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Cybersecurity: Why US bans Russia’s Kaspersky antivirus software ─Commerce Department

*The United States Commerce Department alleges Russia has shown it has the capability and intent to exploit Russian companies, like Kaspersky Lab to ‘collect and weaponise sensitive US information’

Isola Moses | ConsumerConnect

Alleging Kaspersky Lab has the capability to “collect and weaponise sensitive information” about the American country and its citizens, the United States (US) Thursday, June 20, 2024, banned Russia-based cybersecurity firm Kaspersky from providing its antivirus products in the country.

US Commerce Secretary Gina Raimondo, who announced the development in a statement, said: “Kaspersky will generally no longer be able to, among other activities, sell its software within the United States or provide updates to software already in use.

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

Raimondo stated the Commerce Department’s actions showed America’s adversaries that  the country would not hesitate to act when “their technology poses a risk to the United States and its citizens.”

It was learnt as the multinational firm is headquartered in Moscow, it has offices in 31 countries around the world, servicing over 400 million users and 270,000 corporate clients in more than 200 countries, the Commerce Department said.

As well as banning the sale of Kaspersky’s antivirus software, the Commerce Department also added three entities linked to the firm to a list of companies deemed to be a national security concern, “for their cooperation with Russian military and intelligence authorities in support of the Russian government’s cyber intelligence objectives.”

The Department’s statement further noted it “strongly encouraged” users to switch to new vendors, although its decision does not ban them from using the software should they choose to do so.

Kaspersky is allowed to continue certain operations in the United States, including providing antivirus updates, until September 29 this year, “in order to minimise disruption to US consumers and businesses and to give them time to find suitable alternatives.”

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