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.
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Nope, not creepy at all.
Tip of the week
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