U.S. FCC Adds Russian Cybersecurity Company Kaspersky to National Security Threat List
The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) of the U.S. has added Kaspersky Lab, a Russian cybersecurity company and antivirus software supplier, to its list of entities considered threats to national security.
This is the first time a Russian company has been added to the list since it was created in a 2019 law. Up until this point, the list has only consisted of Chinese companies, most notable of which include telecommunication equipment manufacturers Huawei and ZTE.
The move bars U.S. companies from using the FCC’s $8 billion Universal Service Fund to purchase products and services from Kaspersky Lab. Along with Kaspersky, China Telecom and China Mobile International USA were also added to the list.
FCC Commissioner Brendan Carr said that blacklisting the companies “will help secure our [U.S.] networks from threats posed by Chinese and Russian state-backed entities seeking to engage in espionage and otherwise harm America’s interests.”
The U.S. government has long been warning against the use of Kasperky’s software, underlining how it could open the country to cyberattacks from Moscow. The company’s flagship antivirus product was reportedly banned from federal networks in 2017, according to Reuters. The ban was imposed after it was alleged that Russian intelligence was using Kaspersky’s software to steal NSA documents.
Kaspersky in a press release on its website said that the FCC’s decision was “made on political grounds” and comes as a response to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. It added that it’s ready to cooperate with the U.S. agencies to address any regulatory concerns.
The Chinese embassy in Washington, meanwhile, said that the FCC “abused state power and maliciously attacked Chinese telecom operators again without factual basis”. Both China Telecom and China Mobile International USA have yet to comment on the matter.
FCC Chair Jessica Rosenworcel said the agency worked with U.S. national security agencies when selecting companies to add to the list. She noted that it could be updated again with more additions if there’s a need.
The U.S. FCC has added Russian cybersecurity company Kaspersky Lab to its list of entities considered threats to national security.
This is the first time a Russian company was added to the list, which was created in a 2019 law. Up until this point, the list only consisted of Chinese companies, most notable of which are Huawei and ZTE.
The move bars U.S. companies from using the FCC’s $8 billion Universal Service Fund to purchase products and services from Kaspersky Lab.
Kaspersky said the decision was "made on political grounds" amid Russia's invasion of Ukraine.