Federal Agencies Have 90 Days to Remove Kaspersky Labs Products
Moscow-based security company, Kaspersky Labs, has been in hot water this year. With the U.S. investigating potential ties between the company and the Russian government, several entities have abandon the use of the popular antivirus. First, the U.S. government removed Kaspersky from all military devices. Then, Congress began litigation, which would ban Kaspersky products from all U.S. government devices. This was followed up with the FBI encouraging all private sector companies to reevaluate their security solution, and move away from Kaspersky Labs. Last week the largest electronics retailer, Best Buy, removed Kaspersky from their shelves and online stores. Now, the U.S. government is ordering all federal agencies remove Kaspersky products from their computers within the next 90 days.
However, this task could be harder than simply uninstalling and reinstalling a security product. The New York Times states,
“…government computer systems tend to be a jumbled-together collection of often-aging software and hardware, and no central authority keeps track of who uses what.”
Therefore, finding out who is using Kaspersky products and getting them replaced within the allotted time frame could be difficult for some agencies.
Eugene Kaspersky, the founder and CEO of Kaspersky Labs, adamantly denies any company ties to the Russian government. Although, there are several factors that lead to alternative beliefs, such as:
- Eugene Kaspersky attended a high school that trained Russian spies
- Eugene Kaspersky wrote a security program for the Soviet Army
- Russian Communications Minister made threats against American software and hardware companies, if the U.S. Congress were to ban Kaspersky Labs from government devices
- Putin began encouraging Russians to use Russian-based security solutions, due to potential security risks of using programs developed overseas
Beyond what is listed above, the U.S. government is not releasing details on any information they have obtained tying the Russian government to Kaspersky.