Late last month, the Biden administration revealed plans to prohibit the sale of antivirus software developed by Russia’s Kaspersky Lab in the United States. Commerce Secretary Gina Raimondo stated that Russia’s influence over the company represents a significant security risk. According to a source, the software’s privileged access to computer systems could enable it to steal sensitive information from American computers, install malware, and withhold critical updates, thereby exacerbating the threat. Kaspersky’s clientele includes critical infrastructure providers and state and local governments. In a White House statement, Raimondo said:


“Kaspersky will generally no longer be able to, among other activities, sell its software within the United States or provide updates to software already in use.”


The Commerce Department’s latest plan is backed by broad powers established during the Trump administration to ban or restrict transactions between U.S. firms and tech companies from “foreign adversary” nations, such as Russia and China.




Founded in 1997, Kaspersky Lab is a Russian multinational cybersecurity and antivirus provider headquartered in Moscow and operated by a holding company in the United Kingdom. The company develops and sells a range of cybersecurity products and services, including antivirus, internet security, password management, and endpoint security. By 2016, Kaspersky Lab’s software had approximately 400 million users and held the largest market share among cybersecurity software vendors in Europe. It is also the sixth-largest IT security company globally. The Kaspersky Anti-Virus engine powers products or solutions from other security vendors such as Check Point, Bluecoat, Juniper Networks, Microsoft Forefront, Netintelligence, and Netasq. Over 120 companies license technology from Kaspersky Lab. Additionally, the company maintains several partnerships with various technology firms. As of 2020, Kaspersky Lab employed over 4,000 people, was servicing 270,000 corporate clients and reported a revenue of $700 million.




Kaspersky has long been a target for U.S. regulators. In 2017, the Department of Homeland Security banned its flagship antivirus product from federal networks, citing alleged ties to Russian intelligence. This latest tactic will effectively prohibit downloads of software updates, resales, and licensing of Kaspersky products starting on 29 September. This means that as of the day of the announcement, users have 100 days to find alternative antivirus software. New business transactions will be restricted within 30 days of the announcement. Sellers and resellers who violate these restrictions will be subject to fines from the Commerce Department. The Commerce Department will also list two Russian units and one UK-based unit of Kaspersky for allegedly collaborating with Russian military intelligence. The U.S. Bureau of Industry and Security found that they posed


 “… unacceptable risks to the United States’ national security and the security and safety of its people. The manipulation of Kaspersky software, including in U.S. critical infrastructure, can cause significant risks of data theft, espionage, and system malfunction. It can also risk the country’s economic security and public health, resulting in injuries or loss of life.”




According to Reuters, Kaspersky stated that it believes the U.S. decision is driven by the current geopolitical climate and hypothetical concerns, rather than a thorough assessment of the integrity of its products and services. In an emailed statement, Kaspersky asserted that its activities do not pose a threat to U.S. national security and indicated it would explore legal options to maintain its operations. A Kaspersky spokesperson said:


“Kaspersky does not engage in activities which threaten U.S. national security and, in fact, has made significant contributions with its reporting and protection from a variety of threat actors that targeted U.S. interests and allies.”


The Russian Embassy did not respond to requests for comment. Kaspersky has previously maintained that it is a privately managed company with no connections to the Russian government.




Antivirus software is a security program designed to prevent, detect, search for, and remove viruses and other types of malware from computers, networks, and other devices. Often included as part of a security package, antivirus software can also be purchased as a standalone option. Typically installed on a computer as a proactive approach to cybersecurity, antivirus programs can help mitigate a variety of cyber threats, including keyloggers, browser hijackers, Trojan horses, worms, rootkits, spyware, adware, botnets, phishing attempts, and ransomware attacks. Due to the constantly evolving nature of cybercrimes and the daily release of new malware, including zero-day attacks, no antivirus program can offer complete detection and protection against all threat vectors.




Every day, new malware and other online threats emerge. The AV-Test Institute registers over 350,000 new pieces of malware and potentially unwanted applications daily. Any business, regardless of size, that uses computers will need antivirus software to protect against viruses, malware, spam attacks, and other cyber threats. Businesses typically hold hundreds or even thousands of confidential details about employees, clients, and the company itself. Using antivirus software to protect computers from viruses and hackers is essential for safeguarding this data and maintaining business security. Remember that once a system has been corrupted, it is rare to recover it fully. Viruses can significantly damage a business’s reputation if they expose personal client data or send unauthorised emails to contacts in an attempt to spread the virus further. Therefore, having an antivirus system in place that can detect and prevent virus attacks is preferable to spending time and money repairing an infected machine and potentially rebuilding the business’s reputation.




As a London cyber expert and IT thought leader, I have 20 years plus of experience in IT support, specialising in data protection, compliance and network security. Let me handle your IT hurdles, including your antivirus protection, freeing you to concentrate on your primary business endeavours with peace of mind. Empower your teams, boost productivity, and enjoy the advantages of my proactive support approach. Get in touch today and let’s get you protected and stay protected.


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