Russia says Kaspersky removal in US delays normalizing ties
The decision by the US government to stop using Kaspersky Lab products is “regrettable” and delays the prospects of a restoration of bilateral ties, said the Russian Embassy in the US.
The Trump administration on Wednesday told US government agencies to remove Kaspersky Lab products from their networks, saying it was concerned the Moscow-based cyber security firm was vulnerable to Kremlin influence and that using its anti-virus software could jeopardize national security.
“These steps can only evoke regrets. They only move back the prospects of bilateral ties recovery,” the embassy said in a statement late on Wednesday.
It also called for consideration of Russia’s proposal to form a joint group to address cyber security issues.
The decision of removing Kaspersky Lab products represents a sharp response to what US intelligence agencies have described as a national security threat posed by Russia in cyberspace, following an election year marred by allegations that Moscow weaponized the Internet in an attempt to influence its outcome.
In a statement, Kaspersky Lab rejected the allegations, as it has done repeatedly in recent months, and said its critics were misinterpreting Russian datasharing laws that only applied to communications services.
“No credible evidence has been presented publicly by anyone or any organization as the accusations are based on false allegations and inaccurate assumptions,” the company said.
The Department of Homeland Security issued a directive to federal agencies ordering them to identify Kaspersky products on their information systems within 30 days and begin to discontinue their use within 90 days.
The order applies only to civilian government agencies and not the Pentagon, but US intelligence leaders said earlier this year that Kaspersky was already generally not allowed on military networks.
Kaspersky Lab has repeatedly denied that it has ties to any government and said it would not help a government with cyber espionage.