Trump admin removes Russian cyber firm from approved list

Trump admin removes Russian cyber firm from approved list
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The Trump administration has moved to restrict government agencies from using products produced by the Russian cybersecurity firm Kaspersky Lab.

A spokesman for the General Services Administration (GSA) told The Hill that it had “made the decision to remove Kaspersky Lab-manufactured products” from a list of outside products approved for use by government agencies that is maintained by the GSA.

As such, agencies will not be able to procure the technologies using GSA contracts. 

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“After review and careful consideration, the General Services Administration made the decision to remove Kaspersky Lab-manufactured products from GSA IT Schedule 70 and GSA Schedule 67 - Photographic Equipment and Related Supplies and Services," a GSA spokesman said.

"GSA’s priorities are to ensure the integrity and security of U.S. government systems and networks and evaluate products and services available on our contracts using supply chain risk management processes."

Kaspersky Lab, which produces lauded antivirus software and has operations around the globe, has faced increased scrutiny recently over allegations of ties to Russian intelligence. 

The company and its chief executive, Eugene Kaspersky, have repeatedly described the allegations as unfounded, pointing to a lack of evidence. News reports have highlighted Eugene Kaspersky's education at a KGB-funded institute and work at a Soviet military science institute. 

"Eugene grew up in the Soviet era, when almost every education opportunity was sponsored by the government in some manner,” a Kaspersky Lab spokesman recently told The Hill. “Contrary to misinformed sources, serving as a software engineer was the extent of his military experience, and he never worked for the KGB.”

ABC reported earlier this week that the administration was mulling a government-wide ban on Kaspersky products. 

Separately, the Senate Armed Services Committee has included a provision in its version of annual defense policy legislation that would bar the Pentagon from using Kaspersky software on its systems. The amendment was offered by Sen. Jeanne ShaheenCynthia (Jeanne) Jeanne ShaheenDems aim to punt vote on ObamaCare taxes Overnight Defense: Nauert tapped for UN envoy | Trump teases changes to Joint Chiefs of Staff | Trump knocks Tillerson as 'dumb as a rock' | Scathing report details Air Force failures before Texas shooting New Hampshire's secretary of state narrowly holds seat MORE (D-N.H.). 

U.S. officials have not produced public evidence tying the company to Russian intelligence. However, the FBI is reportedly moving forward with a long-running investigation into the company, which recently included interviewing some of the company’s American employees. 

Earlier this year, several top intelligence officials testified before the Senate that they would not be comfortable with the company’s software on their computers.

The company has operations in several countries, and its U.S. subsidiary, Kaspersky Lab North America, is separate from the headquarters in Moscow.