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US senators call for Kaspersky ban

by on29 June 2017


Reds under the beds

US senators have called for a ban on Moscow-based cyber security firm Kaspersky Lab's products from use by the military.

Senators are apparently scared that the company is vulnerable to "Russian government influence". The news comes a day after the FBI interviewed several of its US employees as part of a probe into its operations, although the two things might not be connected.

The Untouchables visited the homes of Kaspersky employees in multiple US cities for a quiet word. No search warrants were served.

Kaspersky Lab confirmed in a statement on Wednesday that FBI agents have had "brief interactions" with some of its US employees - discussions that the company described as "due diligence" chats.

However a defence spending policy bill passed by the Senate Armed Services Committee, prohibits the US Defence Department from using Kaspersky software platforms because the company "might be vulnerable to Russian government influence".

Democratic Senator Jeanne Shaheen, who amended the spending bill to include Kaspersky, said in a statement that "ties between Kaspersky Lab and the Kremlin are alarming".

A consensus in Congress and among Trump administration officials believed Kaspersky "cannot be trusted to protect critical infrastructure, particularly computer systems vital to our nation’s security," Shaheen said.

The bill would need to pass the full Senate and House of Representatives and be signed by President Donald (Prince of Orange) Trump to become law.

Last month, senior US intelligence officials said in testimony before the Senate Intelligence Committee that they were reviewing government use of software from Kaspersky Lab.

The US press seems to be hinting that the probe into Kaspersky Lab is somehow related to an investigation led by special counsel Robert Mueller into Russian election meddling and collusion with associates of then Republican Party candidate Donald Trump. We are not sure how that works.

Kaspersky founder and Chief Executive Eugene Kaspersky had said during a question and answer session on Reddit that he would be willing to appear before the Senate to dispel any concerns about his company's products.

Kaspersky's anti-virus software is popular in the United States and around the world, though US officials have long been suspicious that the company may have ties to Russian intelligence agencies.

Kaspersky has said repeatedly it has no ties to any government and that allegations about its products being used to support Russian espionage are unfounded.

The company said, "Kaspersky Lab believes it is completely unacceptable that the company is being unjustly accused without any hard evidence to back up these false allegations." It said that in its 20-year history, the company has abided by "the highest ethical business practices".

Last modified on 29 June 2017
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