3 min Security

Kaspersky sales and use banned in U.S. due to security concerns

Kaspersky sales and use banned in U.S. due to security concerns

As of July 20, Kaspersky’s security solutions may no longer be sold and used in the US. The US Department of Commerce decided this based on possible security concerns surrounding the Russian security vendor’s software. Software updates for existing customers will also be banned as of Sept. 29.

The measures will end the sale of Kaspersky’s solutions in the US and ban the use of the security software and related solutions for U.S. end users. In addition, Kaspersky and its various subsidiaries will be placed on the sanctions list for allegedly cooperating with Russian military authorities.

According to the ministry, lengthy investigations show that Kaspersky’s activities threaten national security. Because it is a Russian company, the Russian government has far-reaching offensive cyber-attack capabilities and directly influences the security specialist’s operations.

The latter concerns are particularly sensitive because there is no defence against them. According to the ministry, this would potentially manipulate Americans’ data to serve as a cyber-attack weapon.

The fact that the US presidential elections are taking place at the end of November this year may also play a role, although there is no mention of this. The US wants to prevent Russia and other foreign powers, such as China, from influencing these elections and spreading disinformation in the campaigns.

First OICTS decision

In issuing the ban, the U.S. Department of Commerce used the powers of its Office of Information and Communications Technology and Services (OICTS) for the first time. This department investigates whether certain ICT technologies or service transactions in the U.S. pose potential or unacceptable national risks.

Kaspersky’s current customers are urged to seek alternative cybersecurity options.

A complete ban on Kaspersky software in the US has been in the air for some time. In 2017, the then-Trump administration restricted the use of Kaspersky software by government agencies. Despite lawsuits, this ban was confirmed in 2019.

In the Netherlands, too, government agencies have been banned from using Kaspersky software since 2018, and this ban was extended again in 2022.

Read more: Kaspersky: ‘Ban on security software makes US cybercriminals happy’.

Kaspersky’s response

In response, Kaspersky indicates that they believe the U.S. government’s measures will not affect the sale and promotion of security products. Strikingly, this is diametrically opposed to the statement by the U.S. Department of Commerce.

The security specialist regrets the decision that it will not be allowed to sell products in the U.S., even if they are reviewed by an independent party for their security to U.S. standards.

According to Kaspersky, the decision is based on the current geopolitical situation and theoretical concerns about the security of their products rather than a clear integrity evaluation of the products and services.

It emphatically states that Kaspersky is not engaged in activities that threaten US national security and has, in the past, actively contributed to strengthening it and that of US allies. The security specialist announced that it is taking all legal options, including going to court, to the extreme to continue its current activities and services in the US.