Most of us might remember how the US government prohibited the use of Kaspersky products across federal offices across the country couple years ago. This was due to allegations that the Russian cybersecurity giant has ties with the Kremlin.
As stated by an official from the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) “This action is based on the information security risks presented by the use of Kaspersky products on federal information systems.”
It’s been nearly 2 years since that incident and the world has since moved on from its concerns about cybersecurity to battling against biological threats. But in a recent interview with ZDNet, Mr. Eugene Kaspersky, the founder and chairman of Kaspersky Lab revealed his side of the story.
Could This Be A Political Move By The US?
While DHS maintains the restriction in response to espionage attempts by Russia, several investigators have challenged their claim. Even Kaspersky Lab have issued statements to support their zero involvement with the Russian intelligence in the past but to no avail. As per Eugene Kaspersky, the entire operation was a farce by the Federal government as they spent more money on the lawsuit than Kaspersky’s business with US that year.
Kaspersky claims that espionage agencies have much ‘cheaper’ and more secretive ways to spy on and steal confidential data. Additionally, he also made parallels to his organization being singled out by the DHS to Huawei’s ban and described it as both a political and geopolitical move by the US.
As stated by him in the interview by ZDNet, this ban could also be due to US government’s own espionage against their citizens. As Kaspersky security tools could also detect state sponsored threats and reveal any ties to other malware using similar source code. This is definitely a huge allegation (unless proven to be true) and might actually clear the air around Kaspersky’s reputation in the market.
Did the US Ban Affect Kaspersky’s Market?
Although a ban by US could be viewed as a smear on Kaspersky’s reputation, Eugene describes his business with the US government as insignificant. Ever since the ban came to pass, their revenues from other areas of the globe has been increasing to the point that their losses in the US market have been covered. Moreover, several partners who disavowed Kaspersky have now returned, signifying a growing market for the Russian cybersecurity organization.
Could The Digital Iron Curtain Be Blamed?
Although Russia ended their isolationist policy in the 80’s, Russia’s ability to detach itself from the World Wide Web in favor of a private national network certainly raised some eyebrows. Also known as the Russian internet, this new system is being compared to the Soviet Iron Curtain by western countries. However according to Kaspersky “”Russia, as I see, they want to have the data in house, they want not to be dependent on the rest of the world. So what they do in Russia is to test their system, if it works alone, isolated, to be sure that if something happens the system must work itself”.