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US Senators want Kaspersky shut out of military contracts

Russia 'won't rule out' retaliation

Russia has hinted at retaliation if the US adopts a Senate committee recommendation to ban Kaspersky from American military contracts.

The Senate Armed Services Committee, in its 2017-2018 budget recommendations (PDF) under the National Defense Authorisation Act, recommended the ban as part of its proposals for “countering Russian aggression”.

Their argument is that Eugene's company is vulnerable to Russian government influence.

If passed, the appropriation bill would also sling half-a-billion US dollars at Ukraine, something that's certain to please Russia, and requires an annual assessment of Russian hybrid warfare capabilities, “including assessments of Russia’s information warfare strategy and capabilities, malicious cyber activities, and coercive economic tools”.

Russia's Communications Minister Nikolai Nikiforov told newsagency RIA the country “does not rule out retaliatory measures”, Reuters reports.

In May, Eugene Kaspersky told The Australian he's prepared to let the US government see his company's source code, saying that letting Russia's government plant backdoors in his products would be “suicide”.

Earlier this week, the FBI paid US-based Kaspersky staff unannounced night-time visits.

The Feds wanted to discuss how the outfit shares information with its head office, and at the time a Kaspersky rep told The Register “Kaspersky Lab has no ties to any government, and the company has never helped, nor will help, any government in the world with its cyberespionage efforts”. ®

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