US bans Kaspersky software over alleged links to Russia

US bans Kaspersky software over alleged links to Russia

The Biden administration has banned the cybersecurity company Kaspersky from selling its products in the United States over the company's links to Russia.

Kaspersky, a Russia-based multinational company providing anti-virus software, will not be able to provide future software or offer updates to existing software in the US, the Commerce Department said.

The US decision came after an investigation found Kaspersky's operations "presented a national security risk" to the country due to Russian cyber activities and influence over Kaspersky's operations.

The Commerce Department's Bureau of Industry & Security said the concerns "could not be addressed through mitigation measures short of a total prohibition".

"Russia has shown time and again they have the capability and intent to exploit Russian companies, like Kaspersky Lab, to collect and weaponise sensitive US information, and we will continue to use every tool at our disposal to safeguard US national security and the American people," said Gina Raimondo, the US commerce secretary.

Part of the US's reasons for the move included the company being subject to the jurisdiction of the Russian government and having access to sensitive US user information.

The US recommended that people using the software switch to other companies but those that continue to use Kaspersky will not face legal repercussions.

The company can continue operations in the US such as providing software updates until September 29, 2024, the US Commerce Department added.

'Geopolitical decision'

Kaspersky said the US decision did not prohibit it from offering cyber threat intelligence offerings or training.

The US "made its decision based on the present geopolitical climate and theoretical concerns, rather than on a comprehensive evaluation of the integrity of Kaspersky’s products and services," it said in a statement.

The company does not threaten US security and has instead offered protection against actors targeting US interests, it added.

"The company intends to pursue all legally available options to preserve its current operations and relationships," Kaspersky said, adding that international cooperation on cybersecurity is crucial.