Federal agencies ordered to stop using Kaspersky software

President Trump's administration has today ordered the removal of all Kaspersky security products from United States government IT systems, citing claims that the company is vulnerable to influence from the Russian government.

Acting Secretary of Homeland Security Elaine Duke ordered all government offices to remove and replace any of the company's popular anti-hacker software in use within 90 days.

At least a half-dozen federal agencies run Kaspersky on their networks, the US officials said, although there may be other networks where an agency's chief information security officer - the official ultimately responsible for systems security - might not be aware it is being used. "This wasn't an easy action for the U.S. government to take, and it will also have significant ramifications for corporations that use Kaspersky", explained Hamerstone, who is the Practice Lead for the Governance, Risk, and Compliance division at security consultant TrustedSec.

In July, the chief executive of Russia's Kaspersky Lab, Eugene Kaspersky, told The Associated Press at his Moscow headquarters that USA government officials can examine his company's source code to dispel suspicions about his company's ties to the Kremlin. Kaspersky responded that it and its employees "do not have inappropriate ties with any government". For instance, Russian intelligence agencies can "compel assistance" from Russian companies to hand over information that passes through their networks.

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The action removed the company from the list of products approved for purchase on federal systems and at discounted prices for state governments. Several other retailers that carry Kaspersky, including Amazon and Newegg, declined to confirm to BuzzFeed News that they were committed to continue to selling the firm's products. In response to questioning from Reuters, a spokesperson said: "As we evaluated the technology, we decided it was a risk we couldn't accept".

Executives at some American cybersecurity companies questioned the blacklisting of one of the world's most renowned cybersecurity companies.

"No credible evidence has been presented publicly by anyone or any organization as the accusations are based on false allegations and inaccurate assumptions, including claims about the impact of Russian regulations and policies on the company", it said in a statement.

"No" was the reply given by then-acting FBI Director Andrew McCabe, CIA Director Mike Pompeo, National Intelligence Director Dan Coats, National Security Agency Director Adm. Mike Rogers, National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency Director Robert Cardillo and Defense Intelligence Agency Director Lt. Gen. Vincent Stewart. "And while there haven't been articles that have come out saying the same thing about U.S. based companies, you have to understand that it's gotta be true of us here as well".

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Kaspersky Lab has never helped, nor will help, any government in the world with its cyberespionage or offensive cyber efforts, and it's disconcerting that a private company can be considered guilty until proven innocent, due to geopolitical issues.

But it hasn't given up. Kaspersky added it is ready to provide all the necessary information to prove that this decision is wrong.

Reached for comment soon after the DHS statement, a Kaspersky spokesperson indicated that despite grumblings from the U.S., it caught the company off guard.

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