Dutch government to drop Kaspersky Lab, citing security concerns

The Netherlands is following in the United States' footsteps with its decision to stop using the Russian security company's software.

Alfred Ng Senior Reporter / CNET News
Alfred Ng was a senior reporter for CNET News. He was raised in Brooklyn and previously worked on the New York Daily News's social media and breaking news teams.
Alfred Ng
2 min read
Kaspersky Lab 20th Anniversary Party

The Dutch government will no longer be using Kaspersky Lab's software.

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Add the Netherlands to the list of countries having trouble trusting Kaspersky Lab. 

The Dutch government announced on Monday that it's decided to phase out Kaspersky Lab's antivirus software, citing security concerns with the Russian-based company. Like the US government, Dutch officials believe using Kaspersky Lab's software creates "national security risks," according to a letter to Parliament that Justice Minister Ferdinand Grapperhaus wrote.

The letter also urged Dutch companies with sensitive data to do the same. In the letter, Grapperhaus said the Russian government has an "active offensive cyber program that focuses on the Netherlands and the Netherlands' interests." 

Kaspersky Lab has been in hot water with the US government for the last two years. US lawmakers argue the company has ties to the Russian government. The US Senate passed a bill last September banning Kaspersky software from US computers, while the Department of Homeland Security ordered all agencies to remove the software from their computers. 

The letter from the Dutch justice minister made the same argument, claiming that Kaspersky Lab had ties to the Russian government and posed a security risk because of it. 

The company denied the claims, writing in a statement, "Kaspersky Lab has never helped, nor will help, any government in the world with its cyberespionage or offensive cyber efforts, and it's disconcerting that a private company can be treated as guilty merely due to geopolitical issues." 

Grapperhaus told Parliament that it hasn't found any evidence of Kaspersky Lab's software being abused in the Netherlands, and the government is instead phasing out the antivirus as a precautionary measure. He alluded to the US' ban, and the UK government's warnings, as more reasons for phasing out the Russian software.

In April, Twitter also banned Kaspersky from being able to advertise on the social network, claiming the company violated its Twitter ads rules. 

"Kaspersky Lab is very disappointed with this decision by the Dutch government based on theoretical reasoning, especially given that Kaspersky Lab is in the process of implementing a Global Transparency Initiative specifically aimed at alleviating any concerns," the company said.

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