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The Kaspersky Ban – What You Should Know

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You may have heard by now that the U.S. government is banning security software from Kaspersky. You may not know why, or what it means for Kaspersky users. Here’s a rundown:

Background. Founded in 1997 and headquartered in Moscow, Kaspersky established an international footprint as a major security software vendor, reaching $704 million in annual revenues by 2020, ranking fourth among antivirus vendors globally (source: Wikipedia).

What happened now? The Biden administration announced plans to halt the sale of Kaspersky’s antivirus software in the United States, placed Kaspersky Lab (and its U.K. holding company) on the Entity List, cutting them off entirely from U.S. trade, and issued individual sanctions against twelve members of the company’s board of executives. Company founder Eugene Kaspersky was not among those sanctioned.

Why? According to the Department of Commerce’s Bureau of Industry and Security (BIS), Kaspersky’s U.S. operations represent a privacy risk and a risk to national security. Commerce Secretary Gina Raimondo says, “Russia has shown time and again they have the capability and intent to exploit Russian companies, like Kaspersky Lab, to collect and weaponize sensitive U.S. information,” said Commerce Secretary Gina Raimondo. “We will continue to use every tool at our disposal to safeguard U.S. national security and the American people.” 

Kaspersky predictably disagrees, saying in a statement: “Kaspersky believes that the Department of Commerce made its decision based on the present geopolitical climate and theoretical concerns rather than on a comprehensive evaluation of the integrity of Kaspersky’s products and services.” The company claims to have offered options including third-party verification of its products, but says those offers were declined.

When does the ban begin? Sales of new Kaspersky products will cease as of July 20. Existing users will need to find an alternative by September 29, as antivirus signature updates will be disabled after that.

I’m a Kaspersky user. What do I do? Kaspersky has long been regarded as a top antivirus product, so many individuals and businesses will find themselves asking this question. The short answer is that you’ll need to find a replacement product, and the best choice will depend on your specific circumstances.

BIS has published more background on this decision, and additional guidance for both individuals and businesses.

Questions about the Kaspersky ban, or which security solutions are best for your business? Contact Hill Tech Solutions.

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The Kaspersky Ban – What You Should Know

You may have heard by now that the U.S. government is banning security software from Kaspersky. You may not know why, or what it means