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US imposes sanctions on leaders of Russia’s AO Kaspersky Lab | Technology News

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Biden administration cites cybersecurity risks as reason for slapping sanctions on the Russia-based software company.

The United States has slapped sanctions on 12 people in senior leadership roles at Russia’s AO Kaspersky Lab, citing cybersecurity risks, a day after it announced plans to bar the sale of the company’s antivirus software over “national security concerns”.

The sanctions imposed on Friday target its most senior leaders, including Kaspersky’s long-serving chief operating officer, Andrei Tikhonov, and chief legal officer, Igor Chekunov, the US Department of the Treasury said.

“Today’s action against the leadership of Kaspersky Lab underscores our commitment to ensure the integrity of our cyber domain and to protect our citizens against malicious cyber threats,” Treasury Undersecretary Brian Nelson said in a statement.

The sanctions prohibit American companies or citizens from trading or conducting financial transactions with the sanctioned executives, and they freeze the executives’ assets held in the United States.

AO Kaspersky is one of two Russian units of Kaspersky Lab, which was placed on Washington’s trade-restriction list on Thursday for allegedly cooperating with Russian military intelligence to support Moscow’s cyber-intelligence goals.

‘Unfair competition’

Kaspersky said in a statement on Thursday that it will “pursue all legally available options to preserve its current operations and relationships”, adding that it “does not engage in activities which threaten US national security”.

The Kremlin has criticised the US decision to ban Kaspersky’s antivirus software as a way to remove competition for American companies.

“Kaspersky Lab is a company which is very, very competitive on the international level,” Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov told journalists on Friday. “This is a favourite method of unfair competition from the part of the United States. They resort to such tactics every time.”

US Department of State spokesperson Matthew Miller, however, said the company was subject to the “jurisdiction, control or direction of the Russian government, which could exploit the privileged access to obtain sensitive data”.





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