Kaspersky Lab Appeals US Decision to Ban Its Anti-virus From Government Computers

Kaspersky Lab Offices in Russia/CC

The Russian company Kaspersky Lab announced Monday that it has filed an appeal to challenge in court the ban of its antivirus tools in US federal agencies by Washington, which suspects the company of links with the Russian intelligence services.

This week, Kaspersky Lab filed an appeal in federal court challenging the U.S. Department of Homeland Security’s (“DHS”) Binding Operational Directive 17-01, which requires federal agencies and departments to remove the company’s products from federal information and federal information systems,” writes the company in a press release.

According to the company, this decision is unconstitutional and based on unsubstantiated press articles, allegations and rumors.

The ban also “has a negative impact on the company’s reputation in the computer security industry and its US sales,” says Kaspersky, who notes that the US authorities have “provided no evidence of wrongdoing committed by the company “.

The Department of Homeland Security issued an order in mid-September to all federal public servants to uninstall within 90 days all Kaspersky Lab anti-virus software from government and federal agencies computers.

The DHS is concerned about the links some Kaspersky officials have with Russia’s intelligence services and other government agencies, according to the directive.

The US authorities believe that Kaspersky’s antivirus, which equips 400 million computers worldwide, contains “backdoors”, that is, secret entry points that can be used by hackers to access computer systems.

For example, Kaspersky’s antivirus is believed to have been used as a Trojan horse by Russian hackers to get hold of classified documents that an employee of a subcontracting company of the US National Surveillance Agency NSA had saved on his personal computer.

The charge has been vehemently denied by Kaspersky, which implicated in this case an infected Microsoft software.

US intelligence officials had expressed concerns about Kaspersky Lab’s supposed links with the Russian army and secret services during a Congressional hearing in May, but had then said that the accusations were unclear.

Kaspersky generates 85% of its sales outside of Russia.

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Andrei Santov

Andrei, a sociologist by profession, born in Russia but currently located in UK, covers mostly European and Russia-related news for The Talking Democrat.