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Russia calls US ban on Kaspersky products 'regrettable' (Lead)

Moscow, Sep 14 (IANS) A US government decision to stop using security software from Kaspersky Lab is “regrettable”, the Kremlin said on Thursday.

The Russian statement came in response to the 90-day deadline given to US federal agencies to remove the software. The US Department of Homeland Security (DHS) on Wednesday directed federal departments and agencies to remove Kaspersky Lab products from their information systems.

Kaspersky, founded in 1997 and headquartered in Moscow, is now one of the world’s leading cyber security firms.

The US Department of Homeland Security said it was concerned about ties between company officials and the Russian intelligence services. Kaspersky Lab denied that it has ties to the Kremlin, BBC reported.

Reacting to the US government’s move, Kaspersky Lab’s CEO Eugene Kaspersky said: “Given that Kaspersky Lab doesn’t have inappropriate ties with any government, the company is disappointed with the decision by the US Department of Homeland Security, and we will use this opportunity to provide additional information to the agency in order to confirm that these allegations are completely unfounded.”

“No credible evidence has been presented publicly by anyone or any organisation as the accusations are based on false allegations and inaccurate assumptions, including the claims about Russian regulations and policies impacting the company.”

The Russian statement issued by its embassy in New York said that the move would prolong an ongoing diplomatic dispute between the two nations.

“These steps can only evoke regrets. They only move back the prospects of bilateral ties recovery,” it said.

The decision to force the removal of Kaspersky anti-virus and security software was revealed by acting Homeland Security Secretary Elaine Duke.

The move comes ahead of a vote in the US Senate this week to prohibit use of the company’s products by government.
Kaspersky has more than 400 million customers worldwide, but it has never succeeded in becoming a major supplier to the US government.

The allegations have led to a number of US retailers withdrawing its products from sale. The latest is electronics retailer Best Buy which said there were “too many unanswered questions” about the firm’s software. Kaspersky products will now be withdrawn from stores and the firm’s website.

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