Kaspersky Lab, the Russia-based cybersecurity company known for its Internet security software, was dealt a heavy blow today when the Department of Homeland Security issued a directive banning the firm’s products from use in the federal government. DHS’s order comes on the heals of a report that Kaspersky may be closing its Washington, D.C. office due to strained relations with the United States.
“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,” DHS said in a statement. “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.”
The Trump administration plan calls for a 90-day phase out of Kaspersky products. Over the next 30 days, agencies must report to DHS which, if any, Kaspersky software they currently use to protect government information systems. By 60 days from now, departments must come up with new plans for their internet security needs. And within the next 90 days, they must completely discontinue the use of Kaspersky software and services.
The loss of the U.S. federal government as a customer will certainly impact Kaspersky’s bottom line. The news comes less than a week after Best Buy decided to drop Kaspersky’s popular antivirus products over Russian hacking fears.
For its part, Kaspersky Lab has said it’s a pawn in the game between the U.S. and Russia. In July, the company was removed as an approved technology vendor from which government agencies could purchase technology and equipment. The Kremlin called the U.S. government’s reclassification of Kaspersky “a politicized decision.”
“Russia as a state will continue to spare no effort to protect the interests of our companies abroad,” said Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov.