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Sanctions against Kaspersky are 'logical next step,' senator says

The call for additional restrictions on the cybersecurity company follows a ban by the US government.

Kaspersky Lab headquarters in Moscow
Vyacheslav Prokofyev/Getty Images

Kaspersky Lab might soon be blocked from operating in the US entirely. The US government is considering sanctions against the Russian security software company, CyberScoop reports

In September 2017, the US Department of Homeland Security issued a directive ordering federal agencies to remove Kaspersky Lab products from government computers within 90 days. The order stemmed from concerns that the company's products are potentially vulnerable to Russian government influence. The ban was signed into law by President Trump in December. 

Sen. Jeanne Shaheen, a Democrat from New Hampshire who led the efforts to remove the software from government computers, told CyberScoop there is overwhelming evidence of close ties and cooperation between Kaspersky Lab and the Kremlin. Sanctions against Kaspersky Lab are "a logical next step," she said.

Kaspersky Lab said in an email to CNET that the US government's actions against the company "lack sufficient basis," which is why they are challenging them in federal court.

"Kaspersky Lab welcomes calls to declassify any credible information that can shed light on the government's concerns regarding its operations or its products as a public good, so that the company can responsively address said concerns and the general public can better understand this matter without the ongoing obfuscation," Kaspersky said. 

Last week, Kaspersky Lab was banned from advertising on Twitter as part of the social network's efforts to stop Russian disinformation by banning hundreds of puppet accounts and bots.

The Department of Homeland Security declined comment.

First published April 23, 2018 9:44 a.m. PT.
Update 10:53 a.m. PT:  Adds comment from Kaspersky Lab.