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Kaspersky Sues US Government Over Antivirus Ban

Kaspersky announced that it launched a lawsuit against the Trump administration arguing that the U.S. government’s ban of its software lacked due process and evidence of harm.

Kaspersky's Ban On U.S. Federal Networks

This September, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), issued a directive to civil agencies to stop using Kaspersky software within 90 days after concerns that the antivirus may help the Russian government in infiltrating U.S. networks and stealing sensitive information.

The government previously accused Kaspersky of stealing classified information from a national security whistleblower called Reality Winner. Kaspersky admitted that it got the documents in a routine scan of Winner’s personal computer, but it said it immediately deleted those files once it learned what they were. It also offered to allow independent parties to review its antivirus’ source code, but the government didn’t think that was sufficient.

Last week, the new National Defense Authorization Act of 2018 included a clause that would ban any Kaspersky or Kaspersky-associated software from being used in the U.S. federal government. Guilty or not, this seems to have left Kaspersky no choice but to sue the U.S. government in order to save its reputation (and revenue).

Kaspersky’s Open Letter

Along with the lawsuit, Kaspersky also wrote an open letter to the U.S. government. The company argued that it has not been given the opportunity to defend itself properly before its technology was banned from use on federal networks. This has harmed its reputation and revenue, and Kaspersky believes that such actions violated the U.S. Constitution, more specifically the right to due process.

The company said that the U.S. government relied mainly upon uncorroborated media reports, not evidence, to support its conclusion that the Kaspersky antivirus is a security risk for U.S. federal networks.

Kaspersky also noted that although the revenue it obtained from licensing its software to U.S. federal agencies was only a small percentage of its revenue, the ban on its software had a disproportionate negative effect both in the U.S. as well as globally.

Kaspersky is now suing the U.S. government to try and repair that damage to its sales as well as its reputation (presuming the U.S. court will find Kaspersky innocent).

Lucian Armasu
Lucian Armasu is a Contributing Writer for Tom's Hardware US. He covers software news and the issues surrounding privacy and security.