President Donald Trump has signed into law legislation that bans the use of Kaspersky Lab software within the U.S. government.
According to Reuters, this is the final step in purging the Moscow-based antivirus firm from federal agencies amid concerns that it was vulnerable to Kremlin influence. The law applies to both civilian and military networks.
The ban, included as part of a broader defense policy spending bill that Trump signed, reinforces a directive issued by the administration in September that agencies remove Kaspersky Lab software within 90 days.
“The case against Kaspersky is well-documented and deeply concerning. This law is long overdue,” said Democratic Senator Jeanne Shaheen, who led calls in Congress to scrub the software from government computers. She added that the company’s software represented a “grave risk” to U.S. national security.
Kaspersky Lab has repeatedly denied that it has ties to any government, and even offered to submit the source code of its software and future updates for inspection by independent parties. However, U.S. officials said that step would not be sufficient.
Critics of the software company’s chief executive, Eugene Kaspersky, have said it’s unlikely that Kaspersky could operate independently in Russia. And in July, reports surfaced that U.S. lawmakers expressed concern that Kaspersky Lab’s products could be used to conduct “nefarious activities against the United States.”
In a statement on Tuesday, Kaspersky Lab said it continued to have “serious concerns” about the law “due to its geographic-specific approach to cybersecurity.” It added that the company was assessing its options and would continue to “protect its customers from cyber threats (while) collaborating globally with the IT security community to fight cybercrime.”
Christopher Krebs, a senior cyber security official at the Department of Homeland Security, told reporters on Tuesday that nearly all government agencies had fully removed Kaspersky products from their networks in compliance with the September order.