The US government is preparing to ban use of Kaspersky software

While US government agencies have long been prohibited from using Kaspersky software, the new ban will bar US companies and citizens from using Kaspersky software over national security concerns.

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US officials briefed on the matter told CNN that the Biden administration plans to issue an order barring American entities and individuals from using software developed by Kaspersky, a Russian cybersecurity firm, citing significant concerns regarding national security.

Expected to be executed as early as this month, this move would leverage the recently expanded Commerce Department authorities derived from executive orders signed by Presidents Joe Biden and Donald Trump. These measures would effectively prohibit Kaspersky from offering certain products and services within the USA.

While US government agencies have long been prohibited from using Kaspersky software, extending this prohibition to private companies would mark uncharted territory. Nonetheless, the sources caution that the decision is not final until officially announced. However, the Commerce Department has reportedly made an initial determination to restrict specific transactions between Kaspersky and US entities.

The impending order’s primary objective is to mitigate any threats posed to critical US infrastructure. Although the full scope of the action against Kaspersky products remains undisclosed, it is anticipated that the firm’s antivirus software will primarily be targeted.

Kaspersky, when approached for comment, did not respond to inquiries regarding the potential prohibition or the extent of its market share in the USA. Similarly, a spokesperson for the Commerce Department declined to offer any insights into pending actions related to Kaspersky products.

Allegations against Kaspersky have persisted for years, with US officials expressing concerns that the Russian government could exploit the company’s software for hacking or surveillance purposes. These claims have been denied by Kaspersky.

Under US law, Kaspersky retains the option to appeal the initial determination or negotiate with the government to address security concerns before the Commerce Department issues a final ruling.

This initiative aligns with broader efforts by the US government to mitigate potential risks posed by technology deemed detrimental to national security.