Saturday, July 13, 2024

U.S. Shocks Tech World with Sudden Ban on Kaspersky Software Over Explosive Security Fears!

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The United States Commerce Department’s Bureau of Industry and Security declared on Thursday a groundbreaking prohibition on the sale of Kaspersky antivirus software within the country. The bureau urged Americans currently using the software to transition to alternative providers.

The bureau asserted that the ban, a first of its kind, was necessitated due to concerns over Kaspersky’s potential threat to U.S. national security and privacy, given the company’s Russian origin.

U.S. Commerce Secretary Gina Raimondo explained during a press call that Russia’s capacity and intent to exploit Russian firms, such as Kaspersky, to collect and weaponize the personal information of Americans compelled the administration to take this action.

Reuters had previously reported the news of the impending ban before the official announcement. A Kaspersky spokesperson did not immediately respond to TechCrunch’s request for comment.

Starting July 20, Kaspersky will no longer be permitted to sell its software to American consumers and businesses. However, existing customers will be allowed to receive software and security updates until September 29. After this date, Kaspersky will no longer be authorized to distribute software updates to U.S. clients.

Raimondo advised that users immediately seek an alternative antivirus solution to protect themselves and their data. She emphasized that U.S. individuals and businesses currently using Kaspersky’s antivirus are not in violation of the law. However, she strongly urged them to cease using the software to safeguard their information.

To inform the public, the Department of Homeland Security and the Justice Department will collaborate to notify U.S. consumers, and the U.S. government will establish a website to help those affected understand the reasons behind the ban and find suitable alternatives.

The Department of Homeland Security and the Justice Department will also reach out to critical infrastructure organizations that employ Kaspersky software to assist them in finding alternative solutions. The Commerce Department official declined to specify any particular action by Kaspersky that led to the ban.

This ban represents the latest development in a prolonged series of U.S. government actions against the Moscow-based Kaspersky. In September 2017, the Trump administration prohibited U.S. federal agencies from using Kaspersky software due to fears of Russian intelligence involvement. Earlier that year, reports emerged of Russian government hackers stealing classified U.S. documents from an intelligence contractor’s computer, which was running Kaspersky’s antivirus, marking the first known instance of espionage linked to the company’s software.

The decision to ban Kaspersky had been in the works since the previous year, according to a report by The Wall Street Journal in April 2023.

Kaspersky boasts over 400 million individual customers and over 240,000 corporate clients worldwide. The Commerce Department official declined to disclose the exact number of U.S. customers but acknowledged that there is a substantial number, including critical infrastructure organizations and state and local government entities.

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