The Trump administration removed Kaspersky Lab from two lists of approved vendors used by the government to purchase technology services and equipment. The Moscow-based cyber security firm knew it was only a matter of time before it lost U.S. government contracts over fears that it’s in bed with the Russian government.
Kaspersky Lab specializes in antivirus protection and internet security software. Their software is used all over the world and the cyber security firm has been a leader for decades. Amid fears that Kaspersky Lab is vulnerable to Kremlin influences, and given Russia’s interference with the 2016 presidential election, the ban does not come as a surprise. Russia is known for being corrupt, even at the highest levels of government. Some of the most notorious hackers are believed to be from Russia.
Guilty by Association
Kaspersky maintains that it has not and will never assist any government with cyber espionage efforts. The founder, Eugene Kaspersky, has made several attempts to prove his company’s innocence but the U.S. has not responded. He offered to provide source code, proposed a meeting with U.S. government officials and claimed he would testify to U.S. Congress. Our government, however, has not been receptive and is considering a more extensive ban.
While there is no clear evidence against Kaspersky Lab, the U.S. will have a hard time trusting them. Due to rising tensions between the U.S. and Russia, I’m assuming this is an attempt to ensure the integrity and security of government networks.
If Kaspersky Lab is influenced to hand over crucial information to Russia, they could access Washington’s critical networks. The potential for such cyber espionage is unsettling – neither code nor testimony is enough to change that mindset.