It’s now against the law for the US government to use Kaspersky Lab software.
A ban on the antivirus firm’s products was included in the 2018 National Defense Authorization Act, a sweeping defense policy bill signed into law by President Donald Trump on Tuesday. The prohibition, reinforcing a directive issued by the Trump Administration in September, comes amid concern the Moscow-based company might be vulnerable to Russian government influence.
Cybersecurity has become a hot topic in Washington as concerns have mounted over email leaks during the 2016 presidential election campaign and reports of Russian online meddling, as well as breaches at government agencies and in the business world. In May, President Trump signed an executive order on cybersecurity that calls for US government agencies to modernize and strengthen their computer systems.
“Considering the grave risk that Kaspersky Lab poses to our national security, it’s necessary that the current directive to remove Kaspersky Lab software from government computers be broadened and reinforced by statute,” Democratic Sen. Jeanne Shaheen, who led efforts to remove the software from government computers, said in a statement. “The case against Kaspersky is well-documented and deeply concerning. This law is long overdue.”
Kaspersky didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment but has long denied the allegations. The company previously said it “doesn’t have inappropriate ties with any government, which is why no credible evidence has been presented publicly by anyone or any organization to back up the false allegations made against the company.”
In September, the Department of Homeland Security issued a binding directive ordering all federal departments and agencies to remove Kaspersky Lab products from government computers, saying it was “concerned about the ties between certain Kaspersky officials and Russian intelligence and other government agencies, and requirements under Russian law that allow Russian intelligence agencies to request or compel assistance from Kaspersky and to intercept communications transiting Russian networks.”