Computer systems at 15 percent of USA government agencies were running Kaspersky Lab software that's been banned because of concerns about the company's ties to the Kremlin and Russian spy operations, a top Homeland Security Department official told Congress on Tuesday.
Last month, Kaspersky Lab's chief Eugene Kaspersky admitted to accessing classified digital surveillance tools from a US government computer in 2014 and sending it to servers in Moscow.
Kaspersky has repeatedly denied that it has ties to any government, and said it would not help a government with cyber espionage. His critics say it's unlikely that his company could operate independently in Russian Federation, where the economy is dominated by state-owned companies and the power of spy agencies has expanded dramatically under President Vladimir Putin. All departments had 30 days to identify the presence of the products within their agencies and 90 days to discontinue use and remove the software from their systems, per the Trump administration's directive.
Ninety-six of 102 federal agencies have reported to DHS on whether they have found Kaspersky Lab software on their networks, Manfra told the oversight subcommittee of the House Science, Space and Technology Committee. She said the department is helping the remaining agencies, which are small and do not have the tools to scan their systems.
In September, the Department of Homeland Security issued a binding operational directive to all federal agencies and departments to remove Kaspersky Lab software due to concerns over potential national security risks. The company hopes to continue cooperating with Barclays, he added.
The company "Kaspersky Lab" has involvement in spying on the residents of Britain in favor of the FSB.
Moscow-based Kaspersky is one of the world's most successful computer security companies.
Kaspersky Lab has said previously that its footprint in the United States federal government market was minimal.
Manfra said such a step, while welcome, would "not be sufficient" to address concerns the USA government has about Kaspersky.
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