The United States government has reportedly removed Moscow-based Kaspersky Lab from its lists of approved vendors for two contracts that agencies use to acquire technology services.
According to a Reuters report, this is amid concerns from the Trump administration regarding the cybersecurity firm’s products could be used by the Kremlin to gain entry into US networks.
The delisting represents the most concrete action taken against Kaspersky following months of mounting suspicion among intelligence officials and lawmakers that the company may be too closely connected to hostile Russian intelligence agencies accused of cyber-attacks on the US.
For weeks, the White House, the Department of Homeland Security, the GSA and other federal agencies have been conducting an inter-agency review of the matter, reports said.
The company has repeatedly insisted it poses no threat to US customers and would never allow itself to be used as a tool of the Russian government.
The cybersecurity firm’s products have been removed from the US General Services Administration’s list of vendors for contracts that cover information technology services and digital photographic equipment, an agency spokeswoman said in a statement.
The action was taken “after review and careful consideration,” the statement said, adding that GSA’s priorities “are to ensure the integrity and security of US government systems and networks.”
Government departments will still be able to use Kaspersky products purchased separate from the GSA contract process.
In a statement, Kaspersky Lab said it had not received any updates from GSA or any other US government agency regarding its vendor status. “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,” the company said.
It added that it had been “caught in the middle of a geopolitical fight where each side is attempting to use the company as a pawn in their political game.”
Earlier in the year, US intelligence agencies have alleged that Russia hacked and leaked emails of Democratic Party political groups to interfere in the 2016 presidential election campaign. Russia denies the allegations.
The removal of the Kaspersky products was done the same day that the current administration was considering implementing a broader ban of its software.
In June, the Senate Armed Services Committee passed a defense spending policy bill that would ban Kaspersky products from use in the military.