"Given that USA government sales have not been a significant part of the company's activity in North America, Kaspersky Lab is exploring opportunities to better optimize the Washington D.C. office responsible for threat intelligence offerings to US government entities", the company says in a statement.
Kaspersky Lab paid former national security adviser Michael Flynn $11,250 in 2015 for cyber-security consulting, according to public documents, but that was not a focus of the Federal Bureau of Investigation questioning, multiple sources said.
The Department of Homeland Security has ordered federal agencies to stop using software made by Kaspersky Lab over concerns about the company's ties to Russian intelligence, DHS announced Wednesday.
All agencies will be required to identify any Kaspersky products they have used within 30 days and develop plans to discontinue their use, according to a directive from Elaine Duke, the acting secretary of the Department of Homeland Security.
In response to previous accusations, Kaspersky had pointed out that it "has never helped, nor will help, any government in the world with its cyberespionage or offensive cyber efforts".
"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 directive said.
The US-owned Best Buy chain sazid it would no longer sell Kaspersky products. But the Defense Department, which includes the National Security Agency, does not generally use Kaspersky software, officials said.
The Moscow Times reported that Kaspersky Lab's vice president for public affairs, Anton Shingarev, told The Bell that "a reorganization is planned" at the office.
Kaspersky Lab said that the facts of the emails have been "misconstrued to fit in with the hypothetical, false theory".
The directive was issued because of concerns about influence exerted over the company by the Russian government. "Why then are federal agencies, local and state governments and millions of Americans unwittingly inviting this threat into their cyber networks and secure spaces?"
When the GSA announced its July decision, it underscored that its mission was to "ensure the integrity and security of USA government systems and networks" and that Kaspersky was delisted "after review and careful consideration".
Longstanding suspicions about the company grew in the United States when U.S. -Russia relations deteriorated following Russia's 2014 annexation of Crimea and later when U.S. intelligence agencies determined that Russian Federation interfered in the 2016 U.S. presidential election using cyber means. Eugene Kaspersky, the firm's founder, has also been scrutinized for his education at a computer science institute backed by the KGB, the Soviet-era spy angency. In May, top intelligence officials testified before the Senate Intelligence Committee that they would not be comfortable with Kaspersky software on their computers.
"Expanding the company's presence in the region will better enable Kaspersky Lab to provide its customers with the best cybersecurity solutions and services", the statement said.
DHS said it has provided Kaspersky an opportunity to address these concerns.
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