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FCC flags Kaspersky as a national security threat

The US Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has expanded its Covered List, which identifies entities that pose an unacceptable risk to U.S. national security, to include Russian cybersecurity firm Kaspersky. 

The US has added Russian cybersecurity firm Kaspersky to a list of entities posing an unacceptable risk to national security.

According to The Verge, this is the first time a Russian company has been added to the list, which is mostly made up of Chinese companies, such as Huawei and ZTE. The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) expanded its Covered List to include Kaspersky for the first time. This development comes on the heels of Germany advising organizations in the country against using Kaspersky products.

This isn’t the first time Kaspersky has run into trouble with the US government. In 2017 the company was accused of deliberately extracting classified files from an NSA worker’s computer after Russian hackers used the company’s software to identify said files. Later that year, the Trump administration banned the use of Kaspersky software within the US government. Which makes it less surprising that the US government privately warned some American companies about the potential threat of Kaspersky products the day after Russia invaded Ukraine, according to Reuters

Being added to the Covered List is not an outright ban on Kaspersky and its products in the US. However, it does mean that US businesses are not permitted to use federal subsidies from the agency’s Universal Service Fund to purchase products from the company. 

Even so, Kaspersky customers have become wary. 

Since the company’s addition to the FCC’s list on March 25, Kaspersky users have expressed concerns over the safety of its products. Computing media site CRN spoke with several anonymous solution providers who have begun to see customers drop Kaspersky in favor of alternative security providers.

In response to the FCC’s decision, Kaspersky released a statement outlining its disappointment in the decision to flag the cybersecurity company as a threat, stating: 

“This decision is not based on any technical assessment of Kaspersky products — that the company continuously advocates for — but instead is being made on political grounds.”

According to an analysis by ITPro, it may be true that these sanctions are political in nature rather than based on the literal risk of Kaspersky products, but that doesn’t necessarily mean the sanctions aren’t justified. The article notes that while Western governments haven’t publicly substantiated their allegations against the company, it’s common for governments to withhold such information on the basis of national security. 

In other news 

  • The human genome is finally mastered – Last week, an international consortium of scientists revealed that they have published the entire human genome, according to Reuters. In 2003 the first draft of the human genome sequence was released, but 8% of the genome was still missing. Now that this breakthrough has been finalized, there is hope that the discovery can help in the fight against genetic mutations and disease. 
  • Guinness-record skipping robot penguin – The jump rope record has been recently broken – by a robot penguin. That’s right, it wasn’t a nimble flyweight boxer or a ballerina but a cute toy that managed 170 jumps in a minute, as reported by ReviewGeek. The PENTA-X robot from Japanese office equipment company Ricoh skipped to victory last month in what is sure to be an inspiration to athletic robot penguins the world over. 
  • Writing pointers from Google – Google Docs is going to start helping users with suggestions to improve their writing, according to The Verge. In a similar way to the third-party plugin, Grammarly, the Google Drive word document software will aid users with grammar, spelling, tone, and style. But, you’ve guessed it, this service won’t be available to all GDrive users, as you’ll have to be on a Business, Enterprise, or Education plan. 
  • How does space change the brain? – The upcoming Axiom Space AX-1 mission on Elon Musk’s SpaceX Crew Dragon, will feature a new brain experiment with a headset to monitor neural changes during space travel. According to Space.com, Brain.Space is an Israeli startup that hopes the new data can help in treating various brain disorders.       
  • Virtually disorientating – Many believe that virtual reality (VR) can have harmful psychological or emotional effects. According to a recent study, the majority of people develop symptoms of depersonalization and derealization immediately after engaging in VR activities, but the long-term effects are less pronounced. 
  • Hugging robots: the next big thing – You might think that robots might lack certain human qualities needed in a good hug, but the HuggieBot 3.0 will beg to differ. Researchers told IEEE Spectrum that there are 11 essential rules that the hugging robot must follow to deliver an effective hug. Also, it would be best if you can reach for the power button, just in case things turn a bit Ex Machina.

Nope, not creepy at all.

Tip of the week

Content creators have a special place in the online world. They spend hours creating blogs, videos, memes, and other content for their audiences. Indie creators often fill the information gaps left by mainstream media, covering essential subjects that big-name news sites ignore. They also have to deal with less monetary compensation than other journalists. However, their work is just as important. Leaving a tip is highly recommended to keep independent content creators in business. 

You might be hesitant to tip because it’s optional, and why pay out-of-pocket for content others get for free? The truth is the content stream may stop if the creator can’t make money from it. Tumblr recently announced it is expanding the tip jar feature by introducing blog-level tipping for iPhone and web applications. Other platforms like Patreon, Substack, and WordPress have integrated systems & plugins so you can easily support creators with tips, volunteer subscription fees, and more. 

These tips help show your appreciation for the time and effort these creators put in and help them pay their bills. So, don’t be shy. If you have a favorite creator you already follow, go tip them now, before it’s too late.

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Robert O'Sullivan avatar

Robert O'Sullivan

Robert has lived and worked in distant locations around the globe and is currently based in the Balkans. In addition to travel, he has a passion for language, writing, technology, and making sophisticated concepts more appealing and understandable for readers, which are talents he puts to good use at Namecheap. More articles written by Robert.

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