"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", the department said.
Kaspersky, a Russian security software company that has more than 1,700 healthcare customers in North America, is being investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation for ties to Russian security services, which can require Kaspersky to help with Russian intelligence services.
McClatchy reported in July that documents it viewed appeared to show a link between Kaspersky and the Russian Security Service, the spy agency known as the FSB. The decision came after the Federal Bureau of Investigation announced they would be investigating the Russian company for possible ties to Russian security government security services. It said Thursday that it will continue to get its product to customers "through its website and other prominent retailers". And within 90 days, they must execute those plans to remove Kaspersky software and discontinue its use in the future.
At a Senate intelligence committee hearing in May, top US officials were asked whether they would be comfortable with Kaspersky software on their computers.
The Department of Homeland Security ordered federal agencies to stop using Kaspersky-made software Wednesday. He reportedly accused the USA government of attempting to undercut Kaspersky's competitive edge in the worldwide market. But he added by email that "for most everybody else, the software is fine".
"The U.S. government has been looking at Kaspersky for years, so this announcement is no real surprise to anyone".
While Kaspersky Labs has a positive reputation among its 400 million users and is known as a world-renowned cybersecurity firm, Best Buy heeded congressional warnings.
Eugene Kaspersky also tweeted in response to the DHS directive. Michael Sulmeyer, director of a cybersecurity program at Harvard, noted that antivirus software has deep access to one's computer and network.
He described the U.S. move as part of an economic war being waged against Russian companies. "There are plenty of alternatives out there".
Q: What has Kaspersky said?
"I don't think this is political posturing here, but a sign that there is some real risk", Fick said.
Concerns about Kaspersky, a leading global seller of anti-virus software, have been circulating for some time. Staples, another seller of the software, didn't return a message seeking comment. He told Engel his company has had "zero contact with the offensive agencies in Russian intelligence".
The US department also expressed concerns that under Russian laws, Kaspersky could be requested or compelled to help Russian intelligence agencies to intercept communications transiting Russian networks. In June, she successfully amended the defense policy bill to ban the Defense Department from using Kaspersky software.