Technology 3 min read

Russian Antivirus Software Kaspersky Lab Banned in the U.S. | |

Allegedly in cahoots with Russian intelligence, security firm Kaspersky Lab has been removed from approved vendors list in the U.S. The company denies accusations and says they’re politically motivated.

Common security software is meant to make the average user’s life easier by keeping them safe from malware and cyber attacks, but they’re not foolproof, especially for CIA’s cyber spies.

Documents published by Wikileaks, purportedly pulled from CIA data, point to the vulnerability of anti-virus software, and who may influence its proliferation.

CIA’s cyber spies reviewed a long list of the most known products in the market, such as BitDefender, Norton, Kaspersky, Avira, AVG, McAfee, and Comodo.

Apparently, none of them fared well as cyber spies managed to get around all of them–with varying degrees of difficulty.

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Whether Kaspersky or other anti-virus software suites are reporting to intelligence agencies or not, the news draws attention to a vulnerability. Most users install these software suites without knowing whether these programs could or would gather data and how exactly they would use it.

Kaspersky Lab Banned in the U.S.

Based in Moscow, Kaspersky Lab was founded in 1997 by Eugene Kaspersky, a Russian computer scientist who served in the Russian army.

Used by 400 million personal users and some 270,000 businesses, Kaspersky Lab is among the top ten anti-virus vendors in the world with a market share (2015) of 3.5%.

But now this market share will most-likely shrink as the company has been banned from the biggest market in the world.

The U.S. Government, suspecting it of being vulnerable to the influence of the Kremlin, has removed Kaspersky Lab from two lists of approved vendors used by federal agencies and departments.

As a result, Kaspersky Lab wouldn’t be able to renew its major contracts in the United States upon expiration and would lose a lot other potential deals.

Founder Eugene Kaspersky denied all allegations and said his company is being used as pawn in a political game.

Tech Companies Caught in the Middle of Geopolitical war?

The Russian government said it didn’t rule out some kind of retaliation. We can expect these to take the form of bans on similar U.S. businesses and products.

Should we expect Russia to take action against U.S. business?

Maybe. Especially since there are some precedents, most of them dealing with Microsoft products.

Two years ago, the Russian Communist Party sought to investigate the Windows 10 OS. The software was suspected, according to the party’s chief lawyer Vadim Solovyov, of gathering data secretly for intelligence purposes.

The same was said about Windows 7 and 8 that allegedly contain “spy features”.

Concerned of foreign operating systems, China, in 2014, banned Windows 8 from government desktop computers, laptops, and tablets over security concerns.

Nowadays, economy and politics are becoming intricately linked, and “liberalism” doesn’t seem to be in a position to stop state interventionism in economic life.

We’d be remiss if we don’t mention that, last June, Kaspersky Lab announced a new patented technology to protect users from unauthorized audio surveillance.

How could that be related?

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Zayan Guedim

Trilingual poet, investigative journalist, and novelist. Zed loves tackling the big existential questions and all-things quantum.

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