Russian Cyber security firm Kaspersky Lab removed from approved list of software vendors by the Trump government
Russian cyber security firm Kaspersky Lab suffered a jolt from the Donald Trump administration on Tuesday when it announced that it had removed the former from two lists of approved vendors used by state departments and government agencies in the United States to purchase technology equipment, amid worries about the company’s links to intelligence services in Moscow.
The news comes as a surprise when several reports floated by the US-based media, including Bloomberg News, suggested that the security firm had powerful ties than initially believed with Russian intelligence agency FSB.
The General Services Administration (GSA) who confirmed the news to AFP said that “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.”
Denying all allegations in a statement on its website, Kaspersky said that the company does not have what it described as “inappropriate” ties with any government.
“Kaspersky Lab has no ties to any government, and the company has never helped, nor will help, any government in the world with its cyberespionage efforts,” the agency said. It also added that the company only operates with agencies to fight cyber crime.
“Kaspersky Lab is very public about the fact that it assists law enforcement agencies around the world with fighting cyberthreats, including those in Russia, by providing cybersecurity expertise on malware and cyberattacks,” the firm says.
“When assisting in official Russian cybercrime investigations, in accordance with Russian law, we only provide technical expertise throughout the investigation to help them catch cybercriminals. Concerning raids and physically catching cybercriminals, Kaspersky Lab might ride along to examine any digital evidence found, but that is the extent of our participation, as we do not track hackers’ locations. Kaspersky Lab doesn’t provide any government agencies, nor other parties, with information on location of people and doesn’t gather ‘identifying data from customers’ computers’ because it is technically impossible.”
Bloomberg News claimed to have acquired internal company emails that served as evidence of a “much closer working relationship” between Kaspersky and FSB. Disputing Bloomberg’s claim on Tuesday, Kaspersky said that “the communication was misinterpreted or manipulated,” but did acknowledge that it “regularly cooperates with law enforcement agencies, industry peers and victims of cybercrime.”
It also added that “the company is being unjustly accused without any hard evidence to back up these false allegations.”
In an earlier post written by Kaspersky on June 30 mentioned that, “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?”