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Kaspersky shrugs off government sales ban proposal

It's not like we sell to the Feds, so go ahead and ban us!

By Simon Sharwood, 13 Sep 2017

Kaspersky Lab has laughed off attempts to have its wares banned from US government computers by saying it hardly sold to the Feds anyway.

“Given that U.S. government sales have not been a significant part of the company’s activity in North America, Kaspersky Lab is exploring opportunities to better optimize the Washington D.C. office responsible for threat intelligence offerings to U.S. government entities,” the company says in a statement.

The statement goes on to say that “North America remains a strategic market for Kaspersky Lab”. So strategic, in fact, that it plans to open offices in Los Angeles, Chicago and Toronto Canada during 2018.

“Expanding the company’s presence in the region will better enable Kaspersky Lab to provide its customers with the best cybersecurity solutions and services,” the statement said.

Company founder Eugene Kaspersky's Tweeted take on the topic is below.

Kaspersky Lab's statements ignore the fact that it faces a wider backlash after retailer Best Buy withdrew its products from its shelves. Best Buy did not link its decision to US Senator Jeanne Shaheen's attempt to have Kaspersky banned on government computers, but didn't explain it either.

Senator Shaheen argued for the ban on grounds that Kaspersky products chat to servers in Russia, which she characterises as a “hostile country”. That allegation is made possible by findings that Russia interfered in the United States 2016 election season, spreading misinformation and possibly abetting hackers of the Democratic National Congress and/or making sure the results of that heist made it to Wikileaks.

Vendors have survived this sort of thing before: Huawei remains forbidden from selling to the US and Australian governments, but its consumer handset business is doing very well in both markets and its enterprise business is a contender in many industries. ®

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