Kaspersky Lab Is Closing Its Washington Office After Losing US Government Business
After the US government’s ban on the Russian antivirus maker, Kaspersky, the company has announced it’s closing its Washington DC office. The office was mainly used to focus on government clients. The company has said that it will continue to do business with non-government customers in the United States via its remaining offices.
“Yes [we are closing it]. The goal of its operations was to sell our solutions to US government authorities; there is no such opportunity at present.”
In an interview in Moscow, Kaspersky’s vice president Anton Shingarev said that the company is willing to prove to the US government that its products have no hidden backdoors and that they don’t spy at the behest of the Russian intelligence agencies. The company is open to continue doing business in the region and plans to open new offices in Toronto and Los Angeles, moving its focus away from the government contracts.
Previously, it had also promised to open up Transparency Centers in the US, Europe and Asia for independent experts to analyze its software code. “There will be a SCIF-class facility with security cameras, no internet, and independent experts analyzing our code with Kaspersky employees answering any questions they have,” Shingarev said. Bloomberg reported that the VP also said that while the regulators in UK and Europe are “fact driven,” US ban was based on “emotions” and “speculations.”
Some have suggested that the US ban came as a result of “evidence” shared by the Israeli intelligence community that claimed the Russian spies were using Kaspersky to spy on American intelligence agents. Kaspersky and Russia have repeatedly denied these claims, with Russia saying that the US is trying to kill Russian businesses. Many in the US have also said that the government may have set a precedent that could be used by other countries to ban American products. In response, many cite that Russia already does that, referring to the country’s LinkedIn ban.
Kaspersky, however, doesn’t want Russia to block any country’s businesses, including the US-based Symantec and McAfee, as a retaliation. “I am against any bans,” the company’s VP said. “Any protective measures could be very dangerous long-term.”
“We have great expertise in protecting banks against Russian hackers and if U.S. were to ban us from their banks it would be shooting itself in a foot.”