USA bans use of Kaspersky software in federal agencies

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 US government has prohibited affiliation.

"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", a DHS spokesperson said in a statement.

Kaspersky Labs has been invited to comment on the directive with a written response, the Department of Homeland Security said today.

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

This is the first time the US government has taken action and the clearest signal that the claims are being taken seriously. "The Department wants to ensure that the company has a full opportunity to inform the Acting Secretary of any evidence, materials, or data that may be relevant", it said.

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Facebook's findings affirm the conclusions of US intelligence agencies, which issued a 14-page declassified assessment in January. Interestingly the majority of these ads were not run by bots but non-automated and coordinated campaigns by human operatives.

Intelligence officials implicated the Russian government in a series of cyberattacks previous year on the Democratic National Committee's computers, and other Democratic officials.

Kaspersky Lab, on the other hand, firmly denies the accusations, stating that it "doesn't have any inappropriate ties with any government" and that there's "no credible evidence" to back up the "false allegations".

The statement goes on to say that "North America remains a strategic market for Kaspersky Lab".

US 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.

Security expert Alex Hamerstone said the US government's decision could have widespread implications.

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At least a half-dozen federal agencies run Kaspersky on their networks, the USA officials said, although there may be other networks where an agency's chief information security officer - the official ultimately responsible for systems security - might not be aware it is being used.

Kaspersky Lab's statements ignore the fact that it faces a wider backlash after retailer Best Buy withdrew its products from its shelves.

Michael Borohovski, co-founder of Tinfoil Security, told Fox News that he wasn't surprised by the Department of Homeland Security's move.

The decision by the Trump administration comes as the US Senate was planning to vote as soon as this week on a defense policy spending bill that includes language that would ban Kaspersky Lab products from being used by US government agencies.

Those offices, home to the Kaspersky Lab subsidiary KGSS that is dedicated to the US federal market, were empty when a Reuters reporter visited them in July.

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Vendors have survived this sort of thing before: Huawei remains forbidden from selling to the United States and Australian governments, but its consumer handset business is doing very well in both markets and its enterprise business is a contender in many industries.

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