Confusion hits consumer market over USA ban of Kaspersky

Russia calls US ban on Kaspersky products 'regrettable' (Lead)

The US Homeland Security Department's decision to ban the use of Kaspersky Lab software on the pretext of engagement in cyber espionage could actually be the start of a "wholesale attack" on Russian businesses overseas, the head of the State Duma's Committee on Information Policy, IT Technologies and Communications Leonid Levin told Sputnik.

A key congressional panel has asked the CEO of Kaspersky Lab to testify before lawmakers, one day after the USA government barred federal agencies from using software produced by the Russian-origin cyber firm over national security concerns.

"I applaud the Trump administration for heeding my call to remove Kaspersky Lab software from all federal agencies", she said in a statement. Even private companies seemed to pay attention to the rumors surrounding Kaspersky with electronics store Best Buy removing all Kaspersky Lab cybersecurity products from their shelves and website.

The Department of Homeland Security ordered the software wipe due to security concerns.

In a statement, the department says there are too many unanswered questions of whether Kaspersky or any of it's employees may be tied to the Russian government. "We don't have any secrets, we don't do anything bad against our customers and against governments".


Last July, the Trump administration already removed Kaspersky from the list of approved state agencies' software vendors, citing concerns Russian authorities could infiltrate usa government networks using Kaspersky's anti-virus products. USA government and private sector cyber experts were also invited. The allegations about Kaspersky having cosy relations with Russian intelligence have been around for years as in this Bloomberg article from 2015.

Concerns about Kaspersky, a leading global seller of anti-virus software, have been circulating for some time. The company responded by claiming that it doesn't "have inappropriate ties with any government, which is why no credible evidence has been presented publicly by anyone or any organization to back up the false allegations made against the company". Staples, another seller of the software, didn't return a message seeking comment.

Committee chairman Lamar Smith (R-Texas) has previously scrutinized the federal government's use of Kaspersky anti-virus software.

Nicholas Weaver, a computer security researcher at the University of California, Berkeley, called the US government decision "prudent;" he had argued for such a step in July.

TrustedSec's Hamerstone said the DHS move could have widespread implications. "It is clear that DHS's decision to issue this directive, in a very public way, is significant".

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