US Gov announces upcoming ban of Kaspersky antivirus software for US customers—including future updates—citing an ‘unacceptable risk to national security’

Kaspersky Lab, Inc, the US subsidiary of the popular Russia-based antivirus software and cybersecurity company Kaspersky, has just felt the wrath of the US government. The Department of Commerce’s Bureau of Industry and Security (BIS) announced on Thursday that it will be banning Kaspersky from “directly or indirectly providing antivirus software and cybersecurity products or services in the United States or to US persons.”

The ban doesn’t just apply to the sale of Kaspersky products, but also means that US customers will not receive updates to existing versions of Kaspersky software in general (via Bleeping Computer). Any US customers affected will need to switch to alternative antivirus and security software to stay protected from future threats.

As of midnight ET on July 20, 2024, Kaspersky will be banned from entering into new agreements with US customers, while updates will be prohibited from midnight ET, September 29.

Several reasons are given for the ban, primary of which is the assertion that Kaspersky is subject to the jurisdiction of the Russian government, and is therefore required to comply with requests for information. The BIS says that this could lead to the exploitation of access to sensitive information on devices using Kaspersky’s software.

“Russia has shown time and again they have the capability and intent to exploit Russian companies, like Kaspersky Lab, to collect and weaponize sensitive U.S. information, and we will continue to use every tool at our disposal to safeguard U.S. national security and the American people” said US Secretary of Commerce, Gina Raimondo.

“Today’s action, our first use of the Commerce Department’s ICTS authorities, demonstrates Commerce’s role in support of our national defence and shows our adversaries we will not hesitate to act when their technology poses a risk to the United States and its citizens.”

Kaspersky Lab has repeatedly been accused of ties with the Russian government, allegations that it has strongly denied. In September 2017, the US federal government ordered government agencies to remove any Kaspersky Lab products from their internal systems, while the UK National Cyber Security Centre had previously warned UK government departments to avoid using any Russian-based antivirus software, citing similar concerns.

This, however, is a significant escalation, and a nationwide US ban on products for consumer use is a mark against any company’s international reputation. While Kaspersky’s AV has long been lauded as an effective antivirus solution—and often performs extremely well in independent testing—these latest developments are likely to shake confidence in the software for users worldwide.

Source: PC Gamer

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