Kaspersky Labs is the maker of one of the most popular anti-virus systems available today. They have been a respected name on the web for many years, and have helped to protect both individual PCs and many businesses. According to a recent announcement, however, they are being banned from advertising on Twitter due to connections between “certain Kaspersky officials and Russian intelligence and other government agencies.”
The ban comes after Washington said that Kaspersky labs has close ties to intelligence agencies within Moscow, and that their software may be able to be used to enable Russian spying. This led the Trump agency to issue a ban on Kaspersky software from being used on US government networks.
In an email to Gizmodo, Twitter cited a Homeland Security notice that warned that the U.S. government was concerned about ties between “certain Kaspersky officials and Russian intelligence and other government agencies.” The notice also cited a Russian law that “allow Russia intelligence agencies to compel assistance from Kaspersky and to intercept communications transiting Russian networks.”
While government agencies have been prevented from using their software for some time, having a private company join the ban is a big step. It is not really clear exactly how much evidence there is that Kaspersky has actually done anything wrong at this point. If companies are going to start banning advertisements based on concerns from the government, that could result in some very questionable moves.
However, in October the New York Times reported that Israeli intelligence agents hacked Kaspersky Lab and found that the Russian government used the company’s anti-virus software to obtain classified materials from the National Security Agency.
This is especially interesting given that Twitter really shouldn’t be turning down any advertising since they have been struggling to keep their stock prices up, and generate revenue, for quite some time.