Kaspersky named first Russian company on security risk list

The U.S. placed internet-security provider AO Kaspersky Lab on a list of companies deemed a threat to national security, for the first time adding a Russian entity to a list dominated by Chinese telecommunications firms.

The Federal Communications Commission on Friday also added China Telecom (Americas) Corp, and China Mobile International USA Inc. to the list.

Once a company is on the list, federal subsidies can’t be used to purchase its equipment or services.

The action is part of the FCC’s efforts to “strengthen America’s communications networks against national security threats,” Jessica Rosenworcel, the agency’s chairwoman, said in a news release. She earlier warned of possible cyber attacks following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

Kaspersky is a well known provider of anti-virus software, and has conducted investigations into a range of nation-state hacking incidents. It calls itself the world’s largest privately-owned cybersecurity company on its website. It says it protects more than 400 million users and 240,000 companies.

The company in a statement said it was “disappointed” with the FCC’s action, calling it “a response to the geopolitical climate rather than a comprehensive evaluation of the integrity of Kaspersky’s products and services.”

“Kaspersky will continue to assure its partners and customers on the quality and integrity of its products,” the company said. 

The U.S. government in 2017 banned use of Kaspersky software in federal information systems, citing concerns about the Moscow-based security firm’s links to the Russian government and espionage efforts. 

A White House official in 2017 said having Kaspersky software on U.S. networks presented “an unacceptable risk” mainly because Russian law requires the company to collaborate with its main spy agency, the FSB.

The FCC on Friday said the 2017 action persuaded it that “Kaspersky-branded products pose an unacceptable risk to the national security” of the U.S. 

The FCC has been increasing its focus on Russian telecommunications…