Best Buy Ends Kaspersky Software Sales Over Russian Spying Concerns

Kaspersky just lost a major customer. Best Buy, the largest electronics retailer in the United States, is yanking Kaspersky's security products off its brick-and-mortar and online store shelves. While Kaspersky has traditionally been one of the most well regarded developers of security software for PCs and mobile devices, more recently some have voiced concerns over the company's potential ties with the Russian government.

It is not clear what exactly was the straw that broke the camel in this case. Best Buy may have been spooked by numerous media reports covering the topic, or it could have been a congressional investigation that swayed the electronics chain. Just last month, the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) started advising companies to sever ties with Kaspersky after it spoke with both current and former senior US officials who are familiar with the matter.

Best Buy
Image Source: Wikimedia Commons (Miosotis Jade)

As reported by CyberScoop, US intelligence officials have long suspected that Russian spy agencies have been gathering intelligence on a global scale through Kaspersky and its Internet security products. That is what prompted the FBI to urge US firms to avoid using Kaspsersky's software.

In response to the report, Kaspersky called the accusations "meritless" and offered up a statement denying any collusion with the Russian government.

"If these briefings are actually occurring, it’s extremely disappointing that a government agency would take such actions against a law-abiding and ethical company like Kaspersky Lab," Kaspersky said at the time. "The company doesn’t have inappropriate ties with any government, which is why no credible evidence has been presented publicly by anyone or any organization to back up the false allegations made against Kaspersky Lab. The only conclusion seems to be that Kaspersky Lab, a private company, is caught in the middle of a geopolitical fight, and it’s being treated unfairly, even though the company has never helped, nor will help, any government in the world with its cyber-espionage or offensive cyber efforts."

Kaspersky

Best Buy has been selling Kaspersky products for more than a decade. They typically sell for between $40 and $100, depending on the security package. Customers who already purchased a Kaspersky product from Best Buy and still have an active subscription can exchange it for free for another product within the next 45 days. They can also have a Geek Squad agent uninstall the Kaspersky software from their device or system, if they are not comfortable doing it themselves.

This is an unfortunate situation all around. We do not know if Kaspersky has ties with the Russian government or not, but tossing all of that aside, its security software has been solid in the fight against malware. Independent laboratories such as AV-Test, AV-Comparatives, and Virus Bulletin have all found Kaspersky's software to be among the best.

On the flip side, Kaspersky has been in a bit of a tailspin lately. In addition to the spying accusations, the company was recently involved in a tiff with Microsoft over how Windows handles third-party AV programs (the two recently settled their grievances). Kaspersky was also once accused of faking malware to sabotage the competition.

Thumbnail Image Source: Flickr (Mike Mozart)

Via:  StarTribune
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