WASHINGTON: US electronics retailer Best Buy has stopped selling products by leading computer security firm Kaspersky Lab amid concerns the company has links to Russian intelligence, the two companies confirmed Friday.
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 anymore.
A Best Buy spokeswoman confirmed in an email reports that 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,” it said in a statement.
“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 Russia-born Eugene Kaspersky, operates a global business with an estimate 400 million product users.
It has its main offices in Russia and the United States.
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 strongly denied those insinuations.
“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.
A top official of a Kaspersky competitor this week told AFP on condition of anonymity that he did not believe the allegations.
But he said Russia and China are increasingly treating his and other US cyber security firms with intense suspicion and constricting their market access.