Kaspersky Lab, the Moscow-based antivirus firm, is suing the United States Department of Homeland Security (DHS) in response to being banned from use by US Federal Agencies.
The Russian-based security software company said in an open letter, that it has been made to suffer unfairly as a result of the ban. The legal action is the latest move by the company to disprove allegations that it is vulnerable to Kremlin influence, and that Russian intelligence forces are using Kaspersky software to gain access to US government computers.
Last week, after months of speculation, Donald Trump signed new legislation that officially banned the use of Kaspersky Lab products within any part of the US government. In September, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) told US government agencies to remove Kaspersky Lab from their computer networks within 90 days.
“Considering the grave risk that Kaspersky Lab poses to our national security, it’s necessary that the current directive to remove Kaspersky Lab software from government computers be broadened and reinforced by statute,” New Hampshire Senator, Jeanne Shaheen, said of the legislation. “The case against Kaspersky is well-documented and deeply concerning. This law is long overdue.”
Mr Kaspersky disagrees
The company is especially angry that the reason given by the Department of Homeland Security in regard to security risks seem to be true of antivirus tools as a whole. There is also the small fact, Kaspersky Lab argues, that despite several allegations in recent months, there has been no irrefutable evidence that Kaspersky has either knowingly or unknowingly allowed outside influences to use it software as an espionage tool.
According to a New York Times investigation, Israeli intelligence officials had informed it US counterparts that they had personally witnessed Russian hackers successfully bypass and hack US National Security Agency servers using Kaspersky anti-virus software. Kaspersky Lab CEO Eugene Kaspersky wrote in an open letter posted Monday, that the “DHS has harmed Kaspersky Lab’s reputation, negatively affected the livelihoods of its U.S.-based employees and U.S.-based business partners, and undermined the company’s contributions to the broader cybersecurity community.”
Kaspersky has long been seen as a leading light in the anti-virus world, and has won hundreds of awards over the years. The company has also repeatedly denied links to any government, In October, Kaspersky Lab even went as far as to offer the source codes for its software to independent authorities so they could inspect them.
“Genuine due process provides you with the opportunity to defend yourself and see the evidence against you before action is taken; it doesn’t ask you to respond once action is already underway,” Kaspersky continued in his open letter. As far as Eugene Kaspersky and his company are concerned, the official US government ban is all to do with Geo-politics, and the company’s Russian origins, rather than actual evidence. At the time of writing, no official or attributable comment from the DHS could be sourced.
The legal battle is expected to last for several years…
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