Moments ago, we re-published an article published by the Associated Press (“Best Buy says it will no longer sell Kaspersky Labs software, worries ripple in consumer market” — which has since been renamed on the AP website) regarding the Federal government banning their agencies from purchasing Kaspersky Labs software and Best Buy Co.’s removing their products from their shelves as an unrelated consequence of the Federal ban regarding their agencies.
I have to raise some red flags regarding the article and allow this to be the first selection for commentary:
The U.S. Department of Homeland Security cited concerns about possible ties between unnamed Kaspersky officials and the Kremlin and Russian intelligence services. The department also noted that Russian law might compel Kaspersky to assist the government in espionage.
Oh puhleeze. The Department of Homeland Security fabricates false concerns every chance they get. It’s nothing more than The Man trying to limit your free market decisions on what you can purchase as your antivirus software. Additionally, this isn’t the Cold War — a private sector business is least likely to take part in espionage in collusion with a Federal government, especially that of Russia.
I agree with Kaspersky officials that they’ve never crossed any ethical lines regarding governmental relation. I also believe that Best Buy’s supposed “permanent” refusal to sell Kaspersky products will be temporary, because who the hell in their right mind would throw away a business partnership that has lasted for over a decade?
My next selection for commentary:
Nicholas Weaver, a computer security researcher at the University of California, Berkeley, called the U.S. government decision “prudent,” after arguing for such a step in July . But he added by email, “for most everybody else, the software is fine.”
The biggest risk to U.S. government computers is if Moscow-based Kaspersky is subject to “government-mandated malicious update,” Weaver wrote this summer.
Nicholas Weaver is obviously misinformed. I’ve been working in the information technology sector since 2004, when I was a junior in high school and I can attest to you that there is no such thing as a “government-mandated malicious update.” There is not a single antivirus software company in the world that does such a thing and there isn’t about to be one in 2017, even if it was mandated by the United States government.
My final selection for commentary:
Another expert, though, suggested that consumers should also uninstall Kaspersky software to avoid any potential risks. Michael Sulmeyer, director of a cybersecurity program at Harvard, noted that antivirus software has deep access to one’s computer and network.
“Voluntarily introducing this kind of Russian software in a geopolitical landscape where the U.S.-Russia relationship is not good at all, I think would be assuming too much risk,” he said. “There are plenty of alternatives out there.”
Sulmeyer also said retailers should follow Best Buy’s lead and stop selling the software.
Allow my final remarks to be my disclosure statement: I’ve used many different antivirus programs throughout my careers in information technology, broadcast media and in journalism. I’ve learned from experience that you NEVER use Norton or McAfee, because they are resource hogs. No matter how much memory you put into your computer, they will take up up to 97% of your memory resources. I’ve alternated between Kaspersky Labs and Avast antivirus software throughout the past eight years based on client needs.
Michael Sulmeyer’s recommendation to remove the software to avoid any potential risks is absolute horseshit. Another so-called “expert” claiming ignorance and spreading fearmongering regarding world politics.
Our parent company, Heartland Internet Media Networks, has been an authorized reseller of Kaspersky products since 2015. We’ve developed an excellent partnership in a short amount of time. I’d advise Amazon, Staples and OfficeDepotMax to retain their partnerships, as well as many independent I.T. business throughout the United States. While the Federal government and Best Buy wants to puss out because of fabricated fearmongering, our parent company will continue to offer their products in the foreseeable future. Kaspersky USA has returned comment that this recent news will not impact United States-based partner resellers.
Jake Leonard, a broadcast media and journalism veteran, is the editor-in-chief of Heartland Newsfeed. Leonard is also GM and program director of Heartland Newsfeed Radio Network, wrestling editor and contributing writer for Ambush Sports, a contributing writer for My Sports Vote and Midwest Sports Network, and a former contributor to Bleacher Report and Overtime Heroics. He resides at home in Nokomis, Ill. with his dog Buster.