In what appears to be an ongoing dispute of espionage and cyber-warfare between the USA and Russia, the FBI has been advising that US government departments and agencies should stop using any of Kaspersky Lab's products.
The US government had followed this up by removing the company from two lists of approved vendors that government departments could use last month, but now, the FBI is meeting up with sections of the private sector in the US and advising them to also ditch Kaspersky Lab products.
So far, it appears that the FBI has been briefing the private sector in an order of priority, starting with companies in the energy sector - particularly nuclear power stations - and any companies that use industrial control (ICS) and Supervisory Control and Data Acquisition (SCADA) systems. These companies appear to have taken the FBI's advice; however, large tech companies have been less frightened by the FBI's briefings and have not cut ties with the company to the same extent.
Kaspersky Lab offers a range of cybersecurity and anti-virus products that can be used in the home, by small businesses and even large enterprises. In response to the ongoing accusations and actions taken against the company by the US government and FBI, the firm has offered to testify before US Congress and even offered up its code for inspection, this offer has not been taken up by anyone yet.
The reason why companies should ditch the company's products, according to the FBI, is first that Kaspersky Lab is filled with employees who used to work in Russian intelligence agencies or people that have close ties with those agencies, although, the same is true for Western cybersecurity firms and their respective intelligence agencies too. Secondly, the FBI argues, current Russian surveillance laws are too broad and vague allowing significant access and manipulation by Russian intelligence agencies into the workings of companies based in Russia, such as Kaspersky Lab. According to critics, these accusations are part of a much larger geopolitical game, and this is also what Kaspersky Lab describes as what is going and that it does not have any link with any government or spy agency.
This will definitely not be the end of the accusations and actions taken by both the Russian and US authorities as the environment of suspicion between the two countries continues.