Kaspersky Lab to prove that U.S. accusations are 'baseless'

American government agencies are now banned from using software created by the Russian cybersecurity firm Kaspersky Lab. They have to begin removing Kaspersky products from their systems within 3 months as per DHS

Moscow-based cyber security firm Kaspersky Lab said on Tuesday it is considering making changes to its subsidiary that sells products to the USA government, at a time when the company is facing allegations that it may be vulnerable to Russian influence.

In a statement sent to eWEEK, Kaspersky Lab stated that it is not required to provide aid to the Russia government, unlike domestic Russian Internet service providers and telecommunication firms.

In a Binding Operational Directive (BOD) published on September 13, Elaine Duke, acting Secretary of U.S. Department of Homeland Security gave federal agencies 30 days to identify any use of Kaspersky products, 60 days to develop plans to remove the products, and 90 days to transition to other vendors' security offerings.

The department's Binding Operational Directive was issued "after careful consideration of available information and consultation with interagency partners", the DHS said. The directive gives agencies 30 days to determine whether they are using any Kaspersky products.

The statement goes on to say that "North America remains a strategic market for Kaspersky Lab".

Meanwhile, unnamed sources told Russian news agency The Bell, that Kaspersky's Washington, D.C., branch, Kaspersky Government Security Solutions Inc, is considering closing its offices there because the USA government has prohibited affiliation. Democratic Sen. Jeanne Shaheen of New Hampshire has push legislation that would ban the company's products government-wide.

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"Given that USA government sales have not been a significant part of the company's activity in North America, Kaspersky Lab is exploring opportunities to better optimize the Washington D.C. office responsible for threat intelligence offerings to US government entities", the company says in a statement. "The Department wants to ensure that the company has a full opportunity to inform the Acting Secretary of any evidence, materials, or data that may be relevant", it said.

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.

Earlier this week, retailer Best Buy said it would stop selling Kaspersky software for the time being. "The strong ties between Kaspersky Lab and the Kremlin are very alarming and well-documented".

"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. Joyce said those concerns were a factor but that a "tough decision" ultimately had to be made to protect government systems.

Michael Borohovski, co-founder of Tinfoil Security, told Fox News that he wasn't surprised by the Department of Homeland Security's move. At a Senate Intelligence Committee hearing in May, the chiefs of six major USA spy agencies all said they would not use Kaspersky software on their computers.

Also in July, the U.S. government's General Services Administration removed Kaspersky Lab from a list of approved vendors. "The US has aired similar concerns about other companies, like Chinese telecom company Huawei, which is now banned from entering the US network equipment market".

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