Trump Approves Ban on Kaspersky Lab Products

December 18, 2017
article by Christina W. author
United States President Donald Trump officially signed into law a ban prohibiting the use of Kaspersky Lab products within the United States government, including the FBI. The move came after months of scrutiny and claims of espionage plagued the Russian-based software company.

The Department of Homeland Security described their disdain for the popular software service in September. In a statement, the department said: “Kaspersky anti-virus products and solutions provide broad access to files and elevated privileges on the computers on which the software is installed, which can be exploited by malicious cyber actors to compromise those information systems.”

The company has been accused of helping Russia meddle in the 2016 United States Presidential election and several other cyber-espionage operations. Kaspersky has denied the claims and promised to provide source codes of its software to prove its innocence. However,  officials still doubt that the cybersecurity company did not come under Kremlin influence.

“The case against Kaspersky is well-documented and deeply concerning. This law is long overdue,” said Democratic Senator Jeanne Shaheen. Shaheen, the senator who led the call to block the software from government computers, called the company, “a grave risk” to United States national security.

The ban, which was included in Trump’s defense policy spending bill, reinforces an order that was issued by the president’s administration in September. The directive demanded that civilian agencies remove the software within 30 days.

Kaspersky said that they have concerns about the law and believe that it can be problematic, “due to its geographic-specific approach to cybersecurity.”  The company also claimed that it would “protect its customers from cyber threats (while) collaborating globally with the IT security community to fight cybercrime.”

Christopher Krebs, a senior cybersecurity official for the Department of Homeland Security, said that almost every government agency has removed the controversial software program from their networks in an effort to uphold the order that was established in September. He noted that Kaspersky’s original response to the ban would not solicit any changes to the new law.

Kaspersky filed a lawsuit against the Trump administration on Monday, claiming that the government has “harmed Kaspersky Lab’s reputation and its commercial operations without any evidence of wrongdoing by the company.”

The Department of Homeland Security has not commented.


Source: Reuters/NPR