Russian cyber security firm under review by House committee

Russian-based cybersecurity firm Kaspersky Lab appears to be under heightened scrutiny, as the House Science, Space and Technology Committee has asked 22 government agencies for information relating to the firm, The Hill has reported.

A request by House Science Chairman Lamar Smith (R-TX) was sent in letters on Thursday to 22 different agencies, including the departments of Commerce, Homeland Security, Energy and State, as well as the Pentagon and the individual service branches, in addition to several other agencies.

The letters indicate some concern over the possibility that the Kaspersky Lab’s products could be used for “nefarious activities against the United States.”

No evidence has been released that the company has been compromised by the Russian government. However, concerns over its products were highlighted when six top U.S. intelligence officials testified at a Senate Intelligence Committee hearing in May that they would not have Kaspersky Lab software on their computers.

Kaspersky Lab, headquartered in Moscow, has business dealings throughout the world, with more than 400 million users and 270,000 corporate clients, according to their website. The global cybersecurity company has been in business for 20 years, and they boast “deep threat intelligence and security expertise” that offers services to “protect businesses, critical infrastructure, governments and consumers around the globe.”

The House Science, Space and Technology Committee is requesting documents and communications about Kaspersky products, starting back in 2013. They ask for lists of systems, services and government contractors/subcontractors that use Kaspersky products, to be delivered by Aug. 11.

Smith says the request is “part of an ongoing review of the federal government’s cybersecurity policies and standards.” He expressed concerns that Kaspersky Lab may be susceptible to “manipulation by the Russian government,” and writes that their products could be used for “espionage, sabotage, or other nefarious activities against the United States.”

Kaspersky has maintained that there is no basis for the concerns. They say they have no ties to any government, according to reports.

In a June blog post, Kaspersky Lab’s founder, Eugene Kaspersky wrote: “With the U.S. and Russia at odds, somehow, my company, its innovative and proven products as well as our amazing employees are repeatedly being defamed.”

Kaspersky-manufactured products have already been removed from a list of outside products approved for use by government agencies.

 

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