FCC adds Kaspersky to US national security watchlist
Russian cyber security firm Kaspersky Lab has been added to the US Federal Communications Commission’s list of entities that pose an “unacceptable risk to US security.”
This is the first time a Russian company has been added to the list, which is primarily made up of Chinese based firms, such as Huawei and ZTE. It comes off the back of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, though the FCC did not draw a link to the current situation.
Chinese telecoms providers China Telecom and China Mobile International have also been added to the entities list, according to a report from Bloomberg.
According to an FCC statement, the move comes in an effort to uphold 2019’s Secure and Trusted Communications Networks Act, which requires the agency to publish a list that details any communications equipment or services which may present a risk to national security.
The FCC list – first published in March 2021 – currently contains eight companies, with the rest all based in China.
“I am pleased that our national security agencies agreed with my assessment that China Mobile and China Telecom appeared to meet the threshold necessary to add these entities to our list,” said FCC chairwoman Jessica Rosenworcel in a press release.
“Their addition, as well as Kaspersky Labs, will help secure our networks from threats posed by Chinese and Russian state backed entities seeking to engage in espionage and otherwise harm America’s interests.”
Kaspersky already faced restrictions in the country as part of the US Government’s 2017 prohibitions on federal entities and federal contractors from using its products and services. This came after the Russian intelligence FSB allegedly used Kaspersky’s antivirus software to steal classified documents from the National Security Agency — a claim denied by the Moscow-based company.
Kaspersky accused the FCC of acting “on political grounds” but said the company – which claims to protect over 400 million users and 240,000 companies worldwide – “remains ready to cooperate with US government agencies to address the FCC’s and any other regulatory agency’s concerns.”
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