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U.S. tells federal agencies not to use Russian software

Citing concerns over Russian espionage, on Wednesday the United States government announced a ban by federal agencies on using security software made by the Russian company Kaspersky Lab.

Acting Homeland Security secretary Elaine Duke said she ordered Kaspersky Lab software to be scrubbed from federal civilian networks because the company’s ties to the Kremlin could pose a security risk to the U.S.

“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,” said a Homeland Security Department statement, as reported by The Washington Post. “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.”

Kaspersky Lab denied having inappropriate connections with Russia or any government, telling the Post it appears the company is “caught in the middle of a geopolitical fight” and is being treated unfairly.

“Kaspersky Lab has always acknowledged that it provides appropriate products and services to governments around the world to protect those organizations from cyberthreats, but it does not have unethical ties or affiliations with any government, including Russia,” the company said Wednesday.

Former NSA deputy director Richard Ledgett praised the move by Homeland Security, noting that like other Russian companies, Kaspersky Lab is required by Russian law to share information from its servers with the government.

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