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US Kaspersky ban could lead to Russian retaliation

A US Kaspersky ban could result in retaliation from Russia.

By Ellie Burns

Russia has warned that retaliation cannot be ruled out if the US carries out a Senate Committee recommendation to ban Kaspersky from American military contracts.

Citing fears that Kaspersky Lab products could be vulnerable to “Russian government influence”, US Senators this week recommended banning Kaspersky products from use by the American military.

However, if the US does choose to ban the Moscow-based cyber security firm under proposals for “countering Russian aggression”, then Russia could take retaliatory steps against their old Cold War foe. Nikolai Nikiforov, Russia’s Communications Minsiter, told newsagency RIA that the country “does not rule out retaliatory measures.”

This is the latest twist in a battle between US authorities and Kaspersky. Just this week, the FBI paid an unexpected night-time visit to US-based Kaspersky staff, with the authorities wanting to know how the firm shares information with it’s head office in Russia.

READ MORE: Kaspersky antivirus guide – everything you need to know

Kaspersky, however, has repeatedly denied claims that it is in bed with the Russian government, with boss Eugene Kaspersky recently telling The Australian that he is willing to let the US government see his company’s source code. The Kaspersky boss went on to say that allowing Russia’s government to plant backdoors in its products would be “suicide”.

The focus on Kasperksy Lab by US authorities was kick-started by an executive order signed by President Trump. The order demanded a review into the use of software used by the government provided by Russian cyber security provider Kaspersky Lab.

As part of a review into the wider cyber security capabilities of the US, the executive order addressed earlier fears that Kaspersky software could be used to launch a nation-state cyber attack on the US.

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