Kremlin protection: US electronics retailer Best Buy no longer supplies computer security firm Kaspersky Lab’s products because of allegations the latter has links to Russian intelligence. Picture: REUTERS
Kremlin protection: US electronics retailer Best Buy no longer supplies computer security firm Kaspersky Lab’s products because of allegations the latter has links to Russian intelligence. Picture: REUTERS

Washington — US electronics retailer Best Buy had stopped selling products by leading computer security firm Kaspersky Lab amid concerns the company had links to Russian intelligence, the two companies confirmed.

The big box retailer, with stores across the country, did not announce the change itself, but its website was no longer offering Kaspersky products, and numerous social media reports said they were not on store shelves any more.

A Best Buy spokeswoman confirmed reports the action was taken due to concerns over Kaspersky’s alleged links to the Russian government.

Kaspersky, which denies Russian government links, said the two firms "have suspended their relationship at this time. However, the relationship may be re-evaluated in the future. "Kaspersky Lab has enjoyed a decade-long partnership with Best Buy and its customer base, and Kaspersky Lab will continue to offer its industry-leading cybersecurity solutions to consumers through its website and other retailers."

The security software vendor, founded in 1977 by Russian-born Eugene Kaspersky, operates a global business with about 400-million product users.

It has its main offices in Russia and the US. In July, the US government removed Kaspersky from its list of approved vendors, weeks after top US intelligence agency and law enforcement officials publicly expressed concerns about the safety of its software.

Last week, Democratic Senator Jeanne Shaheen said she was introducing legislation to ban US government bodies from using Kaspersky software.

But no evidence has been presented to back up vague assertions that it might be a tool of Moscow, offering Russian spies back-door entry into computers worldwide.

In July, it denied those insinuations strongly.

"Kaspersky Lab has no ties to any government, and the company has never helped, nor will help, any government in the world with its cyber-espionage efforts," the company said.

Last week, a top official of a Kaspersky competitor told AFP on condition of anonymity that he did not believe the allegations were true.

But he said Russia and China were increasingly treating his and other US cybersecurity firms with intense suspicion and were constricting their market access.

AFP

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