Following allegations that its source code may have been compromised by the Russian government, Moscow-based Kaspersky Lab has been removed from two lists of approved vendors that can be used by US agencies.
Kaspersky Lab has been under scrutiny for its alleged close ties with Russian authorities for some time. CEO and cofounder Eugene Kaspersky was educated at a KGB-backed school and previously served at the intelligence organization.
Earlier this month, Kaspersky said he was willing to testify before Congress and turn over his company’s source code "to prove that we don't behave maliciously." But it seems that wasn’t enough for White House officials, who have removed Kaspersky Lab from the General Services Administration’s (GSA) Schedule 70 approved vendors list, as well as the National Aeronautics and Space Administration’s Enterprise-Wide Procurement contract vehicle.
The action was taken "after review and careful consideration," and while agencies can still buy Kaspersky products purchased outside of the GSA contract process, the delisting indicates that the White House wants to discourage their use.
“GSA’s priorities are to ensure the integrity and security of U.S. government systems and networks and evaluate products and services available on our contracts using supply chain risk management processes,” GSA spokeswoman Donna Garland told Politico.
On Tuesday, Bloomberg reported that Kaspersky has an especially close relationship with Russia’s Federal Security Service (FSB), one of the intelligence agencies that allegedly attempted to influence the US election.
Kaspersky continues to insist that it "has never helped, nor will help, any government in the world with its cyberespionage efforts.” The firm said it had not received any updates from the GSA or any other U.S. government agency regarding its vendor status and believes it is "caught in the middle of a geopolitical fight where each side is attempting to use the company as a pawn in their political game."