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  • Marijan Hassan - Tech Journalist

12 Kaspersky execs sanctioned a day after Biden banned the antivirus software in the US

​​The Biden administration has taken a decisive step to safeguard national cybersecurity, announcing the ban of Kaspersky antivirus software in the United States. The announcement was closely followed by sanctions on twelve of the company's executives.

The Treasury Department's Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) sanctioned these Kaspersky Lab executives for their involvement in the Russian technology sector which contravenes Executive Order 14024.

The sanctioned executives face severe restrictions, including the freezing of their assets in the U.S., which will remain inaccessible until the sanctions are lifted.

The Kaspersky ban which takes effect starting July, will halt sales and software updates for Kaspersky antivirus products in the U.S. Customers have until September 29, 2024, to transition to alternative security software solutions.

The move reflects the Biden administration’s belief that the Russian government’s cyber capabilities and potential influence over Kaspersky's operations pose an unmitigated risk, despite Kaspersky’s denials of any ties to the Russian government.

The Department of Commerce has already designated AO Kaspersky Lab, OOO Kaspersky Group (Russia), and Kaspersky Labs Limited (United Kingdom) to the Entity List, effectively prohibiting any U.S. business from engaging with them.

The deteriorating relationship between Kaspersky and the U.S. dates back to Kaspersky’s controversial acquisition of security tools and exploits allegedly linked to the Equation Group – NSA's cyber-operations division.

At the time, Kaspersky claimed their antivirus software had automatically retrieved the NSA files after detecting them as potentially malicious, a common practice among antivirus vendors. However, the U.S. government suspects that Russian FSB agents or Kaspersky insiders might have used the antivirus software to scan for and retrieve sensitive files globally.

Since these revelations, the U.S. government has incrementally banned Kaspersky products from federal agencies, culminating in the nationwide ban announced last week.

The Bureau of Industry and Security (BIS) has set up a dedicated page to guide corporate and consumer customers on the implications of the Kaspersky ban.


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