The US Department of Homeland Security said it was banning software from Kaspersky Lab from being used by federal agencies, due to concerns over links between Kasperky and the Kremlin.
The announcement, which gives federal agencies 90 days to cease using any Kaspersky software, is the clearest indication to date of the government’s concerns that Moscow may have been using the cybersecurity company as a backdoor to tap communications.
Kaspersky has some 400m users worldwide and is best known for its free anti-virus software.
“The risk that the Russian government, whether acting on its own or in collaboration with Kaspersky, could capitalize on access provided by Kaspersky products to compromise federal information and information systems directly implicates U.S. national security,” according to a statement released Wednesday by the DHS.
“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.”
In a statement, Kaspersky said it was “disappointed” with the decision and still hoped to clear its name by working with the DHS as the department investigates.
“Kaspersky Lab has never helped, nor will help, any government in the world with its cyberespionage or offensive cyber efforts, and it’s disconcerting that a private company can be considered guilty until proven innocent, due to geopolitical issues.”