Moscow-based Kaspersky Lab says fed ban on its products is 'location' bias

Moscow-based Kaspersky Lab says fed ban on its products is 'location' bias
© Getty Images

Beleaguered Moscow-based cybersecurity company Kaspersky Lab says it is the victim of bias against “the location of its headquarters” after a law signed Tuesday banned federal use of its products.

Kaspersky has been under fire for potential connections to Russian espionage operations for most of the year. The Department of Homeland Security issued a directive barring federal agencies from using Kaspersky products in September, which was codified into law this week as part of the National Defense Authorization Act.

There have been media reports that Russian operatives may have reconfigured Kaspersky Antivirus to search for classified documents in addition to viruses, though Kaspersky has denied knowingly participating in any government scheme.

ADVERTISEMENT

“All software, including various products more widely deployed in government networks than Kaspersky Lab software, can have vulnerabilities exploited by a malicious cyber actor,” the firm said in a statement Wednesday.

“Yet, Congress failed to address this fact or take a comprehensive look at federal IT sourcing policies to determine what improvements, if any, Congress could make to existing statutory and administrative authorities related to protecting government networks.”

The House Science, Space and Technology Committee has an ongoing series of hearings about security threats in Kaspersky wares at which founder Eugene Kaspersky has expressed interest in testifying.

Through those hearings, the committee deduced that Kaspersky entered the government’s radar as a security concern at least as far back as 2004.

Over the past year, lawmakers have brought those concerns into public discussion.

In its statement, Kaspersky said the government’s actions would not effect its mission.

“Kaspersky Lab continues to prioritize protecting its customers from cyber threats, regardless of their origin or purpose, and collaborating globally with the IT security community to fight cybercrime."