The US will ban sales of Kaspersky antivirus software next month

Today's move is the culmination of years of national security questions about the Russian company's government ties.

The Biden administration has taken a sweeping action to ban Kaspersky Labs from selling its antivirus products to US customers. The Russian software company will not be able to sell to new customers starting in July and cannot provide service to current customers after September.

Ahead of the official news, a source told Reuters that the company's connections to the Russian government made it a security risk with the potential to install malware, collect privileged information, or withhold software updates on American computers. US Secretary of Commerce Gina Raimondo announced the ban at a briefing today.

"You have done nothing wrong, and you are not subject to any criminal or civil penalties," she said to current Kaspersky customers. "However, I would encourage you, in as strong as possible terms, to immediately stop using that software and switch to an alternative in order to protect yourself and your data and your family."

The Russian company has been the topic of cybersecurity questions many times over the years. The Federal Communications Commission put Kaspersky on its list of companies posing unacceptable security risks in 2022. In 2017, Kaspersky products were banned from use in US federal agencies, and the business also drew scrutiny from the UK's cybersecurity leadership.

This level of presidential order to block or limit access to tech and software from countries deemed foreign adversaries dates from the Trump administration. In 2020, he made an effort to ban TikTok and WeChat on the grounds that the Chinese-owned apps could be a security risk. That action was overturned in 2021, but it sparked a review of the apps that has culminated in legislation Biden signed in April that could force TikTok to find a new owner to continue operating in the States.