US bans Kaspersky amid fears of Russian government influence

21 Jun 2024

Image: © Postmodern Studio/

The antivirus company will no longer be able to sell its software products within the US or provide updates to software already in use.

Russian cybersecurity company Kaspersky has been banned from selling its popular antivirus software products in the US amid national security concerns.

In an announcement yesterday (20 June) the US Bureau of Industry and Security, which functions under the Department of Commerce, said that Kaspersky is prohibited from “directly or indirectly providing antivirus software and cybersecurity products or services in the United States or to US persons”.

This means that Kaspersky and its subsidiaries will no longer be able to sell software products within the US or provide updates to software already in use.

US secretary of commerce Gina Raimondo said that the ban is a result of the Biden administration’s commitment to “protect our national security and out-innovate our adversaries”.

“Russia has shown time and again they have the capability and intent to exploit Russian companies, like Kaspersky Lab, to collect and weaponise sensitive US information, and we will continue to use every tool at our disposal to safeguard US national security,” Raimondo said.

Kaspersky was founded in Moscow, Russia, nearly three decades ago and soon became one of the leading antivirus providers in Europe and North America. However, the company has long faced scrutiny in the US out of concerns it had ties with the Russian government’s security services.

According to Andrew Borene, executive director for global security at threat intelligence firm Flashpoint, the Kaspersky ban is a logical reflection of the tectonic shifts that are dividing economies along the lines of power competition between western allies and Russia (along with China, Iran and North Korea) across the digital domain.

“These divides obviously extend into private sector actors as well,” said Borene, who is also a former senior officer at the US Office of the Director of National Intelligence and the National Counterterrorism Center.

“Kaspersky has a history of problems with US, Canadian and other allied governments – banning its use for US security probably is a wise choice in many cases, particularly in the categories of civilian critical infrastructure at state/local/municipal level whether that infrastructure is inherently governmental or privately owned and operated.”

Find out how emerging tech trends are transforming tomorrow with our new podcast, Future Human: The Series. Listen now on Spotify, on Apple or wherever you get your podcasts.

Vish Gain is a journalist with Silicon Republic