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Washington D.C.
Friday, July 19, 2024

Department of Commerce Bans Kaspersky Software Due to National Security Risks

The Department of Commerce‘s Bureau of Industry and Security (BIS) has issued a Final Determination prohibiting Kaspersky Lab, Inc., the U.S. subsidiary of the Russia-based cybersecurity firm, from providing its products and services in the United States. This prohibition extends to Kaspersky’s affiliates, subsidiaries, and parent companies, marking the first such determination by BIS’s Office of Information and Communications Technology and Services (OICTS).

The decision means that Kaspersky will no longer be able to sell its software in the United States or provide updates to existing software. The full list of prohibited transactions is available on the BIS website.

This action follows an extensive investigation that determined Kaspersky’s continued operations in the U.S. pose a national security risk. The investigation highlighted the Russian Government’s offensive cyber capabilities and its potential influence over Kaspersky’s operations, leading to the conclusion that the risks could not be mitigated short of a complete prohibition.

In addition to this determination, BIS has added three Kaspersky entities—AO Kaspersky Lab, OOO Kaspersky Group (Russia), and Kaspersky Labs Limited (United Kingdom)—to the Entity List for their cooperation with Russian military and intelligence authorities in support of the Russian Government’s cyber intelligence objectives.

Individuals and businesses currently using Kaspersky products are strongly encouraged to transition to alternative vendors to mitigate exposure to cybersecurity risks. The prohibition does not carry legal penalties for continued use but places the onus on users to manage the associated risks.

To minimize disruption, Kaspersky will be allowed to continue certain operations in the U.S., such as providing anti-virus signature updates, until September 29, 2024.

Secretary of Commerce Gina Raimondo emphasized the critical nature of this decision for national security, noting the Russian Government’s demonstrated intent to exploit companies like Kaspersky for cyber espionage. Secretary of Homeland Security Alejandro N. Mayorkas highlighted the importance of the action in protecting the personal information and privacy of Americans.

Under Secretary for Industry and Security Alan Estevez underscored the significance of this step in making the American cyber ecosystem safer, while Elizabeth Cannon, Executive Director of the OICTS, stated that the Department of Commerce is prepared to assist U.S. businesses and consumers in responding to this action.

Kaspersky is a global cybersecurity firm with a significant presence in over 200 countries, serving more than 400 million users and 270,000 corporate clients. The U.S. Government had previously taken action against Kaspersky in 2017, when the Department of Homeland Security directed federal agencies to remove Kaspersky products from federal systems. The National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2018 further prohibited the use of Kaspersky by the Federal Government. In March 2022, the Federal Communications Commission added Kaspersky to its list of communications equipment and services that pose a threat to national security.

The Department of Commerce, in collaboration with the Department of Homeland Security and the Department of Justice, is working to inform U.S. customers about the prohibition and provide resources for removing Kaspersky software. This includes outreach to State, Local, Tribal, and Territorial government agencies, critical infrastructure operators, and non-government customers.

For more information and resources click here.

Homeland Security Today
Homeland Security Todayhttp://www.hstoday.us
The Government Technology & Services Coalition's Homeland Security Today (HSToday) is the premier news and information resource for the homeland security community, dedicated to elevating the discussions and insights that can support a safe and secure nation. A non-profit magazine and media platform, HSToday provides readers with the whole story, placing facts and comments in context to inform debate and drive realistic solutions to some of the nation’s most vexing security challenges.

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