Kaspersky lands a spot on US national security threat list

(Image credit: Kaspersky)

The list of communications and services providers deemed a threat to the US national security has grown by three major names: Kaspersky Lab, China Telecom, and China Mobile International USA. 

As per a Reuters report, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) added these names to a growing list of companies in an effort to “defend” the country from “espionage". 

"[Expanding the list] will help secure our networks from threats posed by Chinese and Russian state-backed entities seeking to engage in espionage and otherwise harm America’s interests,” said FCC Commissioner Brendan Carr.

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Political decisions

The FCC did not specifically say the move comes as a result of the Ukraine invasion, or President Biden’s warnings that Russia may retaliate with cyberattacks as a result of the sanctions the US recently imposed.

The affected parties were vocal in their disagreement with the FCC’s move, with antivirus firm Kaspersky saying it was a “political and unsubstantiated” decision that came as “a response to the geopolitical climate rather than a comprehensive evaluation of the integrity of Kaspersky’s products and services".

The Chinese Embassy in the US added that the FCC had "abused state power and maliciously attacked Chinese telecom operators again without factual basis."

"The US should immediately stop its unreasonable suppression of Chinese companies. China will take necessary measures to resolutely safeguard the legitimate rights and interests of Chinese companies," it added.

The American government is not the first to point the finger at Kaspersky, though. Earlier this month, the German Federal Office for Information Security (BSI) issued a warning saying Kaspersky software could be abused to launch cyberattacks, or for eavesdropping and espionage against western endpoints, amid the Russian invasion of Ukraine.

While BSI did not explicitly demand the banning of the company and its products, it did suggest companies replace their cybersecurity solutions with those built by non-Russian vendors.

China Telecom, and China Mobile International USA have now joined Huawei on the list of Chinese companies deemed a threat to the US. 

Huawei has been battling it out with the US government ever since Donald Trump became US president. A few years ago, Trump said the company’s 5G gear could be abused to spy on US citizens, and blocked it from installing its gear in the country, and urged allies to do the same.

Sead Fadilpašić

Sead is a seasoned freelance journalist based in Sarajevo, Bosnia and Herzegovina. He writes about IT (cloud, IoT, 5G, VPN) and cybersecurity (ransomware, data breaches, laws and regulations). In his career, spanning more than a decade, he’s written for numerous media outlets, including Al Jazeera Balkans. He’s also held several modules on content writing for Represent Communications.