back to article Court says 'nyet' to Kaspersky's US govt computer ban appeal

A US district court has upheld the American government's ban of Kaspersky Lab software from computers of federal agencies. Judge Colleen Kollar-Kotelly, sitting in Washington, DC, issued a ruling Wednesday to dismiss the two lawsuits Kaspersky had filed against Uncle Sam and the Department of Homeland Security challenging both …

  1. DCFusor

    The suit was never going to work.

    But more interesting is the real reason for the ban.

    Kaspersky correctly ID'd US government malware when no one else did.

    I'd be a least slightly concerned that the others were either incompetent or playing along.

    Either way, they don't get on my machine.

    Let's not forget the guy who took it home was breaking laws that would get us tossed in Gitmo, or at least jail. This super programmer was even using pirated system code, as if they didn't pay him enough.

    Yeah, Russian state actors who'd probably cracked Kaspersky (along with US and other 5 eyes agencies - and a few kids, likely) got a copy as a result. This is very painful and embarrassing to the agencies that wrote this badware.

    And it demonstrated once again that they are unqualified to keep secrets of any kind, and are NOT interested in protecting us - or they'd have told the various vendors how to fix those attack surfaces.

    Some of these guys want backdoors into our crypto when they can't even keep their own crown jewels in the safe safely? That'd be the biggest target painted on a back in all history...hubris much?

    Nope, their fetish with spying from a cubicle led us here and IS THE PROBLEM.

    Get off your bum and do HUMINT if you really need the info - yes it's hard, that's why it's valuable. It's not like we don't pay you enough. Fire some of the useless dead-weights if you need extra bucks, and you know there are plenty.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: The suit was never going to work.

      And turning to HUMINT is exactly what the NSA and Cyber-Command (pfui!) are going to do next. The "Golden Age of Cyber" is officially over, as one of the general's commented yesterday.

  2. Mark 85

    Has anyone heard what they replaced Kaspersky's AV with? I'd hope like hell it wasn't McAfee.... I do find it hard to believe that they able to remove that AV and replace it in any kind of timely fashion as government just doesn't move very fast.

    1. bombastic bob Silver badge

      maybe they should just...

      maybe they should just use an operating system that NEEDS no anti-virus!

      something "other than windows" at any rate. I have a couple of suggestions (FreeBSD, Linux). And the source is already publicly available.

      Kaspersky's lawsuit had one major flaw: they were trying to COMPEL the CUSTOMER to NOT to drop their services and products. That's just silly.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: maybe they should just...

        That's a nice idea. They don't technically need anti-virus but they need hardening by someone competent enough to do it properly and that's where the problem lies.

      2. Voland's right hand Silver badge

        Re: maybe they should just...

        maybe they should just use an operating system that NEEDS no anti-virus!

        Even if it does not need it, it is obliged to run it. That is what the standards for computer infra in the DOD and other agencies say.

      3. Potemkine! Silver badge

        Re: maybe they should just...

        Linux ayatollahs are so disconnected with reality they do not even acknowledge that there are plenty of viruses and malware targeting their beloved OS.

        A computer connected to a network is a target, whatever the OS.

        1. Saruman the White Silver badge

          Re: maybe they should just...

          No-one has every said that Linux is immune to viruses; however it's security model (in particular the hard separation of the kernel and user-space) makes it *very* difficult for a virus to get any more that a nominal foothold. This should be compared to all versions of Windows what are designed for infection!

    2. DuncanLarge Silver badge

      "Has anyone heard what they replaced Kaspersky's AV with?"

      Windows Defender :D

      Comes preinstalled and they can activate it using GPO.

  3. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Works for me

    Don't see where Kaspersky has any legal basis for their arguments.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Works for me

      I think international anti competition laws would come into play here. The Trump administration has shown a voracious enthusiasm for using mechanisms that are not subject to pesky scrutiny and (what's left of) democratic control such as terming things as "affecting national security".

      Note: I'm not a lawyer :)

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Works for me

        The thing is, this is one legitimate use of "national security"

        That said I'd expect to see a whole load more on the banned list.

  4. Oengus

    Make it attractive to not ban them

    Maybe Kaspersky Lab should by the companies that supply Cellbrite and GrayKey phone cracking software so that the TLAs need to deal with them to get access to those locked mobile phones that are so essential to national security.

  5. Giovani Tapini

    At the end of the day

    the paranoid should view all AV type tools with suspicion. They are more or less the only thing you will run with privileged access to every corner of your server/desktop activity. They are also designed to take samples and send them off.

    The big ones are Russian? American? Bit of Israel mixed in there? State interference in almost any aspect of their operation is both possible and reasonably likely. Despite the commercial imperatives these companies have to keep a nice long arms length from interference.

    The same paranoia suggests that if you run your servers and databases in the cloud the very same TLA's can access images of your entire estate and its configuration regardless of your tooling of choice by leaning on the cloud vendor.

    Same goes for your network devices, and other hardware and its associated firmware.

    IMHO its really not likely that you can protect yourself against state actors, and your best defence against them is to avoid having any preferred manufacturers making any one built-in compromise more difficult to access/exploit.

    It remains possible that Kaspersky has been interfered with, although my instinct tells me otherwise. It remains equally, if not more possible that USA has something to hide given the fuss it is making about one of it's own exploits being supressed. It used to be that this type of to and fro is kept as far away from public comment as possible as all sides are doing the same thing.

  6. Aodhhan

    It's the USA.

    Nobody has to buy anything they don't want to. This includes the US Government.

    A company has the right to create/enforce policy. Even the US Government.

    Individuals, unions, corporations has the right to endorse or refuse products. As long as it isn't because of race, religion, etc.

    Then lets look at Russia.

    Not exactly the best track record with spyware--although, this goes for most countries.

    Doesn't allow a lot of British, American, Australian applications/devices.

    Known for forcing companies to do its bidding or face ... well, anything up to death.

    Known for placing FSB operatives in software companies, to covertly code in backdoors, etc. to allow the Russian government access without the corporations knowledge.

    Has been caught attempting to plant FSB agents, or using FSB agents to coerce/pay off employees to code in backdoors, scrape email, etc. Remember YAHOO! email?

    Russia doesn't quite understand the concept of freedom of choice.

    For the Trump haters: Yeah, everyone gets it. He's an ass. But consider what this makes you, if your blinded by hatred.. and you can't objectively provide comments without bashing someone. Besides, you'll stroke out if you don't relax a bit. Also understand, Trump only runs 1/3rd of the US government. He doesn't control it all. Even then, he can't do anything he wants; read the 2nd amendment.

  7. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    The kaspersky ban was nothing to do with Russia until the US needed a scapegoat

    If Russia are "the bad guys" then why were the US government using it anyway, ditto for the US agent that leaked their cyber arsenal.

    Since the US had been using Kaspersky products then either they were the unequalled best and their own guys could do no better or the US knew the Russia issue was irrelevant.

    Either way, this ban has zero to do with Kaspersky or Russia acting in an underhand manner and that leaves only political/financial motivations.

    So either someone has been paid off to get another AV in place or the whole thing is an attempt to distract from the original US agencies balls up of being caught posting their cyber weapons to China and Russia.

    As for attempting to use the US legal system for anything that does not benefit their own people then forget it.

    If I was Kaspersky then my response would be to put the cyberweapons of the US and anyone who supports this ban on their known malware list. I would suggest that the big state players won't benefit simply because likelihood of them already have the set before the leak but the small ones will and the cost of writing a new set is going to be higher than whatever Kaspersky loose from the US Gov contract.

  8. Mahhn


    "The government countered that neither act was unconstitutional, and lobbied the judge to dismiss the suits as unfounded."

    When ever I hear "lobby/lobbied" that is a soft word for bribe/bribed in the US.

    I agree that no government should run a foreign security tool, but meh, the reason to dump them was BS. The replacement will be much weaker than KL and have NSA backdoors galore. Just like everyone the US gov does business with (RSA and Cisco come to the top of my mind)

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