Antivirus software maker Kaspersky Labs has been added to a federal list of companies that pose “an unacceptable risk to the national security of the United States.”
The Moscow-based cybersecurity firm, which says it has more than 400 million users worldwide, was added to the Federal Communications Commission’s list of restricted entities on Friday alongside two Chinese companies.
Now that Kaspersky is on the list — which also includes Huawei and China Telecom, among other Chinese firms — American businesses are banned from buying its products or services using federal subsidies.
FCC chair Jessica Rosenworcel said in a statement that the move “will help secure our networks from threats posed by Chinese and Russian state backed entities seeking to engage in espionage and otherwise harm America’s interests.”
In a statement to The Post, Kaspersky accused the FCC of playing politics amid Vladimir Putin’s invasion of Ukraine.
Kaspersky says it has more than 400 million users worldwide. AFP via Getty Images
“Kaspersky is disappointed with the decision by the Federal Communications Commission,” Kaspersky said. “This decision is not based on any technical assessment of Kaspersky products — that the company continuously advocates for — but instead is being made on political grounds.”
It’s not the first time Kaspersky, which claims to be the world’s largest privately held cybersecurity company, has been mired in American political controversy.
In 2017, the US government said that Russian hackers had used Kaspersky software to pilfer classified documents from the National Security Agency.
Russian cybersecurity expert Eugene Kaspersky founded Kaspersky labs. Bloomberg via Getty Images
The Trump administration subsequently banned all US agencies from using Kaspersky software, citing national security concerns.
At the time, US officials said Kaspersky was vulnerable to influence from the Kremlin — an allegation the company denied at the time and criticized again on Monday.
“Kaspersky maintains that the US Government’s 2017 prohibitions on federal entities and federal contractors from using Kaspersky products and services were unconstitutional, based on unsubstantiated allegations, and lacked any public evidence of wrongdoing by the company,” Kaspersky said.
Kaspersky Labs is headquartered in Moscow. AFP via Getty Images
Germany, meanwhile, has also warned about Kaspersky’s alleged Kremlin ties in recent weeks.
In mid-March, the country’s cybersecurity agency told Germans they should uninstall Kaspersky software from their devices because it left them vulnerable to hacking.
Kaspersky denied the allegation and said it has no ties to the Russian government.