US Government limits purchase of Kaspersky Lab solutions amid concerns over Russia ties

Pierluigi Paganini July 13, 2017

The US General Services Administration announced that the security firm Kaspersky Lab has been deleted from lists of approved vendors.

The US government bans Kaspersky solutions amid concerns over Russian state-sponsored hacking. Federal agencies will not buy software from Kaspersky Lab due to its alleged links to the Russian intelligence services.

This week, a Bloomberg News report, claimed internal company emails show that Kaspersky has a strict relationship with Russia secret services FSB.

The General Services Administration (GSA), which is the organization that handles federal government purchasing contracts, announced that cyber security firm Kaspersky Lab has been removed from the list of approved vendors.

“GSA’s priorities are to ensure the integrity and security of US government systems and networks and evaluate products and services available on our contracts using supply chain risk management processes,” reads the statement issued by the General Services Administration.

The decision doesn’t surprise the IT security industry, the US intelligence and Government officials have expressed concerns about the adoption of Kaspersky software several times.

It is important to highlight that the ban is not total, Government agencies will still be able to use Kaspersky software purchased separately from the GSA contract process.

According to the Reuters,

The company said in a statement to AFP , it had not received any updates from GSA or any other U.S. government agency regarding its vendor status.

“Kaspersky Lab has no ties to any government, and the company has never helped, nor will help, any government in the world with its cyberespionage efforts,” the company said.

It added that it had been “caught in the middle of a geopolitical fight where each side is attempting to use the company as a pawn in their political game.”

Kaspersky added that “the company is being unjustly accused without any hard evidence to back up these false allegations.”

Kaspersky on Tuesday published statement in response to the Bloomberg’s report.

“While the U.S. government hasn’t disclosed any evidence of the ties, internal company emails obtained by Bloomberg Businessweek show that Kaspersky Lab has maintained a much closer working relationship with Russia’s main intelligence agency, the FSB, than it has publicly admitted.”

“Actually, the reported emails show no such link, as the communication was misinterpreted or manipulated to try to make the media outlet’s narrative work. Kaspersky Lab is very public about the fact that it assists law enforcement agencies around the world with fighting cyberthreats, including those in Russia, by providing cybersecurity expertise on malware and cyberattacks.states Kaspersky.

“Kaspersky Lab regularly cooperates with law enforcement agencies, industry peers and victims of cybercrime.”

In May, the Senate Armed Services Committee passed a defense spending policy bill that would ban Kaspersky products from use in the US military. The decision was taken a day after the FBI interviewed several of the company’s U.S. employees at their private homes as part of a counterintelligence investigation into its operations.

“In May senior U.S. intelligence officials said in testimony before the Senate Intelligence Committee that they were reviewing government use of software from Kaspersky Lab.” reported the Reuters Agency.

“Lawmakers raised concerns that Moscow might use the firm’s products to attack American computer networks, a particularly sensitive issue given allegations by U.S. intelligence agencies that Russia hacked and leaked emails of Democratic Party political groups to interfere in the 2016 presidential election campaign. Russia denies the allegations.”

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Pierluigi Paganini 

(Security Affairs – Kaspersky Lab, Cyber espionage)

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