Russia says Washington’s move to ban U.S. federal agencies from using Kaspersky Labs software products “runs counter to fair competition” and is designed to hurt the Russian antivirus company’s global market position.
Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov told reporters in Moscow on September 14 that U.S. actions "cast a shadow over the image of our American colleagues as reliable partners" and violate “all international trade rules.”
The U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) on September 13 ordered all U.S. federal agencies to phase out the use of Kaspersky products, citing “ties between certain Kaspersky officials and Russian intelligence and other government agencies.”
The DHS also expressed concern about "requirements under Russian law that allow Russian intelligence agencies to request or compel assistance from Kaspersky and to intercept communications transiting Russian networks.”
Under the U.S. order, executive branch departments and agencies have 90 days to begin discontinuing use of Kaspersky software and remove the products from computer systems.
Company founder Eugene Kaspersky has long denied that his company, one of Russia’s most successful technology firms, had connections to Russian intelligence agencies.
In a September 13 statement, the Russian company again denied the accusations, saying there is "no credible evidence" to back up the claims, including the allegations of Russian government ties.
Kaspersky himself for years has been under scrutiny both for his early education at a KGB-run school and because of suspicions that the company has the quiet backing of Russian security agencies, such as the Federal Security Service (FSB).
The U.S. House of Representatives' Science, Space and Technology Committee on September 14 said it had invited Kaspersky to testify over the security of his company's products on September 27, along with U.S. government and private-sector cyberexperts.
In an e-mail to Reuters, Kaspersky said he accepted the invitation to testify, but that he needed an expedited visa in order to do so, according to the news agency.