Computer: USA bans Russian antivirus software Kaspersky

Computer: USA bans Russian antivirus software Kaspersky
Computer: USA bans Russian antivirus software Kaspersky

Kaspersky once had a good international reputation for virus protection. But concerns that the program could be a gateway for Russian secret services have now led to its closure in the USA.

The US government is banning the Russian anti-virus software Kaspersky. A detailed investigation has shown that this is the only way to allay national security concerns, a sub-agency of the US Department of Commerce announced. Kaspersky denies the allegations and intends to defend itself.

The sale of Kaspersky software to companies and consumers in the USA will be prohibited from July 20th. From September 29th, Kaspersky will also no longer be allowed to install updates – this would make the software largely useless against new threats. From then on, resale will also be prohibited. The transition period is intended to give customers time to switch to other providers, explained the Bureau of Industry and Security.

The reason for the ban is the Russian government’s cyberattack capabilities and their ability to influence Kaspersky’s activities. The company’s software is capable of collecting information from US companies and citizens that could be misused by the Russian government, the agency warned. However, consumers and companies will not face any penalties if they continue to use Kaspersky software.

Company comments on decision

In an initial reaction, Kaspersky announced legal action to protect its business. It is assumed that the decision was made “based on the current geopolitical climate and theoretical concerns” – and not on an analysis of the company’s software and services. “Kaspersky does not engage in activities that threaten the national security of the USA,” it said in a statement on the online platform X.

Kaspersky, once an internationally respected specialist in PC security, has had a difficult time in the West for years. In Germany, the Federal Office for Information Security (BSI) warns against using the software. In the USA, installation on government devices has been banned since 2017.

One trigger for this is an episode in which suspected spy software from the US secret service NSA fell into the hands of Kaspersky. The company explained at the time that the source code had been discovered as a previously unknown variant of malware on a PC and had been uploaded to a Kaspersky server for analysis.

EU warns since Russia’s war of aggression against Ukraine

According to US media reports, an employee of the US surveillance agency had illegally downloaded the secret software onto his private computer, which was running Kaspersky’s anti-virus software. The company assured that the files had been deleted after an analyst informed company boss Eugene Kaspersky of the discovery. They had not been shared with anyone. In the US, however, it is assumed that the NSA tools ended up with the Russian secret service.

The Wall Street Journal wrote at the time, citing American authorities, that Kaspersky software had specifically searched for terms such as “Top Secret” and the names of secret US programs.

The BSI warned against the use of Kaspersky software in March 2022 in connection with the Russian invasion of Ukraine. In such a situation, a Russian IT manufacturer could either carry out offensive operations itself or possibly be misused as a tool for cyber attacks without its knowledge, the authority argued. Kaspersky also countered at the time that the warning was politically motivated.

Source: Stern

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