Home / Security / The US bans Kaspersky products, citing security risks – what this means for you

The US bans Kaspersky products, citing security risks – what this means for you

Kaspersky

Kaspersky

If you use Kaspersky security software in the US, start looking at alternatives. On Thursday, the US Department of Commerce announced a ban on Kaspersky software, prohibiting the Russia-based company from selling any of its core security products in the US.

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The ban follows an investigation by the Department of Commerce’s Bureau of Industry (BIS), which found the company and its products are a security risk. As justification for the ban, the BIS cited “unacceptable risks to the United States’ national security and the security and safety of its people.” Specifically, the agency pointed to the following factors as a result of its investigation:

  • Kaspersky is subject to the jurisdiction, control, or direction of the Russian government.
  • Kaspersky software gives the Russian government access to sensitive US customer information.
  • Russia is a foreign adversary that continues to threaten the United States.
  • Kaspersky software is capable of installing malicious software and withholding critical updates.
  • The manipulation of Kaspersky software, including in US critical infrastructure, can result in data theft, espionage, and system malfunction. The products also threaten the economic security and public health in the US, resulting in injuries or loss of life.

Kaspersky has long been suspect in the eyes of the US government due to the firm’s ties to Russia. In 2017, the US banned the use of the company’s products across all government agencies. This ban, however, marks the first time that Kaspersky products will no longer be allowed for consumer or business use in the country.

“Kaspersky’s products and services pose an unacceptable risk to United States national security and the security and safety of US persons, and an undue risk of subversion of, or sabotage to, the integrity and operation of Information and Communications Technology and Services (ICTS) in the United States,” the BIS said in its announcement. “In particular, there is a significant risk of harm to the integrity and operation of ICTS and the ICTS supply chain in the United States.”

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The ban imposes restrictions in several areas. As of July 20, Kaspersky and any affiliates and subsidiaries are prohibited from selling or licensing its cybersecurity or antivirus software in the US. As of September 29, resellers will no longer be able to sell Kaspersky products, while developers of third-party products will be barred from integrating any software designed or supplied by Kaspersky.

In a document posted online, the BIS listed 81 Kaspersky products caught up in the ban. The only items not on the list are Kaspersky Threat Intelligence products and services, Kaspersky Security Training products and services, and Kaspersky consulting and advisory services.

The restrictions essentially mean that Kaspersky is dead and buried as a product for potential new US business and consumer customers.

As for existing customers, starting on September 29 in the US, Kaspersky will no longer be able to provide antivirus signature updates and code updates for the banned products. Further, the Kaspersky Security Network, which analyzes security threats, will no longer be able to operate in the US. The BIS said it chose the September timeframe to allow current Kaspersky customers enough time to find alternative products and services.

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In response to the ban, Kaspersky issued a press release stating that it does not engage in activities that threaten US national security. Instead, the company said that it has offered protection against a variety of threats that targeted US interests and allies. Kaspersky also questioned the process used by the BIS to conduct its investigation.

“Despite proposing a system in which the security of Kaspersky products could have been independently verified by a trusted third party, Kaspersky believes that the Department of Commerce made its decision based on the present geopolitical climate and theoretical concerns, rather than on a comprehensive evaluation of the integrity of Kaspersky’s products and services,” the company said.

Also: The best free PC antivirus software

If you use Kaspersky products or services, you can learn more about your options at the BIS pages Kaspersky Lab Prohibition for Individuals and Kaspersky Lab Prohibition for Business Customers.


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