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Home Government Tech Policy Kaspersky Lab row: Russian minister warns of blowback

Kaspersky Lab row: Russian minister warns of blowback

A senior Russian official has escalated the war of words over products from Kaspersky Lab by saying that any "unilateral political sanctions" by the US against Russian companies could prompt a response from Moscow.

Russian Communications Minister Nikolay Nikiforov said in a Bloomberg interview that Russia was using a "a huge proportion of American software and hardware solutions in the IT sphere, even in very sensitive areas".

Microsoft and Cisco are said to be the American companies whose products have the highest usage in Russia.

McClatchy News Service claimed to have discovered a military intelligence unit number matching that of an FSB programme on certifications issued to Kaspersky Lab. The FSB is a Russian state security service.

Comment has been sought from Kaspersky Lab about this allegation.

Kaspersky Lab founder Eugene Kaspersky has offered to provide the source code of his company's products for examination by the US government to put to rest claims that it contains any malicious elements to spy on customers.

Last week, FBI officials interviewed several Kaspersky employees in the US in connection with what was said to be part of a counter-intelligence probe.

Co-operation between technology firms and government agencies is common in many countries. In 2013, Microsoft was exposed as having helped the NSA to circumvent its own encryption.

And Verizon was revealed as having handed over the phone records of millions of its customers to the NSA under a secret court order.

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Sam Varghese

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A professional journalist with decades of experience, Sam for nine years used DOS and then Windows, which led him to start experimenting with GNU/Linux in 1998. Since then he has written widely about the use of both free and open source software, and the people behind the code. His personal blog is titled Irregular Expression.