US Bars Agencies From Buying Software From Russian Cybersecurity Firm

"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", DHS officials said, in a statement on the "Binding Operational Directive" to agencies and departments.

"The risk that the Russian government - whether acting on its own or in collaboration with Kaspersky - could capitalize on access provided by Kaspersky products (in order) to compromise federal information and information systems directly implicates USA national security", the directive said.

A Kaspersky Lab spokesperson said in a statement that the company is disappointed in the DHS decision and will provide additional information "to confirm that these allegations are completely unfounded".

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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", it said in a statement.

Kaspersky said in a statement that it was disappointed by the directive and insisted "it does not have unethical ties or affiliations with any government, including Russian Federation". The U.S. intelligence community in January concluded Russian President Vladimir Putin had a direct hand in ordering a large-scale effort to interfere with the election in an attempt to get Trump elected.

According to the report, in newsletter The Bell, the firm may shutter its Kaspersky Government Security Solutions office as government agencies - who are among the world's biggest buyers of cybersecurity tools - are effectively banned from using its services.

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The order applies only to civilian government networks, not the military's. A draft version of the Senate's National Defense Authorization Act has banned the Department of Defense from using it as well, though The Washington Post notes that the Defense Department doesn't generally use it anyway.

Just a few days ago, Best Buy pulled Kaspersky's products from its shelves with claims that there were "too many unanswered questions" about the connections the company has with Russian intelligence services.

In recent months, former American intelligence officials have described Kaspersky as a huge potential asset for the Kremlin because of the way anti-virus software works.

Earlier this year six top intelligence and security officials told a Congressional hearing that they would not use Kaspersky software.

Those offices, home to the Kaspersky Lab subsidiary KGSS that is dedicated to the USA federal market, were empty when a Reuters reporter visited them in July. The software must be removed from all information systems within 90 days.

The directive will also put pressure on state and local governments that use Kaspersky's products.

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