If you have been following my page since July, you would know that I have already covered a number of stories chronicling the Russian based security company Kapersky Lab and its subsequent banning from United States Government systems. However, it appears as though the US Government has taken their crusade against the Russian based tech giant to another level this week. Multiple reports have now come out, indicating that the Federal Bureau of Investigations is actively lobbying American businesses and private sector employers to abandon the product as well.
As reported by Softpedia News on August 22nd 2017, “The FBI wants US-based companies to abandon Kaspersky software, as it considers the company to represent a threat to national security.” Adding that “the agency first started pressuring US firms to uninstall Kaspersky security products from their systems earlier this year on a priority basis, with the source revealing via current and former senior US officials familiar with the matter (who asked not to be named because of obvious reasons) that firms in the energy sector and those using industrial control (ICS) and Supervisory Control and Data Acquisition (SCADA) systems being at the top of the list.”
It is no secret that Russian “cyber actors” are thought to have interfered in the US Presidential election of 2016 and more recently than this, the United States Goverment has just levied new international sanctions against Russia and Russian businesses for this very behavior. In many ways, the attacks and smear campaigns against Kapersky Lab over recent months should be thought of as a continuation of these sanctions.
In statements made available to CyberScoop earlier this week, a company spokesperson for Kapersky seemed to confirm these sentiments, explaining that “The company doesn’t have inappropriate ties with any government, which is why no credible evidence has been presented publicly by anyone or any organization to back up the false allegations made against Kaspersky Lab. The only conclusion seems to be that Kaspersky Lab, a private company, is caught in the middle of a geopolitical fight, and it’s being treated unfairly.” The spokesperson was also adamant that the “company has never helped, nor will help, any government in the world with its cyber-espionage or offensive cyber efforts.”
The FBI maintains that they are especially concerned about Kapersky for two reasons. First, while there is no evidence that the company is or has been corrupted at this moment in time, the laws as they exist in Russia could allow the company to fall under control of the Russian Government fairly easy in the future. Second, the FBI has reportedly been lobbying American energy companies to abandon these products the hardest. Much like Ukraine, the FBI fears that the American energy sector could become the the next major target of foreign hackers and the US Government wants to try and get ahead of the situation before a problem ever presents itself.
However, for the time being, the fact of the matter is the Kapersky remains one of the most trusted names in cyber security around the world. Not only this, but two separate cyber security studies have gone on to independently verify that Kapersky Lab offers the most secure anti-virus software for Microsoft systems. This is important to understand because the overwhelming majority of US businesses use Microsoft hardware to run their businesses.
Lastly, considering that the FBI and US Department of Justice has literally made end-to-end encryption illegal on any devices produced inside the United States, their advice when it comes to cyber security should be taken with a grain of salt.