Under scrutiny, Kaspersky Lab considers changes to U.S. subsidiary

Under scrutiny, Kaspersky Lab considers changes to U.S. subsidiary

Under scrutiny, Kaspersky Lab considers changes to U.S. subsidiary

The US Department of Homeland Security (DHS) has ordered all government agencies to "develop plans to remove" all "information security products, solutions, and services" produced by Kaspersky Lab, the Russian multinational cybersecurity and anti-virus provider.

United States authorities also believe that "certain Kaspersky officials" could have ties with Russian intelligence and other government agencies, providing an opportunity for U.S. security to be "compromised". Though military and intelligence officials as well as members of Congress have gone on record expressing their concerns or doubts about the company, the government has yet to release or make public any evidence that would prove or suggest Kaspersky Lab products have been compromised by Russian intelligence agencies.

The DHS cited "information security risks" posed by the presence of Kaspersky software on federal information systems, explaining that Kaspersky products "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".

An afternoon recap of the day's most important business news, delivered weekdays. At 90 days from today, those agencies must start the removal process, unless otherwise directed by the DHS.

The directive comes months after the federal General Services Administration, the agency in charge of government purchasing, removed Kaspersky from its list of approved vendors.

This is one of the USA government's most significant steps yet amid concerns that the Kremlin could try to use Kaspersky Lab software - embedded in homes, businesses and government systems across the United States - to spy on Americans, steal sensitive files or attack critical infrastructure.

In a statement to The Washington Post on Wednesday, the company said: "Kaspersky Lab 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".

The US-owned Best Buy chain sazid it would no longer sell Kaspersky products. The company's founder, Eugene Kaspersky, graduated from a KGB-supported cryptography school and had worked in Russian military intelligence. But Kaspersky has attracted increased attention in the wake of Russia's interference in the USA presidential election.

But Shaheen, a key member of the Senate Armed Services Committee, said assessments underlying US officials' concerns are classified, and "it is unacceptable to ignore questions about Kaspersky Lab because the answers are shielded in classified materials".

Later that same month, the House Science, Space and Technology committee sent a letter asking cabinet agencies and departments for any records they have related to the purchase or use of Kaspersky Lab products. The company has repeatedly denied that it has ties to any government and said it would not help a government with cyber espionage.

"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 DHS said Wednesday.

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