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Trump admin tells government agencies to drop Kaspersky products

Trump admin tells government agencies to drop Kaspersky products”

Citing concerns that the anti-virus, malware protection, and other software Kaspersky Labs offers has "elevated privileges" on government computers, the DHS says that its new directive is based on fears that the company's Russian base might leave American data exposed.

Last week, Best Buy Co, the No.1 USA electronics retailer, said it was pulling Kaspersky Lab's cyber security products from its shelves and website.

The Trump administration on Wednesday told United States government agencies to remove Kaspersky Lab products from their information systems, saying it was concerned the Moscow-based cyber security firm was vulnerable to Kremlin influence. Within 30 days agencies must identify Kaspersky software, within 60 they must have plans in place to remove the software, and within 90 days the removal process must be underway, according to the directive.

"This action is based on the information security risks presented by the use of Kaspersky products on federal information systems", DHS said in a statement today.

Kaspersky Lab's statements ignore the fact that it faces a wider backlash after retailer Best Buy withdrew its products from its shelves.

"While our intelligence agencies may not use Kaspersky software, other federal agencies do".

It will take some time to stop the government from using Kaspersky products.

Two months ago, the Trump administration chose to remove Kaspersky Lab from the USA government's list of companies whose products are approved for use on federal systems. Jeanne Shaheen, D-N.H., is pushing legislation to prohibit the federal government from using products made by Kaspersky Lab, which she said has "extensive ties to Russian intelligence".

He denies all charges of Russian government influence in his computer security products. But Kaspersky has attracted increased attention in the wake of Russia's interference in the USA presidential election.

Kaspersky Lab founder Eugene Kaspersky has denied allegations that his company is conducting espionage on behalf of Russian Federation and said the USA government lacks evidence to justify the move.

Kaspersky has come under intense scrutiny in recent months amid news reports alleging connections between the firm and Russian intelligence.

But Shaheen, a key member of the Senate Armed Services Committee, said assessments underlying USA officials' concerns are classified, and "it is unacceptable to ignore questions about Kaspersky Lab because the answers are shielded in classified materials".

"Expanding the company's presence in the region will better enable Kaspersky Lab to provide its customers with the best cybersecurity solutions and services", the statement said.

In its statement today, DHS said it is "providing an opportunity for Kaspersky to submit a written response addressing the department's concerns or to mitigate those concerns". "For us the idea of a piece of software that's going to live on our networks, going to touch every file on those networks, going to be able to, at the discretion of the company, to decide what goes back to their cloud in Russia-and then what you really need to understand is under Russian law they must collaborate with FSB [Russian Federal Security Service]-for us in the government that was unacceptable risk".



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