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US Commerce Department Bans Kaspersky Software

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The US Commerce Department has prohibited the use of Kaspersky security software across the United States, citing national security concerns. The Bureau of Industry and Security (BIS) determined that Kaspersky’s cybersecurity products pose “unacceptable risks” to US national security and public safety.

According to the BIS review, Kaspersky is “subject to the jurisdiction, control, or direction of the Russian Government,” raising fears that it could provide access to sensitive US information. The software’s potential to install malware and withhold critical updates further exacerbates these risks. BIS emphasized the threats of data theft, espionage, and system malfunctions, particularly within critical infrastructure, which could jeopardize economic security and public health.

The Commerce Department’s statement highlighted the significant risk Kaspersky’s products pose to the integrity and operation of Information and Communications Technology and Services (ICTS) in the US. Consequently, new sales of Kaspersky software will be banned from July 20. However, existing users have until September 29 to transition to alternative security services. This ban excludes Kaspersky’s Threat Intelligence, Security Training, and purely informational or educational consulting services.

Kaspersky has responded defiantly, asserting that the decision stems from the current geopolitical climate rather than a thorough evaluation of its products. The company proposed an independent verification system to ensure the security of its software, which it claims was ignored by the Commerce Department. Kaspersky maintains that it does not engage in activities threatening US national security and has contributed significantly to protecting US interests from various cyber threats. The firm plans to pursue all legal avenues to maintain its operations and business relationships in the US.

This move echoes similar actions taken against Huawei, where concerns about potential future incidents led to the company’s exclusion from US networks. While Kaspersky plans to challenge the ban, changing US policy in the current security climate seems unlikely.

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