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US bans Russia’s Kaspersky antivirus software, citing security risks

US bans Russia's Kaspersky antivirus software, citing security risks An employee works near screens in the virus lab at the headquarters of Russian cyber security company Kaspersky Labs in Moscow July 29, 2013. (Reuters Photo)
By Newsroom
Jun 21, 2024 9:23 AM

The Biden administration has implemented a ban on Kaspersky, a prominent Russia-based cybersecurity firm, from distributing its antivirus products within the United States.

This decision, issued by the U.S. Commerce Department, comes after extensive investigations revealed serious national security risks associated with the company’s operations.

Reasons for ban

  • The ban stems from concerns that Kaspersky’s ties to the Russian government could enable exploitation of sensitive U.S. information.
  • According to Commerce Secretary Gina Raimondo, Russia has a history of leveraging Russian companies like Kaspersky for cyber espionage.
US bans Russia's Kaspersky antivirus software, citing security risks
U.S. Commerce Secretary Gina Raimondo speaks at the Department of Commerce in Washington U.S., Sept. 23, 2021. (Reuters Photo)

Russia has shown time and again they have the capability and intent to exploit Russian companies, like Kaspersky Lab, to collect and weaponise sensitive U.S. information

The U.S commerce secretary, Gina Raimondo

Kaspersky’s response

  • Kaspersky, in response, criticized the decision as being influenced by geopolitical tensions rather than factual evidence.
  • The company emphasized its contributions to cybersecurity, asserting it does not engage in activities that threaten U.S. national security.
US bans Russia's Kaspersky antivirus software, citing security risks
Eugene Kaspersky, chief executive officer of Kaspersky Lab (Bloomberg Photo)

Kaspersky does not engage in activities which threaten U.S. national security and, in fact, has made significant contributions with its reporting and protection from a variety of threat actors that targeted US interests and allies


Policy background

This ban marks the first major action under powers granted by an executive order during the Trump administration, enabling scrutiny of companies posing national security risks.

Operational impact

While the ban prohibits Kaspersky from selling antivirus software in the U.S. and adds affiliated entities to a national security concern list, it allows for continued antivirus updates until Sept. 29 to minimize disruption.

Global presence and users

Despite being headquartered in Moscow, Kaspersky operates globally with significant user bases across 31 countries and services millions of clients.

Advice to users

The Commerce Department encourages current users to transition to alternative cybersecurity providers, though the decision does not legally restrict continued use of Kaspersky products.

Last Updated:  Jun 21, 2024 1:32 PM