US to Ban Sale of Kaspersky Antivirus Software Citing Security Concerns

he United States has announced plans to ban the sale of antivirus software developed by the Russian firm Kaspersky, due to alleged connections to the Kremlin. Commerce Secretary Gina Raimondo stated on Thursday that Moscow’s influence over the company poses a significant threat to US infrastructure and services.

Raimondo explained that the US must take action because of Russia’s “capacity and intent to collect and weaponize the personal information of Americans.”

“Kaspersky will generally no longer be able to, among other activities, sell its software within the United States or provide updates to software already in use,” the Commerce Department announced.

In response, Kaspersky stated its intention to pursue “all legally available options” to challenge the ban, denying any involvement in activities that threaten US security.

The plan utilizes broad powers established by the Trump administration to restrict transactions between US firms and tech companies from “foreign adversary” nations such as Russia and China. Starting September 29, the ban will effectively prohibit software updates, resales, and licensing of Kaspersky products. New business activities will be restricted within 30 days of the announcement. Sellers and resellers who violate these restrictions will face fines from the Commerce Department.

Additionally, the Commerce Department will list two Russian and one UK-based unit of Kaspersky for allegedly cooperating with Russian military intelligence.

Kaspersky has long been scrutinized by US regulators. In 2017, the Department of Homeland Security banned its flagship antivirus product from federal networks, citing ties to Russian intelligence.

Although headquartered in Moscow, Kaspersky operates in 31 countries and serves over 400 million users and 270,000 corporate clients across more than 200 countries, according to the Commerce Department. The number of affected customers in the US remains classified business data. However, a Commerce Department official told Reuters that it was a “significant number,” including state and local governments and companies supplying telecommunications, power, and healthcare services.