The U.S. General Services Administration has removed a leading Russian cybersecurity firm Kaspersky Lab from the approved list of vendors for government-wide purchasing contracts amid fears that the company’s software products could contain hidden features which can be used by Kremlin’s hackers to spy on American customers and to breach American networks.
“GSA’s priorities are to ensure the integrity and security of U.S. government systems and networks and evaluate products and services available on our contracts using supply chain risk management processes,” said a GSA spokeswoman Donna Garland.
Government agencies can still purchase Kaspersky software products outside the GSA contracts, but the process will be more complex. GSA’s decision shows that Trump’s administration wants to discourage further use of Kaspersky anti-malware and other security products.
Bloomberg reported that Kaspersky had a close relationship with Russia’s Federal Security Service (FSB) agency that allegedly participated in the 2016 election cyberattacks. “It has developed security technology at the spy agency’s behest and worked on joint projects the CEO knew would be embarrassing if made public”, said Bloomberg.
Kaspersky’s officials have denied any connection to the Russian government.
“Kaspersky Lab believes it is completely unacceptable that the company is being unjustly accused without any hard evidence to back up these false allegations,” the company said in a statement.