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Kaspersky Loses Challenge to US. Government Ban

Judge and Gavel

The D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals Friday dismissed Kaspersky Lab‘s challenge to 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.

In a blog Friday, Kapsersky Lab CEO Eugene Kaspersky acknowledged the dismissal and said he wanted to “send a personal message to our partners, stakeholders, friends, and supporters.”

Kaspersky Labs' Eugene Kaspersky

Kaspersky Labs’ Eugene Kaspersky

“Will this latest decision stop us from fighting for a safer cyberspace for all?” he said. “Not a chance! The DC Circuit Court’s decision is disappointing, but the events of the past year that culminated in this decision were almost expected, and not just by our company, but by the cybersecurity industry in general. We’re sure that the issues involved in our litigation go far beyond technical aspects of U.S. constitutional law; they include real-world problems concerning everyone: a progression of protectionism and balkanization in a world of understated cyberrivalry and highly sophisticated international cyberthreats.”

Regardless of whether his company decides to pursue further legal action, Kaspersky said his company remains “committed to providing the best cybersecurity solutions for our customers globally and saving the world from cyberthreats.”

Larry Walsh, CEO and chief analyst of The 2112 Group, and member of the Channel Partners Editorial Advisory Board, said the ruling wasn’t unexpected and “affirmed the government’s right to select or exclude providers on the grounds of national security.”

“Kaspersky’s legal challenge was always an uphill fight,” he said. “No one doubts the utility and quality of Kaspersky products and technology; however, Kaspersky being a Russian company and its alleged connections to the Russian government and security apparatus leaves a dark cloud lingering over the company.”

The United States isn’t the only country to ban or limit the use of Kaspersky software in its infrastructure, Walsh said. The United Kingdom excludes Kaspersky in secret systems and the Netherlands announced it’s phasing out Kaspersky, he said.

“The European Union is looking at a potential ban in its systems,” he said. “And earlier this year, Kaspersky entered negotiations with the Australian government to prevent a ban. While Kaspersky says there’s no evidence of any collusion with Russian intelligence agencies and it does not engage in nefarious activities, these bans by governments around the world do damage the company’s credibility.”

Negative publicity, especially at this level, will make B2B customers question whether to buy its software, Walsh said. The upholding of the ban will “leave that doubt in the minds of business customers, making it harder for partners to sell Kaspersky products.

“Nevertheless, Kaspersky has done well by its partners over the years, and they will likely remain persistent in maintaining and expanding Kaspersky sales,” he said.


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