Russian cybersecurity software company Kaspersky’s days of operation in the United States are officially numbered.

The Biden administration said Thursday it was Ban the company It will start selling its products to new customers in the US starting July 20, with the company only allowed to offer software updates to existing customers until September 29. The ban – the first measure of its kind under the powers granted to the Ministry of Commerce in 2019 – Years of warnings From the US intelligence community about Kaspersky posing a threat to national security because Moscow could seize its antivirus software to spy on its customers.

“When you think about national security, you might think about weapons, tanks and missiles,” Commerce Secretary Gina Raimondo told reporters during a press conference on Thursday. “But the reality is that it’s increasingly about technology, it’s about dual-use technology, and it’s about data.”

Raimondo said the United States conducted a “very thorough” investigation into Kaspersky and explored “all options” to mitigate its risks, but officials settled on that. Complete ban “Given the Russian government’s ongoing offensive cyber capabilities and its ability to influence Kasirsky’s operations.”

The Kaspersky ban represents the latest rift in relations between the United States and Iran Russia Where the latter country is still stuck in a brutal war with Ukraine It takes other steps to threaten Western democracies, including… Testing of an anti-satellite nuclear weapon And forming a strategic alliance with north korea. But the ban could also complicate business operations for US companies using Kaspersky, which will lose up-to-date antivirus definitions important for blocking malware in just three months.

The Biden administration knows roughly how many Kaspersky customers are in the United States, but government lawyers have determined that information is proprietary commercial data and cannot be released, according to a Commerce Department official, who briefed reporters on the condition of anonymity to discuss a sensitive matter. Theme. The “large number” of U.S. customers include state and local governments and organizations that provide critical infrastructure such as communications, energy and health care, the official said.

Raimondo sent a message to Kaspersky customers in the United States on Thursday: “You have done nothing wrong, and you are not subject to any criminal or civil penalties. However, I would encourage you, in the strongest possible terms, to immediately stop using this software and switch to an alternative in order to protect your privacy.” Yourself, your data, and your family.

Raimondo said Commerce will work with the Departments of Homeland Security and Justice to “spread that message” and “ensure a smooth transition,” including through a website explaining the ban. “We certainly don’t want to disrupt any American’s businesses or families.”

The Department of Homeland Security’s Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency will contact critical infrastructure organizations that use Kaspersky to inform them of the alleged national security risks and “help them identify alternatives,” the Commerce Department official said.

Kaspersky has consistently denied being a national security risk or a Kremlin agent. The company did not immediately respond to a request for comment on the new nationwide ban. But given Kaspersky’s previous resort to litigation to defend itself, Thursday’s announcement could trigger another lawsuit that poses a high-stakes legal test for national security commerce powers.

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