DHS directs government agencies to scrub systems for Russian company’s software

The Department of Homeland Security is directing all 430 departments, agencies and offices comprising the U.S. government to scrub their systems for any software made by Kaspersky Lab, a world-renowned cybersecurity firm based in Moscow that U.S. officials increasingly allege has ties to the Russian government.

“This action is based on the information security risks presented by the use of Kaspersky products on federal information systems,” DHS said in a statement today. “The risk that the Russian government, whether acting on its own or in collaboration with Kaspersky, could capitalize on access provided by Kaspersky products to compromise federal information and information systems directly implicates U.S. national security.”

This is one of the U.S. government’s most significant steps yet amid concerns that the Kremlin could try to use Kaspersky Lab software – embedded in homes, businesses and government systems across the United States – to spy on Americans, steal sensitive files or attack critical infrastructure.

“After careful consideration of available information and consultation with interagency partners, Acting Secretary of Homeland Security Elaine Duke today issued a Binding Operational Directive (BOD) directing Federal Executive Branch departments and agencies to … identify any use or presence of Kaspersky products on their information systems in the next 30 days, to develop detailed plans to remove and discontinue present and future use of the products in the next 60 days, and at 90 days from the date of this directive, unless directed otherwise by DHS based on new information, to begin to implement the agency plans to discontinue use and remove the products from information systems,” DHS said in a press release today.

Kaspersky Lab responded in a statement today, saying, “Given that Kaspersky Lab doesn’t have inappropriate ties with any government, the company is disappointed with the decision by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS), but also is grateful for the opportunity to provide additional information to the agency in order to confirm that these allegations are completely unfounded. No credible evidence has been presented publicly by anyone or any organization as the accusations are based on false allegations and inaccurate assumptions.”

The DHS decision comes on the same day that Sen. Amy Klobuchar, D-Minn., sent a letter to DHS Acting Secretary Elaine Duke, demanding information on the U.S. government’s use…

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