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US blacklists Russian-based Kaspersky anti virus software


Washington: The Russian anti-virus Kaspersky software has been blacklisted by the US government. It has blocked federal agencies from buying the anti-virus. Concerns arose over the alleged connections of the Russian company with the intelligence services in Moscow.

The General Services Administration official said in a statement to AFP that Kaspersky Labs, a major global provider of cyber security software, has been removed from its list of approved vendors, making it more difficult to obtain Kaspersky products.

“GSA’s priorities are to ensure the integrity and security of US government systems and networks and evaluate products and services available on our contracts using supply chain risk management processes,” the agency said in a statement.

The decision is taken after weeks, when top US intelligence and law enforcement expressed doubts over the use of anti-virus, as a result of its alleged links with the Russian defence and intelligence bodies.

The company said: “Kaspersky Lab has no ties to any government, and the company has never helped, nor will help, any government in the world with its cyber espionage efforts.” It added that “the company is being unjustly accused without any hard evidence to back up these false allegations.”

A Bloomberg News report this week meanwhile claimed internal company emails show that Kaspersky has maintained a close working relationship with Russia’s main intelligence agency, the FSB than it has publicly admitted.

Kaspersky denied the Bloomberg report saying “the communication was misinterpreted or manipulated,” but did acknowledge that it “regularly cooperates with law enforcement agencies, industry peers and victims of cyber crime.”

In a June 30 blog post, Kaspersky wrote, “For some reason, the assumption continues to resonate that since we’re Russian, we must also be tied to the Russian government. But really, as a global company, does anyone seriously think we could survive this long if we were a pawn of ANY government?”