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Feds ban government use of Kaspersky software

Feds ban government use of Kaspersky software”

Issuing a binding operational directive, DHS instructed all federal agencies to identify the Kaspersky products in use on government systems within the next 30 days, and to be prepared to remove those products within 90 days.

Officials say that the prominent company poses a threat to USA national security and have given government agencies and departments 90 days to get rid of Kaspersky Lab software.

One worst-case scenario the DHS outlines is that Russian intelligence agencies might work with Kaspersky officials to extract data from USA systems, using the very software that United States government agencies have installed to protect themselves.

Kaspersky is a computer anti-virus software that is also used at various federal agencies to protect sensitive government information.

"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 US national security", the directive said. For instance, Russian intelligence agencies can "compel assistance" from Russian companies to hand over information that passes through their networks.

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Kaspersky said it is not subject to the Russian laws cited in the directive and said information received by the company is protected in accordance with legal requirements and stringent industry standards, including encryption.

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.

By banning Kaspersky, U.S. officials have struck a blow to the business goals at one of Russia's most successful global companies and may expose American firms to retaliation from Moscow.

"No credible evidence has been presented publicly by anyone or any organisation as the accusations are based on false allegations and inaccurate assumptions", the company said in a statement.

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.

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When the GSA announced its July decision, it underscored that its mission was to "ensure the integrity and security of USA government systems and networks" and that Kaspersky was delisted "after review and careful consideration".

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".

"No" was the reply given by then-acting FBI Director Andrew McCabe, CIA Director Mike Pompeo, National Intelligence Director Dan Coats, National Security Agency Director Adm. Mike Rogers, National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency Director Robert Cardillo and Defense Intelligence Agency Director Lt. Gen. Vincent Stewart.

Sen. Jeanne Shaheen, D-N.H, has been pushing to prohibit the federal government from using the firm's products.

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