U.S. sanctions Russian-based software company Kaspersky, bans products

The Commerce Department banned Russian-based anti-virus and cybersecurity software maker Kaspersky in the United States. File Photo by Yuri Gripas/UPI
The Commerce Department banned Russian-based anti-virus and cybersecurity software maker Kaspersky in the United States. File Photo by Yuri Gripas/UPI | License Photo

June 21 (UPI) -- The Biden administration sanctioned Russian-based anti-virus and cybersecurity company Kaspersky on Friday, following up on a ban placed on its products in the United States by the Commerce Department the day prior.

The Treasury, led by Secretary Janet Yellen, said it filed sanctions after a Commerce Department investigation. Commerce found that the products and services of Kaspersky Labs posed an unacceptable risk to the national security of the United States along with the security and safety of individual Americans.


"Today's action against the leadership of Kaspersky Lab underscores our commitment to ensure the integrity of our cyber domain and to protect our citizens against malicious cyber threats," Brian Nelson, the Treasury's undersecretary for its terrorism and financial intelligence.

The sanctions, which included the company and its subsidiaries, also added its board of directors and leadership team.


Named in the sanctions were board members Andrei Gennadyevich Tikhonov, Danil Sergeyevich Borshchev, Andrei Anatolyevich Efremov and Igor Gennadyevich Chekunov.

Also named were Andrey Petrovich Dukhvalov, the company's vice president; Andrei Anatolyevich Suvorov, head of its operating system business unit; Marina Mikhaylovna Alekseeva, chief human resources officer; Denis Vladimirovich Zenkin, head of corporate communications; and Mikhail Yuryevich Gerber, executive vice president of consumer business.

Others named included Anton Mikhaylovich Ivanov, chief technology officer; Kirill Aleksandrovich Astrakhan, executive vice president for corporate business and Anna Vladimirovna Kulashova, managing director for Russia and Commonwealth of Independent States.

"The United States will take action where necessary to hold accountable those who would seek to facilitate or otherwise enable these activities," Nelson said.

The Commerce Department on Thursday announced a ban on Kaspersky Labs and its subsidiaries in the United States.

The department's Bureau of Industry and Security said that Kaspersky products "pose an undue or unacceptable national security risk" to the country. Kaspersky and its subsidiaries will no longer be able to sell or provide updates on its products.

"Russia has shown time and again they have the capability and intent to exploit Russian companies, like Kaspersky Lab, to collect and weaponize sensitive U.S. information and we will continue to use every tool at our disposal to safeguard U.S. national security and the American people," Commerce Secretary Gina Raimondo said.


The department said it will give Kaspersky software users in the United States until Sept. 29 to find a replacement.

"The department recognizes that many U.S. individuals and businesses rely on Kaspersky software for protection against viruses and other cyber threats," the Commerce Department said in a statement. "To provide users of Kaspersky software with time to seek alternative products and services."

The department accused Kaspersky of providing the Russian government access "to sensitive U.S. customer information."

"The manipulation of Kaspersky software, including in U.S. critical infrastructure, can cause significant risk of data theft, espionage, and system malfunction," the department said. "It can also risk the country's economic security and public health, resulting in injuries or loss of life.

"Kaspersky software allows for the capability and opportunity to install malicious software and withhold critical updates."

Kaspersky argued in a statement, however, that the Commerce Department's move was purely political and does not represent any activities taken by Kaspersky or its relationship with the Russian government.

"Despite proposing a system in which the security of Kaspersky products could have been independently verified by a trusted third party, Kaspersky believes that the Department of Commerce made its decision based on the present geopolitical climate and theoretical concerns, rather than on a comprehensive evaluation of the integrity of Kaspersky's products and services."


Kaspersky said it does not engage in activities that threaten the United States and may pursue relief in the courts over the Commerce Department's ruling.

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