Acting Secretary of Homeland Security Elaine Duke on Wednesday directed all federal agencies and departments to stop using products or services supplied by the Russian-owned and -operated company.
A U.S. senator called for further restricting the use of the Russian software developer, Kaspersky Lab amid reports of the USA government's plans to limit the use of the company's products over its alleged ties to Russian intelligence services.
The DHS is instructing departments and agencies to identify any use Kaspersky products on their information systems in the next 30 days and to develop detailed plans to remove the software in the next 60 days.
The Department claims that the Russian government could compel Kaspersky to compromise its own products on behalf of Russian intelligence, although there is no evidence either of such a request or of Kaspersky software being mis-used in this or any other way. The Defense Department doesn't generally use Kaspersky software in any case, officials there told the newspaper.
The company's official response repeated the assertion that "Kaspersky Lab doesn't have inappropriate ties with any government" and added: "No credible evidence has been presented publicly by anyone or any organisation as the accusations are based on false allegations and inaccurate assumptions, including the claims about Russian regulations and policies impacting the company".
The U.S. intelligence community has long assessed that Kaspersky has ties to the Russian government, according to officials who spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss internal deliberations.
"Kaspersky Lab has never helped, nor will help, any government in the world with its cyberespionage or offensive cyber efforts, and it's disconcerting that a private company can be considered guilty until proven innocent, due to geopolitical issues", Kaspersky said.
But Kaspersky also sells to federal contractors and third-party software companies that incorporate its technology in their products, so its technology may be more widely used in government than it appears from the contracting databases, US officials say.
US officials have been wary of Kaspersky Lab's ties to the Russian government and state-sponsored cyberespionage-a concern that has only ramped up in the wake of the 2016 presidential election, which Russia appear to interfere with.
There was no immediate reaction to the Homeland Security directive by Kaspersky.
"Expanding the company's presence in the region will better enable Kaspersky Lab to provide its customers with the best cybersecurity solutions and services", the statement said. In July, The Post found several state or local agencies that used Kaspersky's anti-virus or security software had purchased or supported the software within the past two years.
It will take some time to stop the government from using Kaspersky products.
It said it was not a telecoms provider and so not subject to the Russian laws Duke referred to on cooperation with the government.