Under scrutiny, Kaspersky Lab considers changes to United States subsidiary

DHS Orders Feds to Ditch Software From Russia Linked Kaspersky Lab

The department cited concern about possible ties between Kaspersky officials and Russian intelligence.

Issuing a binding operational directive, DHS instructed all federal agencies to identify the Kaspersky products in use on government systems within the next 30 days, and to be prepared to remove those products within 90 days.

The directive comes months after the federal General Services Administration, the agency in charge of government purchasing, removed Kaspersky from its list of approved vendors.

The direct financial impact of the decision will likely by minimal for Kaspersky Lab, one of the world's leading anti-virus software companies that was founded in 1997 and now counts over 400 million global customers.

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"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", the company said.

Kaspersky Lab has always acknowledged that it provides appropriate products and services to governments around the world to protect those organizations from cyberthreats, but it does not have unethical ties or affiliations with any government, including Russian Federation.

The move comes amid heightened strains between Russian Federation and the U.S. over Moscow's alleged interference in last year's United States presidential election.

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Minnesota Sen. Amy Klobuchar, the ranking Democrat on the Senate Rules Committee, sent a letter to Duke asking the department for information about the government's use of Kaspersky products, especially on critical infrastructure and election systems.

The order applies only to civilian government networks, not the military's. In June, she successfully amended the defense policy bill to ban the Defense Department from using Kaspersky software.

Still, aside from Kaspersky's ties to Russia and the word "cyber", there's no public evidence to show that the company is colluding with Russian intelligence services. The company's founder, Eugene Kaspersky, graduated from a KGB-supported cryptography school and had worked in Russian military intelligence.

U.S. authorities also believe that "certain Kaspersky officials" could have ties with Russian intelligence and other government agencies, providing an opportunity for U.S. security to be "compromised".

Richard Ledgett, former NSA deputy director, hailed the move.

Officials are also concerned about a Russian law that could compel the company to provide information.

Earlier this year six top intelligence and security officials told a Congressional hearing that they would not use Kaspersky software.

"In fact, the GSA pulled Kaspersky from its list of pre-approved vendors back in July", he said, noting US fears about potential cyber espionage. Best Buy did not link its decision to US Senator Jeanne Shaheen's attempt to have Kaspersky banned on government computers, but didn't explain it either.

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