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Will JB Hi Fi & Harvey Norman Follow Best Buy And Ban Kaspersky Software?

The US Government has banned Kaspersky security software and leading retailer Best Buy has removed it from their shelves nationwide after fears that the Company is linked to the Russian Government.

A Kremlin statement issued overnight came in response to a 90-day deadline given to US federal agencies to remove the security software, ChannelNews understands that Australian Federal security agencies are also concerned about the software

The Russian Government claims that the US government decision to stop using software from Kaspersky Lab undermines fair competition, said Russia.

The US Department of Homeland Security said it was concerned about ties between company officials and the Russian intelligence services.

Kaspersky Lab has repeatedly denied that it has ties to the Kremlin.

In addition, US retailer Best Buy has said it would no longer sell Kaspersky products in its stores, it’s not known whether JB Hi Fi, Officeworks and Harvey Norman will follow the lead of the big US retailer.

According to the Russians the decision also “called into question the reliability of the United States as partners,” said Russia, adding that the ban would also undermine the competitive position of Russia firms around the world.

It follows an earlier statement issued by the Russian embassy in New York which said 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 BBC said that the decision to force the removal of Kaspersky anti-virus and security software was revealed by acting Homeland Security Secretary Elaine Duke.

“The department is concerned about the ties between certain Kaspersky officials and Russian intelligence and other government agencies,” she said in a statement.

“The risk that the Russian government, whether acting on its own or in collaboration with Kaspersky, could capitalise on access provided by Kaspersky products to compromise federal information and information systems directly implicates US national security,” she added.

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 several 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.

“No credible evidence has been presented publicly by anyone or any organisation as the accusations are based on false allegations and inaccurate assumptions,” the company said in a statement.

But two months ago, the news website Bloomberg reported it had seen emails between chief executive Eugene Kaspersky and senior Kaspersky staff, outlining a secret cyber-security project apparently requested by the Russian intelligence service FSB.

Bloomberg suggested that the tools not only deflected cyber-attacks, but also captured information about the hackers launching them, to pass on to Russian intelligence services.

Also in July, the US government’s General Services Administration removed Kaspersky Lab from a list of approved vendors.

The company has suggested both Russia and the US are trying to use it as a pawn in a geopolitical game.

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