The committee met behind closed doors for a classified briefing from senior FBI and Homeland Security officials about Kaspersky Lab .
Current and former US officials fear that state-sponsored hackers could try to exploit Kaspersky Lab’s anti-virus software to steal and manipulate users’ files, read private emails or attack critical infrastructure in the US. Kaspersky Lab executives have previous ties to Russian intelligence and military agencies.
The company has repeatedly insisted it poses no threat to US customers and would never allow itself to be used as a tool of the Russian government.
But in a secret memorandum sent last month to Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats and Attorney General Jeff Sessions, the Senate Intelligence Committee raised possible red flags about Kaspersky Lab and urged the intelligence community to address potential risks posed by the company’s powerful market position.
The FBI is in the midst of a counterintelligence investigation looking into the nature of Kaspersky Lab’s relationship to the Russian government.
We reported a couple of weeks ago how senior members of the US intelligence community for the first time publicly expressed fears that Kaspersky Lab could pose a threat to the US.
Kaspersky Lab software is popular with federal agencies as the US Bureau of Prisons, the Consumer Product Safety Commission and some segments of the Défense Department.
Kaspersky Lab insisted: "As a private company, Kaspersky Lab has no ties to any government, and the company has never helped, nor will help, any government in the world with its cyberespionage efforts.”