Politico reports the Trump administration has removed Kaspersky Lab from the approved list of vendors for government-wide purchasing contracts that agencies use to buy technology services.
This does not mean Kaspersky Lab products are now banned, agencies can still buy the company's products outside the General Services Administration (GSA) contracts. However, the move is a clear sign that the US government wants to discourage use of Kaspersky technology.
What it all boils down to are concerns about possible cooperation between Kaspersky Lab and the Russian government. Bloomberg writes the US is concerned that the Moscow-based company has a much closer working relationship with Russia's FSB intelligence agency than it publicly admits.
While the U.S. government hasn’t disclosed any evidence of the ties, internal company emails obtained by Bloomberg Businessweek show that Kaspersky Lab has maintained a much closer working relationship with Russia’s main intelligence agency, the FSB, than it has publicly admitted. 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.
Most major cybersecurity companies maintain close ties to home governments, but the emails are at odds with Kaspersky Lab’s carefully controlled image of being free from Moscow’s influence.
Kaspersky Lab has 400 million users and its software is used in many products, including firewals and telecom equipment, that don't carry its name.
“Regardless of how the facts are misconstrued to fit in with a hypothetical, false theory, Kaspersky Lab, and its executives, do not have inappropriate ties with any government. The company does regularly work with governments and law enforcement agencies around the world with the sole purpose of fighting cybercrime.
“In the internal communications referenced within the recent article, the facts are once again either being misinterpreted or manipulated to fit the agenda of certain individuals desperately wanting there to be inappropriate ties between the company, its CEO and the Russian government, but no matter what communication they claim to have, the facts clearly remain there is no evidence because no such inappropriate ties exist.”
The US and West-Europe account for close to 60 percent of Kaspersky Lab's sales.