Kaspersky Lab Friday finally had its day in court, asking the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals to reverse a federal district court’s decision upholding the Department of Homeland Security ban on using its products and an identical law signed by President Trump.
Last December, Trump signed legislation that banned the use of Kaspersky Lab products within the U.S. government, ending a months-long effort to purge the Moscow-based company from federal agencies amid concerns it was vulnerable to Kremlin influence.
“Today, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit heard our arguments on the appeal and Kaspersky Lab remains hopeful that in the end the court will find the law unconstitutional after full consideration of the case on the merits,” the company said. “Pursuing this appeal is significant, as the law and the subsequent district court’s decision have set a dangerous precedent with far-reaching implications for the global technology community.”
It’s unlikely the court will rule in favor of Kaspersky, given that the Trump administration cited national-security issues, said Larry Walsh, CEO and chief analyst of The 2112 Group, and member of the Channel Partners Editorial Advisory Board.
Labeling any company as a national security threat just because of its origin “does little to address cybersecurity risks; therefore, alternatives for a global cybersecurity risk management and mitigation strategy with general applicability to all IT vendors must be considered,” according to Kaspersky.
“Furthermore, the world benefits from global cybersecurity collaboration, and only by working together can we preserve and secure the internet as a global good,” the company added. “Despite the ongoing litigation, Kaspersky Lab continues to extend its offer for cooperation, collaboration and an open dialogue to concerned parties. The company also continues to advance its Global Transparency Initiative, an ongoing commitment to demonstrating the integrity and trustworthiness of its products, through open collaboration with governments and organizations worldwide.”
At its Trusted Advisor Partner Conference in May, Kaspersky executives talked about the company’s efforts toward transparency and gains made in fighting negative media coverage.
A Kaspersky win will unlikely change its fortunes, Walsh said.
“The damage is done and its reputation is permanently damaged,” he said. “At one point in time, nearly every software security vendor watched Kaspersky as a competitive threat. Nowadays, they don’t even think about Kaspersky; that’s how much Kaspersky has retracted as a result of the government’s ban. Additionally, in the minds of many people, the government’s ban is intertwined with the Russian election tampering. Recovering from that reputational damage will take years, if ever.”