Feds Ban Kaspersky Antivirus Software

Russian company's products pose 'undue and unacceptable risks to US national security'
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Jun 21, 2024 6:26 AM CDT
Feds Ban Kaspersky Antivirus Software
The headquarters of Kaspersky Lab in Moscow.   (AP Photo/Pavel Golovkin, File)

The Biden administration has banned software from Russian cybersecurity firm Kaspersky, saying it "poses undue and unacceptable risks to US national security and to the security and safety of US persons." The Commerce Department said the company "will generally no longer be able to, among other activities, sell its software within the United States or provide updates to software already in use," the BBC reports. Under the federal decision, Kaspersky won't be able to sell new software to American customers after July 20 or provide updates after September 29.

"When you think about national security, you may think about guns and tanks and missiles," Commerce Secretary Gina Raimondo said Thursday, per Wired. "But the truth is, increasingly, it's about technology, and it's about dual-use technology, and it's about data." She said Russia has shown it has the capacity and intent to use Russian companies like Kaspersky to "collect and weaponize the personal information of Americans and that is why we are compelled to take the action that we are taking today." The Kaspersky ban is the first action of its kind to use broad powers granted to the Commerce Department during the Trump administration.

The department said the risks it had found stem not from "whether Kaspersky's products are effective at identifying viruses and other malware, but whether they can be used strategically to cause harm to the United States," the AP reports. The company, which has long been under pressure from US regulators, denied that it is a security threat and said it is considering legal action, reports Reuters. In a statement, Kaspersky said it believes the US decision was based on "the present geopolitical climate and theoretical concerns." (More Kaspersky Labs stories.)

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