"The risk that the Russian government, whether acting on its own or in collaboration with Kaspersky, could capitalize on access provided by Kaspersky products to compromise federal information and information systems directly implicates US national security".
USA authorities also believe that "certain Kaspersky officials" could have ties with Russian intelligence and other government agencies, providing an opportunity for United States security to be "compromised".
"The risk that the Russian government, whether acting on its own or in collaboration with Kaspersky, could capitalize on access provided by Kaspersky products to compromise federal information and information systems directly implicates US national security", it said. The company's founder, Eugene Kaspersky, graduated from a KGB-supported cryptography school and had worked in Russian military intelligence.
By banning Kaspersky, US officials have struck a blow to the business goals at one of Russia's most successful global companies and may expose American firms to retaliation from Moscow. The agencies have an unspecified timeline to rid their machines of the software, which DHS declared may pose a security risk. The decision was made after the GSA raised concerns about a vulnerability in Kaspersky that could provide the Russian government backdoor access to systems running the security firm's products. In a statement on Wednesday, DHS Acting Secretary Elaine Duke directed all Executive Branch agencies and departments to identify any Kaspersky products being used over the next 30 days, to make a plan to eliminate their use in the next 60 days and to begin that discontinuation within 90 days.
Officials are also concerned about a Russian law that could compel the company to provide information. Best Buy did not link its decision to US Senator Jeanne Shaheen's attempt to have Kaspersky banned on government computers, but didn't explain it either. At time of publication, the software company is yet to make a public statement; we've requested comment from Kaspersky, and will update if and when that happens. However, it claimed this was because "U.S. government sales have not been a significant part of the company's activity in North America".
In July, the chief executive of Russia's Kaspersky Lab, Eugene Kaspersky, told The Associated Press at his Moscow headquarters that US government officials can examine his company's source code to dispel suspicions about his company's ties to the Kremlin.
"No credible evidence has been presented publicly by anyone or any organization as the accusations are based on false allegations and inaccurate assumptions, including claims about the impact of Russian regulations and policies on the company", Kaspersky said.
On Friday, after news broke that the Federal Bureau of Investigation had reportedly urged American retailers to stop selling Kaspersky products, Best Buy became the first major American retailer to stop selling them.
Also in July, the USA government's General Services Administration removed Kaspersky Lab from a list of approved vendors.