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US accusations unlikely to affect Kaspersky Lab, Russian minister says

October 25, 11:32 UTC+3 YEREVAN

The allegations will more likely affect the United States’ image, according to Nikolai Nikiforov

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© Sergei Savostyanov/TASS

YEREVAN, October 25. /TASS/. Washington’s allegations of espionage against Kaspersky Lab are more likely to negatively affect the image of the US than the company’s reputation, Russian Communications Minister Nikolai Nikiforov told reporters.

"It is a globally renowned company, which has proved its reputation in the past decades. I believe that it is more likely to affect the United States’ image," he said.

Nikiforov reiterated that computer viruses were not the issue. "I will never believe that there are some components in the code sanctioned to send off something - if it were so, it would have been detected," the Russian communications minister added.

Criticism of foreign operating systems

According to the minister, US-made mobile operating systems, particularly those offered by Google, Microsoft and Apple, which are installed on widely used devices, are an actual problem, while the Kaspersky Lab products are not. Nikiforov said that such operating systems may pose a threat to people’s security and be used for illegal surveillance, as shown by WikiLeaks.

"No international rules apply to it. So it is not right to shift the blame to Kaspersky Lab, particularly for the Americans, it is absolutely unacceptable," the Russian communications minister pointed out. "We believe that the US is trying to accuse others of what it actually does itself, in order to have the opportunity to carry on with these activities. Kaspersky anti-virus software is so good at catching malware that I think it must be preventing the US special services from implementing some illegal projects," he added.

US accusations against Kaspersky Lab

In the recent months, the US media have been issuing reports alleging that the Kaspersky Lab company is closely connected with the Russian intelligence services. Eugene Kaspersky, the company’s CEO, has more than once expressed readiness to provide the US authorities with the source code of the company’s software in order to dispel any possible suspicion concerning its inappropriate ties with Russia’s Federal Security Service (FSB).

The US Department of Homeland Security earlier issued a Binding Operational Directive "directing Federal Executive Branch departments and agencies to take actions related to the use or presence of information security products, solutions, and services supplied directly or indirectly by AO Kaspersky Lab or related entities." The document "calls on departments and agencies to identify any use or presence of Kaspersky products on their information systems in the next 30 days, to develop detailed plans to remove and discontinue present and future use of the products in the next 60 days, and at 90 days from the date of this directive, unless directed otherwise by DHS based on new information, to begin to implement the agency plans to discontinue use and remove the products from information systems."

"Kaspersky anti-virus products and solutions provide broad access to files and elevated privileges on the computers on which the software is installed, which can be exploited by malicious cyber actors to compromise those information systems. The Department is concerned about the ties between certain Kaspersky officials and Russian intelligence and other government agencies, and requirements under Russian law that allow Russian intelligence agencies to request or compel assistance from Kaspersky and to intercept communications transiting Russian networks," the document reads.

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