US gov't orders removal of Kaspersky IT products, cites Russia

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"This action is based on the information security risks presented by the use of Kaspersky products on federal information systems", claimed the Department in its order.

"The department is concerned about the ties between certain Kaspersky officials and Russian intelligence and other government agencies, and requirements under Russian law that allow Russian intelligence agencies to request or compel assistance from Kaspersky and to intercept communications transiting Russian networks", the agency said.

The directive issued by acting Homeland Security Secretary Elaine Duke comes as various US law enforcement and intelligence agencies and several congressional committees are investigating Russian meddling in the 2016 presidential election. In a statement on Wednesday, DHS Acting Secretary Elaine Duke directed all Executive Branch agencies and departments to identify any Kaspersky products being used over the next 30 days, to make a plan to eliminate their use in the next 60 days and to begin that discontinuation within 90 days. "This wasn't an easy action for the United States government to take, and it will also have significant ramifications for corporations that use Kaspersky", explained Hamerstone, who is the Practice Lead for the Governance, Risk, and Compliance division at security consultant TrustedSec.

The directive will also put pressure on state and local governments that use Kaspersky's products. He denies all charges of Russian government influence in his computer security products.

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"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", the spokesperson said.

USA officials have been wary of Kaspersky Lab's ties to the Russian government and state-sponsored cyberespionage-a concern that has only ramped up in the wake of the 2016 presidential election, which Russia appear to interfere with. It has tried largely in vain to become a vendor to the US government, one of the world's biggest buyers of cyber tools.

On Friday, after news broke that the Federal Bureau of Investigation had reportedly urged American retailers to stop selling Kaspersky products, Best Buy became the first major American retailer to stop selling them.

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

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Michael Borohovski, co-founder of Tinfoil Security, told Fox News that he wasn't surprised by the Department of Homeland Security's move.

It also pointed out that government and business users have the option to opt-out of sending data to the Kaspersky Security Network (KSN).

Earlier this year, the federal General Services Administration-the agency in charge of government purchasing-removed Kaspersky Lab from its list of approved vendors.

Vendors have survived this sort of thing before: Huawei remains forbidden from selling to the U.S. and Australian governments, but its consumer handset business is doing very well in both markets and its enterprise business is a contender in many industries.

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