Network Take: U.S. Kaspersky Ban Sends Serious Signal to Russia

On Wednesday, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) issued a binding directive compelling all federal civilian departments and agencies to identify and develop a plan to end any use of and remove any Moscow-based Kaspersky Lab products from their computer systems. “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,” read the statement issued by DHS. “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 has some 400 million users worldwide, half of which might not even know they are running the company’s software – it is embedded in everything from firewalls to telecommunications equipment. The U.S. and Western Europe make up some $374 million, or 60 percent, of the company’s $633 million in sales last year. 

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