- U.S. officials from multiple intelligence agencies told a Congressional committee Thursday that they have genuine concerns that security software made by Russian company Kaspersky Lab could be used to spy on Americans or attack U.S. computer networks, according to Reuters, The Hill and ABC News.
- "We are tracking Kaspersky and their software," said Vincent Stewart, Director of the Defense Intelligence Agency, according to Reuters. Stewart was joined by the heads of the CIA, FBI, National Security Agency and the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency.
- However, Kaspersky denies the claims, emphasizing their independence. "As a private company, Kaspersky Lab has no ties to any government, and the company has never helped, nor will help, any government in the world with its cyber espionage efforts," Kaspersky said in a statement. No one has publicly tied Kaspersky to Russian intelligence.
Kaspersky Lab products are widely used in the U.S. today, both in the private and public sector. But given increasingly tense relations between the U.S. and Russia, concerns about the company and its access to U.S. computer networks is on the rise.
Kaspersky employs best practices for security and slew or researchers to get a sense of what is happening in the market. If U.S. officials ban the company or remove its software from government computers, they could be putting themselves at greater risk from cyberattacks.
But given the rise of cybercrimes, computer-based spying and nation state cyberattacks, it’s understandable officials could be concerned. However, at this point Kaspersky products are so widely used, attempting to rid them from U.S. computer assets completely would take a coordinated effort and agencies would have to identify viable alternatives.