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Will the US Government Stop Using Kaspersky Lab Antivirus, Cybersecurity Products?

A new Senate bill may prevent the U.S. government from doing business with Kaspersky Lab, a Russian cybersecurity and antivirus solutions provider. Among the big wildcards: Will Kaspersky's government-focused channel partners -- which includes an emerging MSP channel -- remain loyal to Kaspersky amid the controversy?

Several U.S. Senators this week sought to ban Kaspersky products from use by the military due to concerns that the company was susceptible to "Russian government influence," according to Reuters. For its part, Kaspersky Lab denies any hidden ties or conflicts of interest involving any government.

FBI agents Tuesday visited at least a dozen Kaspersky employees, asking questions about the company's operations as part of a counter-intelligence inquiry, NBC News indicated. The agents visited the homes of the employees at the end of the work day, NBC News stated, at multiple locations on both the east and west coast.

In addition, Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) last month asked the chiefs of the National Security Agency, Central Intelligence Agency, FBI and three other intelligence agencies during a hearing whether they would be comfortable using Kaspersky products, and each said no, NBC News reported.

"The ties between Kaspersky Lab and the Kremlin are very alarming," Sen. Jeanne Shaheen (D-N.H.), author of the provision in the defense spending bill, told NBC News. "This has led to a consensus in Congress and among administration officials that Kaspersky Lab cannot be trusted to protect critical infrastructure, particularly computer systems vital to our nation's security."

Kaspersky has no ties to any government and has never helped any government with its cyberespionage efforts, a Kaspersky spokesperson told The Register.

"Kaspersky Lab believes it is completely unacceptable that the company is being unjustly accused without any hard evidence to back up these false allegations," the spokesperson stated. "Kaspersky Lab is available to assist all concerned government organizations with any ongoing investigations, and the company ardently believes a deeper examination of Kaspersky Lab will confirm that these allegations are unfounded."

This year marks Kaspersky's 20-year anniversary as a global cybersecurity provider. The company offers security solutions and services to safeguard businesses, critical infrastructure, governments and consumers around the world.

Today, over 400 million users are protected by Kaspersky technologies, and the company helps protect 270,000 corporate clients.

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.