WASHINGTON - U.S. House Science, Space, and Technology Committee Chairman Lamar Smith (R-Texas) sent a letter Thursday to a number of federal agencies requesting documents and information regarding Kaspersky Lab, one of the world’s largest cybersecurity companies. Headquartered in Moscow, Kaspersky Lab products have been used by several United States government agencies and entities. Smith’s letter requests information regarding computers, systems, data, and any other information that may be accessible to Kaspersky Lab from each agency.
“Kaspersky Lab specializes in anti-virus software—products with potentially uninhibited access to the systems they protect. Although Kaspersky Lab was once considered a reputable cybersecurity firm, several concerns have been raised regarding the company and Eugene Kaspersky—the founder and CEO of Kaspersky Lab—and his potential ties to the Russian government. The Committee is concerned that Kaspersky Lab is susceptible to manipulation by the Russian government, and that its products could be used as a tool for espionage, sabotage, or other nefarious activities against the United States,” the letter states.
Compromised anti-virus has the potential to undermine the security and integrity of any system on which it is installed, and could do so without detection. The committee, which has jurisdiction over the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST), seeks to ensure the NIST Cybersecurity Framework is properly equipped and adapted to safeguard our nation’s information. The documents and information requested in today’s letter will assist the committee in determining whether the NIST Cybersecurity Framework requires further refinement when implemented by federal departments and agencies.
Smith’s letter can be found here.