Russia criticizes US ban on Kaspersky software

Russia criticizes US ban on Kaspersky software
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Russia is criticizing the Trump administration’s decision to bar federal agencies and departments from using anti-virus software produced by Russian-origin Kaspersky Lab. 

In a statement, the Russian Embassy in the United States labeled the decision “regrettable” and signaled that it would hurt prospects of better ties between the two nations, according to Reuters

The U.S. government moved to ban federal bodies from using the security software produced by the company on Wednesday, citing concerns about ties between certain Kaspersky employees and the Russian government and potential implications to U.S. national security. 

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“These steps can only evoke regrets. They only move back the prospects of bilateral ties recovery,” the embassy said late Wednesday. 

While President Trump has indicated the desire to pursue better relations with Russia, tensions between Washington and Moscow have continued to flare under his administration. 

The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) issued a binding operational directive on Wednesday directing federal executive branch agencies and departments to identify any Kaspersky Lab software on their information systems and come up with plans to remove the security software. Agencies and departments are instructed to begin removing the software in three months. 

Kaspersky Lab has long fought allegations of ties between the company and the Kremlin, many of them fueled by the background of Eugene Kaspersky, the company’s founder. The U.S. government has not produced public evidence demonstrating links between the company and the Russian government. 

On Wednesday, the company said that it would “provide additional information to [DHS] in order to confirm that these allegations are completely unfounded.” The department has offered Kaspersky the opportunity to submit a written response addressing the concerns raised in the directive. 

Kaspersky has headquarters in Moscow but locations worldwide, serving roughly 400 million customers.