Kaspersky head says hack claims hurting US cybersecurity sales

Kaspersky head says hack claims hurting US cybersecurity sales
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The CEO of the Moscow-based cybersecurity firm Kaspersky Lab said Friday that allegations that the company's software has been used by Russian spies has hurt sales in the U.S.

Eugene Kaspersky denied in an interview with Reuters that the firm had any improper or nefarious ties to the Russian government, blaming an "information war" against his company for the allegations.

“We have zero, zero wrong connections, contacts or assistance to espionage agencies. Zero," he said, noting that the only contact between the company and Russian law enforcement was “limited to cyber crime investigations, data sharing about cyber crime — that’s it.”

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Kaspersky is one of the largest providers of cybersecurity and anti-virus software in the world. But the company has also faced accusations from U.S. officials that its products can be used by the Russian government to conduct cyber espionage. 

Last month, the Trump administration ordered Kaspersky software to be removed from government computers, because of concerns about the company's ties to the Russian government.

Trump officials faced a grilling earlier this week over the firm, with lawmakers pressing the administration for more information on its effort to crack down on the use of Kaspersky-produced software by federal agencies.

Kaspersky told Reuters that the allegations against his firm were due to the declining state of relations between Russia and the U.S., which he said began under the Obama administration.

“We felt a cold wind started to blow in 2014,” he said, though he noted that he expected revenue to increase in 2017 to $700 million. The company generated about $644 million in revenue in 2016.

Wariness of Russia has grown in the U.S. since the American intelligence community concluded in a report made public in January that the Kremlin sought to interfere in the 2016 presidential election and sow political discord in the U.S.