Kaspersky Lab to prove that United States accusations are 'baseless'

Under scrutiny, Kaspersky Lab considers changes to US subsidiary

US bans use of Kaspersky software in federal agencies amid concerns of Russian espionage

Acting Secretary of Homeland Security Elaine Duke on Wednesday directed all federal agencies and departments to stop using products or services supplied by the Russian-owned and -operated company.

"Given that US government sales have not been a significant part of the company's activity in North America, Kaspersky Lab is exploring opportunities to better optimize the Washington D.C. office responsible for threat intelligence offerings to USA government entities", the company says in a statement.

Agencies now have 90 days to remove Kaspersky software from their systems.

This follows increasing scrutiny Kaspersky products have faced in recent months amid heightened concerns around potential Russian-borne cyber threats.

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At least a half-dozen federal agencies run Kaspersky on their networks, the USA officials said, although there may be other networks where an agency's chief information security officer - the official ultimately responsible for systems security - might not be aware it is being used.

"The department is concerned about the ties between certain Kaspersky officials and Russian intelligence and other government agencies", Duke said in a statement. "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 USA national security", it said.

Rep. Bennie Thompson, D-Miss., the ranking member of the House Homeland Security Committee, said that since the election, questions have intensified about federal information networks use of the Russian company's software.

"Under Russian law that company must collaborate with the FSB", Rob Joyce, Trump's top cyber adviser, said during remarks at the Billington Cybersecurity Summit in Washington.

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The company's official response repeated the assertion that "Kaspersky Lab doesn't have inappropriate ties with any government" and added: "No credible evidence has been presented publicly by anyone or any organisation as the accusations are based on false allegations and inaccurate assumptions, including the claims about Russian regulations and policies impacting the company". The Defense Department doesn't generally use Kaspersky software in any case, officials there told the newspaper.

There is a blanket warning applying to all federal agencies over concerns of possible Russian espionage by one of the most popular cybersecurity companies. However, it claimed this was because "U.S. government sales have not been a significant part of the company's activity in North America".

This is the first time the US government has taken action and the clearest signal that the claims are being taken seriously.

"The truth is we don't know if Kaspersky has direct ties", he said.

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Kaspersky said the company was happy to have an opportunity to provide information to show that the allegations are unfounded.

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