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6/14/2018
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Kaspersky Lab Freezes Work with Europol in Protest of EU Vote

New European Parliament document calls out Kaspersky Lab software as 'malicious' and says it should be banned.

Kaspersky Lab, in response to a resolution adopted by the European Parliament this week, has temporarily halted any collaboration with Europol in cybercrime cases, as well as its participation in a global anti-ransomware effort.

On June 13 the European Parliament adopted a strategy for a joint European Union (EU) cybersecurity defense that includes calls for a review of software and IT equipment in EU agencies and to ban "malicious" products, specifically citing Kaspersky Lab software as an example:

"Calls on the EU to perform a comprehensive review of software, IT and communications equipment and infrastructure used in the institutions in order to exclude potentially dangerous programmes and devices, and to ban the ones that have been confirmed as malicious, such as Kaspersky Lab"

The Moscow-based cybersecurity firm has pushed back hard, temporarily halting its work with Europol in cybercrime cases, as well as the NoMoreRansom project that provides free tools for decrypting systems and data hit with ransomware attacks.

"Today, the European Parliament voted on a report in which Polish representative MEP Fotyga included an amendment referencing Kaspersky Lab which is based on untrue statements. Although this report has no legislative power, it demonstrates a distinct lack of respect for the company which has been a firm friend of Europe in the fight against cybercrime," Kaspersky Lab said in a statement. "It is for that reason that Kaspersky Lab has taken the difficult decision to temporarily halt our numerous collaborative European cybercrime-fighting initiatives, including that with Europol, until we receive further official clarifications from the European Parliament."

The response by the company means it also will step out of the NoMoreRansom project, Kaspersky said.

Company founder and CEO Eugene Kaspersky yesterday tweeted, "The way we conducted public-private partnership is unfortunately ceased until the withdraw of the European Parliament decision."

Kaspersky Lab pointed to an April 2018 European Commission statement by a commissioner who said about the company's software: "the Commission has no indication for any danger associated with this anti-virus engine." 

"Kaspersky Lab remains willing to meet with MEPs to address any questions about the business, its leadership, expertise, technologies and methodology that they may have," the company said.

The move does not affect the company's work at the cybercrime unit of the Singapore-based INTERPOL Global Complex for Innovation, according to the company.

Kaspersky Lab has been under the microscope by the US government, leading to a September 2017 ruling by the US Department of Homeland Security that bans the use of Kaspersky Lab security products on federal agency systems due to concerns about potential ties between the company and the Russian government.

Last month the company lost a legal battle challenging the US government bans.

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Kelly Jackson Higgins is the Executive Editor of Dark Reading. She is an award-winning veteran technology and business journalist with more than two decades of experience in reporting and editing for various publications, including Network Computing, Secure Enterprise ... View Full Bio

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