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Ukraine puts another nail in Kaspersky coffin

by on10 May 2022

US ratchets up pressure to send Kaspersky to the Duat 

Already in trouble with the Russian government for shifting some operations to Switzerland, Kaspersky Lab now faces a fresh national security probe from the US government which is bound to be painful.

The case was referred to the Commerce Department by the Department of Justice last year, but Commerce made little progress on it until the White House and other administration officials urged them to move forward in March.

The US is worried the Kremlin could use the antivirus software, which has privileged access to a computer's systems, to steal sensitive information from American computers or tamper with them as tensions escalate between Moscow and the West. Access to the networks of federal contractors and operators of critical US infrastructure such as power grids are seen as a concern.

Kaspersky has attempted to stay neutral which means it is under pressure from both sides. Its move to shift key operations out of Moscow raised an eyebrow or two at the Kremlin and its refusal to criticise the invasion of Ukraine angered the West.

US regulators have already banned federal government use of Kaspersky software, and could ultimately force the company to take measures to reduce risks posed by its products or prohibit Americans from using them altogether.

A top Justice Department official said last year that the agency was examining dozens of Russian companies, including "a known connection between a particular company and the Russian intelligence services," to see whether they threatened the U.S. supply chain. The department could refer some of the cases to Commerce for further action, then-Assistant Attorney General John Demers said at the time.

Kaspersky, which made an estimated $95.3 million in U.S. revenue in 2020 according to market research firm Gartner, accounting for nearly 15 per cent of its global revenue that year.

In March, German authorities warned the Kremlin might coerce the Moscow-based company to participate in cyberattacks, or Russian government agents could clandestinely use its technology to launch cyberattacks without its knowledge.
Kaspersky said in a statement then that it was a privately-managed company with no ties to the Russian government, and described the German warning as politically motivated.


Last modified on 10 May 2022
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