The Trump administration is banning the use of Russian-brand Kaspersky security software in federal agencies over concerns that the firm has illicit ties to Kremlin-sponsored cyber-espionage activities.

Acting secretary for the Department of Homeland Security Elaine Duke issued a binding directive ordering all civilian federal agencies to identify Kaspersky Lab software on their networks. They must remove it after 90 days, unless otherwise directed, on grounds the company has improper ties to the Russian government, and thus poses a national security risk.

 

The Department of Homeland Security “is concerned about the ties between certain Kaspersky officials and Russian intelligence and other government agencies, and requirements under Russian law that allow Russian intelligence agencies to request or compel assistance from Kaspersky and to intercept communications transiting Russian networks,” the department said in a statement. “The risk that the Russian government, whether acting on its own or in collaboration with Kaspersky, could capitalize on access provided by Kaspersky products to compromise federal information and information systems directly implicates U.S. national security.”

Several months ago the General Services Administration, the agency in charge of government purchasing, removed Kaspersky from its list of approved vendors. The DHS ban is a follow-up to that action.

“We’ve determined that [Kaspersky software] poses an unacceptable amount of risk based on our assessment,” said Christopher Krebs, a senior DHS official in the National Protection and Programs Directorate. “If they want to provide additional information or mitigation strategies, our door is open.” [source]

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