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The company's cyber-security software is widely used in the United States, and its billionaire owner, Eugene Kaspersky, has close ties to some Russian intelligence figures, according to US officials.

The U.S. government has expressed concern about the possibility that Russian intelligence could access sensitive data and compromise systems using Kaspersky products, which are meant to guard against cyber intrusions.

The decision represents a sharp response to what US intelligence agencies have described as a national security threat posed by Russian Federation in cyberspace, following an election year marred by allegations that Moscow weaponized the internet in an attempt to influence its outcome.

Eugene Kaspersky, the company's co-founder and chief executive, attended a KGB school, and the company has acknowledged doing work for the Russian intelligence agency known as the FSB.

The move is the culmination of months of distrust of Kaspersky from figures in Washington, all tinged with the allegation that company has inappropriate ties with or can be compromised by Russian intelligence agencies. "The risk that the Russian government, whether acting on its own or in collaboration with Kaspersky, could capitalize on access provided by Kaspersky products to compromise federal information and information systems directly implicates US national security".

In a statement, Kaspersky called allegations of ties to the Kremlin "completely unfounded" and said that Russian laws and policies are being "misinterpreted". He denies all charges of Russian government influence in his computer security products. He said American employees had been leaving the company at a rapid pace in recent weeks. A couple weeks ago, the U.S. House of Representatives Committee on Science, Space and Technology asked 22 government agencies to share documents about their dealings with the firm.

American officials have not presented any concrete evidence that Kaspersky has allowed the Kremlin to use its products to advance its intelligence operations.

On Friday, after news broke that the Federal Bureau of Investigation had reportedly urged American retailers to stop selling Kaspersky products, Best Buy became the first major American retailer to stop selling them. However, it claimed this was because "U.S. government sales have not been a significant part of the company's activity in North America".

For DHS, even the possibility of such sharing is an unacceptable risk to national security.

"No credible evidence has been presented publicly by anyone or any organisation as the accusations are based on false allegations and inaccurate assumptions", the company said in a statement.

The direct financial impact of the decision will likely be minimal for Kaspersky Lab, one of the world's leading antivirus software companies, which was founded in 1997 and now counts over 400 million global customers.

DHS said it would allow Kaspersky to submit a written response to its order "addressing the Department's concerns or to mitigate those concerns".

The Risk that the Russian government, whether acting on its own or in collaboration with Kaspersky, could capitalize on access provided by Kaspersky products to compromise federal information and information systems directly implicates US national security.


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