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Kaspersky Lab to Remain in US Market, Change Development Strategy

Kaspersky Lab CEO Eugene Kaspersky
Kaspersky Lab CEO Eugene Kaspersky

Kaspersky Lab, a Russian antivirus and cybersecurity solutions company, has no plans to exit the U.S. market, CEO Eugene Kaspersky told Sputnik. The news comes after the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) last month banned Kaspersky Lab security software from federal government agency and department networks.

Updated October 6, 2017: The US government claims Kaspersky's software was used in a Russia-led breach of the NSA. Kaspersky claims it had no involvement. We'll share more details soon.

The U.S. government has repeatedly alleged that Kaspersky may have ties to Russia's government. The security company firmly denies the allegations and is now changing its development strategy in the United States, Kaspersky indicated. Kaspersky also said he does not expect the recent news surrounding Kaspersky Lab to "critically" impact his company's U.S. sales.

"This unpleasant political scuffle does not hit sales hard. Yes, of course, this story will affect our results in the United States, but not critically," he told Sputnik.

Best Buy has already stopped selling Kaspersky Lab's antivirus security software. In addition, Best Buy's Geek Squad software repair team is providing existing customers with free migrations to alternative security platforms; this free offer is available to customers who purchased Kaspersky subscriptions from Best Buy.

Despite the controversy, some strategic alliance partners are openly vowing support for Kaspersky. For instance, IT management and monitoring solutions provider Kaseya in July announced it had no plans to abandon its partnership with Kaspersky Lab. The Kaseya announcement came after Bloomberg BusinessWeek claimed Kaspersky Lab had worked with Russia's FSB intelligence agency.

Why Did DHS Ban Kaspersky Lab Security Software?

The decision to ban Kaspersky Lab security software was based primarily on open-source information, Christopher Krebs, a senior cybersecurity official at DHS, said during a House Homeland Security Committee hearing.

Furthermore, DHS claimed Kaspersky Lab had connections to the Russian government that could open the door for potential espionage activities.

"The Department is concerned about the ties between certain Kaspersky officials and Russian intelligence and other government agencies, and requirements under Russian law that allow Russian intelligence agencies to request or compel assistance from Kaspersky and to intercept communications transiting Russian networks," DHS wrote in its directive, The Hill reported.

To date, Kaspersky Lab has denied DHS claims that the company may be linked to the Russian government. Kaspersky accepted an invitation to testify at a congressional hearing about cybersecurity on September 27, but the hearing has been pushed back to an unspecified data, The Hill stated.

Kaspersky Lab celebrated its 20-year anniversary in 2017. The company provides antivirus and cybersecurity solutions to businesses, consumers and governments, and these solutions help protect more than 400 million end users globally.

Dan Kobialka

Dan Kobialka is senior contributing editor, MSSP Alert and ChannelE2E. He covers IT security, IT service provider business strategies and partner programs. Dan holds a M.A. in Print and Multimedia Journalism from Emerson College and a B.A. in English from Bridgewater State University. In his free time, Dan enjoys jogging, traveling, playing sports, touring breweries and watching football.