WASHINGTON — The federal government yesterday banned the use of an internationally popular brand of Russian-made security software over concerns that its manufacturer has ties to the country’s spy service and the software could present a threat to national security.
The Department of Homeland Security gave federal offices 90 days to eliminate any software manufactured by Kaspersky Lab from their information systems.
“The Department is concerned about the ties between certain Kaspersky officials and Russian intelligence and other government agencies, and requirements under Russian law that allow Russian intelligence agencies to request or compel assistance from Kaspersky and to intercept communications transiting Russian networks,” acting Homeland Security Secretary Elaine Duke said in a statement. “The risk that the Russian government, whether acting on its own or in collaboration with Kaspersky, could capitalize on access provided by Kaspersky products to compromise federal information and information systems directly implicates U.S. national security.”
On Twitter, company founder Eugene Kaspersky said that allegations of “inappropriate ties” to the Russian government were “unfounded.”
“No credible evidence has been presented publicly by anyone or any organization as the accusations are based on false allegations and inaccurate assumptions, including the claims about Russian regulations and policies impacting the company,” he tweeted.
Kaspersky, the CEO, studied cryptography, programming and mathematics at an academy operated by the KGB before working for the Ministry of Defense.
Several lawmakers, including Democratic Sen. Jeanne Shaheen of New Hampshire, have been sounding alarms about Kaspersky for months.
“I applaud the Trump administration for heeding my call to remove Kaspersky Lab software from all federal agencies,” she said in a statement.
Kaspersky’s U.S. headquarters are in Woburn.