Biden administration bans Kaspersky software over Russian ties

The Biden administration is issuing a total ban on the use of Kaspersky Lab’s software over its ties to Russia.

The company’s software has been a concern of the U.S. government since at least 2017 because of the Russian government’s alleged influence over the software. The Russian government has total access to Kaspersky systems and access to all its customer’s data, ABC News reported.

“Russia has shown it has the capacity, and even more than that, the intent to exploit Russian companies like Kaspersky to collect and weaponize the personal information of Americans,” Commerce Secretary Gina Raimondo said Thursday, the outlet reported.

Raimondo said that while the company had been a concern for a long time, the Bureau of Industry and Security at the Commerce Department was able to ban Kaspersky under its new authority.

The department “ultimately decided that given the Russian government’s continued offensive cyber capabilities and capacity to influence Kaspersky’s operations, that we had to take the significant measure of a full prohibition if we’re going to protect Americans and their personal data,” Raimondo said.

After July 20, Kaspersky will not be able to enter new agreements in the U.S. under the ban. Existing customers will have access to the software until Sept. 29, but services will “degrade” after that, ABC News reported.

Raimondo urged Americans and U.S. businesses to “immediately stop” using the software but said those who continue to use existing Kaspersky products will not be breaking the law. Users won’t be able to update products as of Sept. 20.

Homeland Security Secretary said in a statement reported by ABC News that the actions are vital to national security and will protect Americans’ personal information and privacy. He vowed to continue working with various departments and officials to protect “our nation’s most vital systems and assets.”

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