Best Buy has decided not to sell security software provided by Kaspersky Lab anymore amid concerns that Kaspersky Lab may have links to Russian defense and intelligence agencies.
Best Buy has shelved Kaspersky Lab’s products citing ‘too many unanswered questions’ about the company’s affiliations.
Best Buy’s decision comes at a time when intelligence agencies in the US aren’t hiding their concerns about Kaspersky Lab being in touch with or working with the Russian government. Even though Best Buy didn’t conduct an investigation before shelving Kaspersky’s products, the retailer believes there are too many unanswered questions that need to be answered.
Earlier this year, the NSA, CIA and the Director of National Intelligence said they were concerned about Kaspersky Labs’ affiliations and felt they had reasons to distrust the Russia-based cyber-security giant.“We are very concerned about it and we are focused on it very closely,” said FBI acting director Andrew McCabe to the Guardian.
Lt Gen Vincent Stewart, who headed the Defense Intelligence Agency and Mike Rogers, who headed the NSA voiced similar concerns in May, adding that their organisations and contractors chose to stay away from Kaspersky software. They did so because they believed Kaspersky Labs recruited several people who may have links to Russian defence and intelligence agencies.
Last year, two former employees of Kaspersky Labs had alleged that they targeted Microsoft, AVG, Avast and other rivals by tricking anti-virus software into classifying benign files as malicious and fooling them into deleting or disabling important files on customers’ computers.
Eugene Kaspersky, the company’s co-founder, had then termed the accusations as “complete nonsense, pure and simple.”
In July of this year, Bloomberg Businessweek obtained internal company emails which revealed that ‘Kaspersky Lab has maintained a much closer working relationship with Russia’s main intelligence agency, the FSB, than it has publicly admitted.’
‘It has developed security technology at the spy agency’s behest and worked on joint projects the CEO knew would be embarrassing if made public,’ Bloomberg added.
Even though Kaspersky Lab has denied and may continue to deny its links to the Russian government, the company’s prospects in the US don’t look too good. A number of senators are now calling for a legislation to enforce a ban on Kaspersky Lab software in the country and it is possible that more retailers other than Best Buy may take a decision on whether to sell the company’s software in the future.
Best Buy did confirm that Kaspersky Lab products, which the retailer has been selling for over a decade, will not be sold anymore but declined to furnish any reasons for the same. However, the retailer did say that even though the two firms ‘have suspended their relationship at this time, the relationship may be re-evaluated in the future’.
Image source: Reuters