Kaspersky Deemed Threat to US National Security
On March 25, 2022, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) blacklisted AO Kaspersky Lab, a Moscow-based cybersecurity company known for creating popular antivirus software. The firm joins the government agency’s list of entities that pose an “unacceptable risk to US national security.” It’s the first Russian firm to be included in the list dominated by Chinese companies, including Huawei and ZTE.
Once a company is placed on the FCC’s blacklist, federal subsidies can’t be used to purchase any of its products or services. That means government employees are barred from availing of products and services from blacklisted firms. Individual users, on the other hand, are free to do so. The problem is availability and support for banned services may become limited over time.
For example, if an individual tries to install Kaspersky’s antivirus tools on a Windows device, Windows Defender might flag the software as dangerous. A similar case had happened before when Huawei devices were added to FCC’s list, disallowing their mobile phones from having Google Android pre-installed. The Chinese telecom company was also restricted from using Intel or Qualcomm semiconductor chips in any of their devices.
The full extent of Kaspersky’s addition to the FCC’s list is not yet apparent. For its part, however, the Moscow-based firm has stated that it was “disappointed with the decision by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC)...” According to them, the decision was not based on any technical assessment but rather “is being made on political grounds.”
In fact, in 2017, the US government already banned the use of Kaspersky software in federal information systems. That’s after government entities raised concerns about the Moscow-based security firm’s links to the Russian government and espionage efforts.
Choosing to still use Kaspersky products is up to the business’s leadership. However, it’s important to keep in mind that the FCC’s statement is a strong advisory that might raise concerns down the line.
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