In the modern era, it’s always worthwhile to consider how to protect your systems from unwanted, malicious actors. Kaspersky Labs’ software has been a popular option for doing just that for close to two decades now — but after increasing scrutiny of their founder’s potential ties to the Kremlin, one major retailer has decided to stop selling their security suite.
Best Buy has decided this week to pull Kaspersky products from their real and virtual shelves for now, the Minneapolis Star Tribune reports.
Speaking with the ever-popular person “familiar with the decision,” the Star Tribune reports that although Best Buy has not conducted its own investigation into Kaspersky, the company felt there were too many “unanswered questions” about Kaspersky’s reliability to keep its product on the shelves.
Kaspersky has been offering its suite of antivirus and security products in the U.S. for nearly 20 years. They’re generally well-regarded, considered to be at least as good as the competition when it comes to features and price.
But there’s one big factor that’s become a big problem, in this strange 2017 we all inhabit: The company and its founder, Eugene Kaspersky, are Russian, and the company and its products have recently come under scrutiny as a result.
Since 2015, several reports have surfaced that Eugene Kaspersky has ties to Russian military intelligence. Any potential vulnerabilities related to using the software stemming from those ties were by and large minimized or ignored, though… until recently.
The Trump administration removed Kaspersky Lab from the list of approved vendors for government contracts back in July, citing increasing security concerns. Since then, federal, state, and local government agencies have been considering if or how to phase out their own usage.
In August, the FBI reportedly asked private sector corporations to consider phasing out Kaspersky products as well.
In a statement to the Star Tribune, Kaspersky reiterated its position that it’s been “caught in the middle of a geopolitical fight” and is being treated unfairly while Russia and the U.S. engage in a whole mess of posturing this year. The company also added that it has had a “good relationship” with Best Buy, and that the suspension may be reconsidered in the future.