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Citing Russia Fears, DHS Bars Federal Use Of Kaspersky Products

The U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) told federal agencies to "take actions related to the use or presence of information security products, solutions, and services supplied directly or indirectly by AO Kaspersky Lab or related entities." In a statement, DHS said this decision was prompted by security concerns in Kaspersky's products as well as fears about the company's numerous ties to Russian intelligence agencies.

Kaspersky's connections to Russian intelligence have dipped in and out of the news cycle over the last year. ABC News reported in May that the FBI was investigating the company for those ties, which Kaspersky denied, and in July leaked emails showed that the company helped FSB agents conduct physical raids on suspected hackers. Kaspersky was also said to have worked on tools to allow Russia to "hack the hackers."

None of those concerns are new. People have questioned the Kaspersky-Russia connection for years. But the U.S. government seems to be more interested in those ties than ever before, and as the DHS' Binding Operational Directive (BOD) made clear, it's certainly more willing to act on those fears. Here's what the department said about its decision to bar federal agencies from using products made by or associated with Kaspersky:

The Department 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 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.

These fears stem from the access that security products have to files and the systems on which they're stored. These products don't work unless they're given the ability to monitor and control many aspects of a system. If those products are compromised—willfully or not—they could be used to gather the sensitive information they were supposed to protect. That's why security products are prime targets for hackers.

Those aren't hypothetical concerns. A security researcher discovered a serious vulnerability in Kaspersky's TLS interception tool in January, and in March, Wikileaks revealed that the CIA had bypassed most major antivirus programs. (Later, though, several said their products had been updated to defend against those intrusions.) The U.S. government knows all too well what kind of data can be gleaned via compromised tools.

DHS said it would give Kaspersky a chance to submit a written statement "addressing the Department’s concerns or to mitigate those concerns" so it could "ensure that the company has a full opportunity to inform the Acting Secretary of any evidence, materials, or data that may be relevant." Businesses affected by the decision will also be able to send their comments about the decision before anything is finalized.

  • leoscott
    I'm shocked!
    Reply
  • akula2
    >People have questioned the Kaspersky-Russia connection for years.

    Only idiots have questioned for sure -- those are rubbish allegations and FUD by the obnoxious government!*

    *After years of so-called Russian b$ doping, WADA couldn't find anything to prove on 95 athletes. This is all political <mod edit> show!

    <Moderator Warning: Watch your language in these forums>
    Reply
  • toffty
    This is a valid concern for everyone.

    It's easy to picture a 'good cop/bad cop' type of deal. On one hand the Russian Government hacks into something. Kaspersky says 'look we figured out how to stop it'

    In the background Russia's government and Kaspersky are trying to find holes in systems. The Russian Government uses found holes for a certain amount of time (or until found out by others) at which point Kaspersky comes to the rescue.
    Reply
  • toadhammer
    This isn't anything I watch, but I wonder how much of the accusal and innuendo against Kaspersky could be said of US firms. I also wonder if the true "crime" is Kaspersky's work against NSA hacks.

    I do know I've seen Kaspersky volunteer to have their software audited, and this DHS blackballing comes before any attempt to take K up on their offer. That does come across as more politics and FUD than fact.
    Reply
  • shaheereehahs
    That is a shame, Kaspersky is one of the best AV software out there. I have had problems with AVG, Zonealarm, and Avast but never Kaspersky so far.
    Reply
  • IceMyth
    I am currently using it and will never stop. I agree with @TOADHAMMER, to this day since maybe 8-years I never had a single virus or intrusion on my machine even, while many of the other anti-viruses failed to provide a single protection mainly viruses on USBs (at public places like universities, ...etc).

    Also DHS want to take action against Kaspersky and they forgot how crappy the security they have and how many leaks happened in US and has nothing to do with any anti virus except unprofessional...Ah! I forgot some department asked Apple to provide away to decrypt/access any apple device! Imagine that happened, then got lecked!
    Reply
  • Tanyac
    Singling out Kaspersky as "potentially untrustworthy" seems a bit naive!

    Who is to say that other virus software providers are not also engaged in questionable behavior?

    As a result of 400% price increases by MalwareBytes, I evaluated 8 products a couple of months ago, not a single one would pass the acid test for "doing only what it should be doing - protecting against viruses & malware". All of them installed bloatware, send continuous stream of data back to various servers, and run a multitude of potentially useless, resource hogging processes.
    Reply
  • jungleboogiemonster
    Kaspersky has done great things for security over the years. There's no denying that. Unfortunately, the leader of their country is Vladimir Putin, a person who is actively trying to destabilize the free world. The employees of Kaspersky may be honest people, but even honest people can be made dishonest with enough fear and pressure. The DHS has made the correct decision. Also, I see the Russian shills have arrived in force.
    Reply
  • toadhammer
    20173836 said:
    This isn't anything I watch, but I wonder how much of the accusal and innuendo against Kaspersky could be said of US firms. I also wonder if the true "crime" is Kaspersky's work against NSA hacks.

    I do know I've seen Kaspersky volunteer to have their software audited, and this DHS blackballing comes before any attempt to take K up on their offer. That does come across as more politics and FUD than fact.

    Oh, and I forgot the bit about the FBI trying to scare off Kaspersky's major customers and force Kaspersky out of retail! Don't think Tom's has reported it but you'll see it around other tech sites, back in August. With K's offer to be audited, this behavior comes off as just evil unless/until the FBI actually discloses an actual reason for any of this.
    Reply
  • Wisecracker
    :pfff:
    Too much naivety and trolling in this thread.

    It is far to "coincidental" that Kaspersky has roots with Pootin and the FSB, and over the past 5 years has ventured into critical infrastructure projects including telecommunications, power plants & electric grids, gas pipelines, and IoT,

    Better safe than cyber'ly obliterated.

    ... *After years of so-called Russian b$ doping, WADA couldn't find anything to prove on 95 athletes. This is all political <mod edit> show!
    Couldn't find anything because the Russian doping agency conveniently destroyed all the urine and blood tests, Ivan.

    Reply