Biden Administration Bans Russian-made Cybersecurity Software Over National Security Concerns

U.S. Bans Russian-made Cybersecurity Software Over Security Concerns

1 month ago
2 mins read

The Biden administration has announced a ban on the use of cybersecurity and anti-virus software by the major Russian cybersecurity firm, Kaspersky Lab, due to national security concerns.

This unprecedented move, revealed by Commerce Department Secretary, Gina Raimondo,  on Thursday, extends existing bans to include private companies and citizens in the US.

The decision builds on executive orders from Presidents Joe Biden and Donald Trump, targeting Kaspersky Lab’s products within the United States. Raimondo explained, “We are announcing that after an extremely thorough investigation, we are taking action … which will prohibit Kaspersky Lab and all of its affiliates, subsidiaries, and parent company from providing cybersecurity and anti-virus software anywhere in the United States.”

The ban includes adding three Kaspersky entities to the Entity List, preventing them from selling or updating software in the US. Raimondo highlighted the risk posed by the Russian government, stating, “Russia has shown it has the capacity and even more than that, the intent, to exploit Russian companies like Kaspersky to collect and weaponisze the personal information of Americans.”

This move follows a report in April that the Biden administration was preparing to issue such an order. US government agencies are already prohibited from using Kaspersky Lab software, but extending this ban to private companies is a significant escalation.

READ ALSO: Joe Biden To Grant Legal Status To 500,000 Undocumented Spouses Of US Citizens

US officials have long suspected that the Russian government could compel Kaspersky Lab to hand over data or use its software for hacking or surveillance of Americans—claims that Kaspersky Lab denies. Raimondo reiterated these concerns, emphasizing the need to protect Americans’ personal data.

A Commerce Department official mentioned that while there are no specific instances of the Russian government exploiting Kaspersky, the threat is considered more than theoretical by Biden. “We certainly believe that it is more than just a theoretical threat,” the official said, noting the proactive nature of the new authorities.

Kaspersky Lab, founded in Moscow in 1997, grew to become one of the world’s leading anti-virus software companies. Its researchers are recognised for their expertise in analysing hacking operations by various governments, including Russia, the US, and Israel, as well as cybercriminal threats affecting everyday users.

The suspicion around Kaspersky Lab partly stems from its co-founder, Eugene Kaspersky, who studied cryptography at a KGB-sponsored university and worked at a Russian Ministry of Defense institute. Despite these connections, Kaspersky Lab has consistently denied any unethical ties or affiliations with any government, including Russia.

Eugene Kaspersky has lamented that his company is a victim of geopolitical tensions between the West and Russia, which have intensified since Russia’s invasion of Ukraine in 2022. The ban on Kaspersky software is the latest action in a series of measures by the US government to mitigate national security risks from foreign technology.

Kaspersky Lab has not yet commented on the announcement. The ban by Biden signifies a significant shift in how the US government approaches potential cybersecurity threats from foreign entities, particularly in light of ongoing geopolitical tensions.

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Emmanuel Ochayi is a journalist. He is a graduate of the University of Lagos, School of first choice and the nations pride. Emmanuel is keen on exploring writing angles in different areas, including Business, climate change, politics, Education, and others.

Emmanuel Ochayi is a journalist. He is a graduate of the University of Lagos, School of first choice and the nations pride. Emmanuel is keen on exploring writing angles in different areas, including Business, climate change, politics, Education, and others.

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