Response follows 90-day deadline for US federal agencies to remove the security software.
When you’re desperately trying to get people to believe that your Russian tech company has no ties to the Russian government, maybe it’d be a good idea to not have a statement of support from that very government. Considering the allegations of hacking and spying, Kaspersky Lab may not benefit from having the Kremlin in its corner right now.
But that’s exactly what happened. The Kremlin issued their statement through the Russian embassy in New York, calling the action against the company “regrettable.”
However, the finger pointing might be uncalled for. Eugene Kaspersky, founder and CEO, has stated repeatedly that the company has no ties to the Russian government, and has gone so far as to offer to testify before Congress about the functionality of the anti-virus software and any political ties to its own government that would make spying feasible.
For its part, Kaspersky spokespeople have made it very clear that this is nothing more than revenge. A Russian company is removed from approved vendor lists for US government technology after the once-bedfellows relationship between the US and Russia began to unravel. Trump has been openly mocked by Russian officials in recent weeks, and it’s not hard to connect the petty dots between that widely spread sentiment and suddenly removing this company’s products from approved purchasing.
According to a report for Reuters, “We certainly believe that this is a politicized decision. This is an absolutely commercial company which provides commercial services which are not only competitive but are super-competitive globally,” Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov told a conference call with reporters. “Russia as a state will continue to spare no effort to protect the interests of our companies abroad.”
Interestingly, this decision comes about following long-held allegations that Russian operatives hacked Democratic National Committee servers during the US election, thereby manipulating the outcome. The Republicans have fought those allegations and refused to investigate for quite some time, insisting that the election was not tampered with. Yet those allegations are the Republicans’ basis for banning Kaspersky Lab products from government computers, which leaves the public to wonder, which is it?
UPDATE: Eugene Kaspersky has accepted an invitation to testify before the US House of Representatives and address allegations about Kaspersky Labs!