US Department of Commerce Bans Antivirus Software Over Russian Influence

( – Users of anti-virus software provider Kaspersky will need to look for a new anti-virus provider after the U.S. government banned the company from selling products in the U.S., citing national security concerns.

According to officials, the firm, which is based in Moscow, could be susceptible to influence from Russia’s powers-that-be, headed the country’s strongman president, Vladimir Putin. The Bureau of Industry and Security (BIS), which ran a review of Kaspersky’s cybersecurity and anti-virus transactions said that the anti-virus firm presents “unacceptable risks” both to the national security of the U.S. and its citizens. Furthermore, the BIS said that the Kaspersky software apparently has several weaknesses, such as the ability to install malicious software, or “malware” on users’ computers, as well as withhold critical software updates. These weaknesses, according to the BIS, could be exploited by the Russian government to get a hold of sensitive and personal information belonging to U.S. citizens.

The ban essentially removes all functionality of the software in the U.S. – as early as July 20, the company and its partners in the country will no longer be able to sell or license the software. Resellers have until September 29 to sell whatever stock they have remaining. There are a couple of exemptions to the ban, however, such as test products and services for Kaspersky Threat Intelligence and Kaspersky Security Training, as well as Kaspersky consulting and advisory services. Customers who are currently subscribed to the service will no longer receive updates after September 29.

Kaspersky condemned the ban, denying that posed a security threat to U.S. customers. “For over 26 years, Kaspersky has succeeded in its mission of building a safer future by protecting over a billion devices,” read part of a statement issued by the company after the ban was implemented. Kaspersky stressed that it has demonstrated over and over again that its operations is independent from the intervention of any government entity.

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