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United States orders purge of Russian Kaspersky anti-virus products

United States orders purge of Russian Kaspersky anti-virus products”

Acting Secretary of Homeland Security Elaine Duke ordered all government offices to remove and replace any of the company's popular anti-hacker software in use within 90 days.

"Given that US government sales have not been a significant part of the company's activity in North America, Kaspersky Lab is exploring opportunities to better optimize the Washington D.C. office responsible for threat intelligence offerings to USA government entities", the company says in a statement.

The DHS is instructing departments and agencies to identify any use Kaspersky products on their information systems in the next 30 days and to develop detailed plans to remove the software in the next 60 days.

Three months after the General Services Administration removed Kaspersky Lab from a list of approved federal vendors, Homeland Security is banning the Russian security software maker outright.

It continued: "Kaspersky anti-virus products and solutions provide broad access to files and elevated privileges on the computers on which the software is installed, which can be exploited by malicious cyber actors to compromise those information systems".

"Given that US government sales have not been a significant part of the company's activity in North America, Kaspersky Lab is exploring opportunities to better optimize the Washington D.C. office responsible for threat intelligence offerings to USA government entities", a Kaspersky spokeswoman said in a statement to Reuters. For instance, Russian intelligence agencies can "compel assistance" from Russian companies to hand over information that passes through their networks. At a Senate Intelligence Committee hearing in May, six of the US's top intelligence officials, including the directors of the Central Intelligence Agency and the National Security Agency, said they would not be comfortable personally using Kaspersky software.

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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".

At a Senate intelligence committee hearing in May, top USA officials were asked whether they would be comfortable with Kaspersky software on their computers.

Just a few days ago, Best Buy pulled Kaspersky's products from its shelves with claims that there were "too many unanswered questions" about the connections the company has with Russian intelligence services.

USA 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. However, it claimed this was because "U.S. government sales have not been a significant part of the company's activity in North America".

"The truth is we don't know if Kaspersky has direct ties", he said. Kaspersky added it is ready to provide all the necessary information to prove that this decision is wrong.

This is the first time the USA government has taken action and the clearest signal that the claims are being taken seriously.



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