from the prudence-or-paranoia? dept.
The Washington Post is reporting U.S. moves to ban Kaspersky software in federal agencies amid concerns of Russian espionage:
Acting Homeland Security secretary Elaine Duke ordered that Kaspersky Lab software be barred from federal civilian government networks, giving agencies a timeline to get rid of it, according to several officials familiar with the plan who were not authorized to speak publicly about it. Duke ordered the scrub on the grounds that the company has connections to the Russian government and its software poses a security risk.
[...] "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 U.S. national security."
[...] The directive comes months after the federal General Services Administration, the agency in charge of government purchasing, removed Kaspersky from its list of approved vendors. In doing so, the GSA suggested a vulnerability exists in Kaspersky that could give the Kremlin backdoor access to the systems the company protects.
Someone that is in a position to know all about it tells me that Kaspersky doesn't detect malware created by the Russian Business Network. My fear is that if I named that someone, the RBN will give that someone a bad hair day.
[Ed. addition follows]
The full text of the DHS notice is available at https://www.dhs.gov/news/2017/09/13/dhs-statement-issuance-binding-operational-directive-17-01.
Kaspersky Lab's tussle with the US government could have ramifications for its dealings with the private sector. A new report claims the FBI has been meeting with companies to warn them of the threat posed by the cybersecurity firm. The briefings are the latest chapter in an ongoing saga concerning the use of Kaspersky's products by government agencies. Officials claim the company is a Russian stooge that can't be trusted with protecting America's critical infrastructure. The company denies these claims -- its CEO Eugene Kaspersky has even offered up its source code in a bid to clear his firm's name.
It appears that olive branch went unnoticed. Throughout the year, the FBI has been meeting with US firms to convince them to remove Kaspersky Lab's tools from their systems, according to officials that spoke to CyberScoop. In view of the cyberattacks that crippled Ukraine's power grid in 2016, the FBI has reportedly focussed its briefings on companies in the energy sector. Although, it has also supposedly met with major tech firms too.
The law enforcement agency has apparently been sharing its threat assessment with the companies, including Kaspersky Lab's alleged deep ties with Russian intelligence. However, the meetings have reportedly yielded mixed results. Whereas firms in the energy sector have been quick to cooperate, tech giants have resisted taking swift action, claims CyberScoop.
U.S. lawmakers are urging AT&T Inc, the No. 2 wireless carrier, to cut commercial ties to Chinese phone maker Huawei Technologies Co Ltd and oppose plans by telecom operator China Mobile Ltd to enter the U.S. market because of national security concerns, two congressional aides said.
[...] Earlier this month, AT&T was forced to scrap a plan to offer its customers Huawei handsets after some members of Congress lobbied against the idea with federal regulators, sources told Reuters.
The U.S. government has also blocked a string of Chinese acquisitions over national security concerns, including Ant Financial's proposed purchase of U.S. money transfer company MoneyGram International Inc.
The lawmakers are also advising U.S. firms that if they have ties to Huawei or China Mobile, it could hamper their ability to do business with the U.S. government, one aide said, requesting anonymity because they were not authorized to speak publicly.
Related: NSA Spied on Chinese Government and Huawei
Kaspersky Willing to Hand Source Code Over to U.S. Government
Kaspersky Lab has been Working With Russian Intelligence
FBI Reportedly Advising Companies to Ditch Kaspersky Apps
Federal Government, Concerned About Cyberespionage, Bans Use of Kaspersky Labs Products
According to unverifiable sources, an NSA contractor stored classified data and hacking tools on his home computer, which were made available to Russian hackers through the contractor's use of Kaspersky Lab anti-virus software:
Russian government-backed hackers stole highly classified U.S. cyber secrets in 2015 from the National Security Agency after a contractor put information on his home computer, two newspapers reported on Thursday.
As reported first by The Wall Street Journal, citing unidentified sources, the theft included information on penetrating foreign computer networks and protecting against cyber attacks and is likely to be viewed as one of the most significant security breaches to date.
In a later story, The Washington Post said the employee had worked at the NSA's Tailored Access Operations unit for elite hackers before he was fired in 2015.
[...] Citing unidentified sources, both the Journal and the Post also reported that the contractor used antivirus software from Moscow-based Kaspersky Lab, the company whose products were banned from U.S. government networks last month because of suspicions they help the Kremlin conduct espionage.