90 days. And chiefs of both the FBI and CIA kept it short and sweet, answering with a simple “no” when asked if they would be alright with running Kaspersky’s software on their agencies’ systems.
“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 U.S. national security,” Duke said in a statement.
But that’s not the end of it. The U.S. Senate also is voting on a defense-spending bill that would ban the Lab’s products from being used by government agencies. And at the consumer level, electronics giant Best Buy announced that it was pulling Kaspersky’s cybersecurity products from its shelves and websites.
In response to the whirlwind, Kaspersky has simply responded by saying it was disappointed with Homeland Security’s decision and denied any Russian government ties.