Russian Cyber security firm with United States headquarters in Woburn Kaspersky Lab was removed from the approved list of software vendors by the Trump government on July 11. The move comes after increased scrutiny over one of the world’s biggest and most powerful companies’ ties to Russian intelligence agencies.
Two lists of approved vendors are used by state departments and government agencies in the US to purchase technology equipment. The decision by the U.S. General Services Administration, which oversees procurement and other management services for federal agencies, will make it much more difficult for Kaspersky to sell its anti-virus software to divisions of the federal government.
“GSA’s priorities are to ensure the integrity and security of U.S. government systems and networks and evaluate products and services available on our contracts using supply chain risk management processes,” a GSA spokesperson said in a statement, adding that the decision came “after review and careful consideration.”
The news comes as a surprise when several reports floated by the US-based media suggested that the security firm had powerful ties than initially believed with Russian intelligence agency FSB.
In May, half a dozen of the top U.S. intelligence officials said during a Senate hearing that they would not be comfortable using Kaspersky software on their own computers. And two weeks ago, FBI agents questioned US based employees Kaspersky Lab employees investigating about the company’s alleged ties with the Russian government.
Denying all allegations in a statement on its website, Kaspersky said the company does not have what it described as “inappropriate” ties with any government. Kaspersky did not say whether the recent controversies are affecting business in the U.S. or employment in the Woburn office.
“Kaspersky Lab has no ties to any government, and the company has never helped, nor will help, any government in the world with its cyberespionage efforts,” the agency said. It also added that the company only operates with agencies to fight cyber crime.
The company’s problems are mixed up with the fear that Russian hackers meddled with the 2016 presidential election and stem in part from the fact that Kaspersky’s software is embedded deep into the computers and networks of millions of U.S. homes, businesses and government systems.