US to Ban Kaspersky Anti-Virus Software over Security Concerns

The US government is reportedly concerned about the potential security risks posed by anti-virus software developed by Russian cybersecurity firm Kaspersky Labs.

According to a report by Reuters, the Biden administration is planning to ban the sale of Kaspersky anti-virus software in the US. Sources familiar with the matter say that the administration views Kaspersky’s close ties to the Russian government as a significant security risk. They cite concerns that the software’s access to computer systems could enable the Russian government to steal sensitive information, install malware, or withhold crucial updates.

The report also states that Kaspersky Labs may be added to a trade restriction list, which would prevent US suppliers from doing business with the company. This move could significantly damage Kaspersky’s reputation and international sales.

The restrictions are expected to take effect on September 29th, giving businesses 100 days to find alternative software solutions. Downloads of software updates, resales, and licensing of Kaspersky products will also be prohibited. The company will be banned from operating in the US 30 days after the restrictions are announced. The Commerce Department will notify companies before taking enforcement action against them.

Reuters reports that adding Kaspersky to the trade restriction list would mainly affect the company’s reputation. However, if foreign units are also added, it could significantly disrupt Kaspersky’s supply chain.

Sellers and resellers who violate the restrictions face fines, and the Justice Department could bring criminal charges in cases of willful violations. While software users will not face legal penalties, they are advised to stop using Kaspersky products.

In 2017, the US Department of Homeland Security banned all federal agencies from using Kaspersky software, citing national security concerns but providing no evidence. Kaspersky’s founder and CEO, Eugene Kaspersky, denounced the move as “baseless paranoia” and filed a lawsuit, which was later dismissed by the court.

According to Reuters sources, there were discussions between Kaspersky and US officials prior to the ban, with Kaspersky proposing mitigating measures as an alternative to an outright ban.

Founded in 1997, Kaspersky Labs is headquartered in Moscow and operated by a holding company in the UK. The company claims to operate in over 200 countries and territories, with 400 million users worldwide.