The Russian cybersecurity firm Kaspersky Lab says it has asked a federal court to overturn a ban on the use of its products in US government agencies, claiming that the move has violated the company's right to due process.
In September, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) told U.S. government agencies to remove Kaspersky Lab from their computer networks within 90 days.
"Despite the relatively small percentage of the company's USA revenue attributable to active software licences held by federal government entities, DHS' actions have caused a disproportionate and unwarranted adverse impact on Kaspersky Lab's consumer, commercial, and state, local, and education business interests in the United States and globally", Kaspersky said. "DHS has harmed Kaspersky Lab's reputation and its commercial operations without any evidence of wrongdoing by the company".
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DHS officials said they anxious it could allow Russian intelligence to access sensitive information on computers.
The employee, Nghia Hoang Pho, had used Kaspersky Lab software on that computer, and Russian hackers were believed to have exploited the software to steal the top-secret documents, according to news reports. Kaspersky also claimed it tried to negotiate and cooperate with Homeland Security to ensure it can keep its software on government computers, but did not hear anything from Uncle Sam on the matter. The value of Kaspersky's software sales to the USA government totaled less than $54,000, or about 0.03 per cent of its U.S. subsidiary's sales in the United States, according to the complaint. It came amid mounting concern among USA officials that the software could enable Russian espionage and threaten national security.
Earlier this year, the US Department of Homeland Security ordered state agencies and departments to stop using Kaspersky Lab products over cyber-espionage allegations. The Russian authorities described these steps of the United States government as a manifestation of dishonest methods of competition. The fear is that Kaspersky's anti-virus software, which is supposed to protect users from malicious activity, could actually provide Russian intelligence with valuable information.