Sen. Amy Klobuchar is urging the Department of Homeland Security to ensure no Kaspersky software is on U.S. election systems.
The senator wrote to the department this week as a series of incendiary reports alleged Russian intelligence services used Kaspersky antivirus software to steal sensitive U.S. government information.
“As we continue to receive reports that the Kremlin may have accessed classified national security information through Kaspersky Lab software, it is imperative that we take all necessary steps to prevent future cyberattacks,” Klobuchar wrote. The Minnesota Democrat is ranking member of the Senate Rules and Administration Committee, which has jurisdiction over the administration of federal elections.
“The Department’s recent decision requiring all federal agencies to remove Kaspersky software from government computers is an important first step towards addressing the potential vulnerabilities our networks face,” the senator wrote. “Now, we must also ensure that state and local government officials are aware of these threats and have the guidance and resources needed to remove Kaspersky software from their networks. This is especially necessary where officials maintain cyber networks related to critical infrastructure, like our election systems.”
Klobuchar’s letter seems to be more precautionary in nature, rather than a strong signal that Kaspersky is installed on election systems. The senator calls out the “potential threat” while urging action.
CyberScoop has reached out to her office for clarification.
Kaspersky denied the charges that the company was complicit in inappropriate behavior with the Russian government. CEO Eugene Kaspersky launched an internal investigation into the possibility that the company had been breached, an announcement that came earlier this week and just minutes after calling the idea a “conspiracy theory.”
“Kaspersky Lab has never helped, nor will help, any government in the world with its cyberespionage efforts,” a company statement said.
German cybersecurity authorities said on Wednesday that they’ve seen no evidence that Russians used Moscow-based Kaspersky Lab products to spy.
The company’s North American operations underwent a significant shuffle as the head of PR left the firm while new executives joined in the midst of the international cybersecurity controversy.
You can read the full letter on Klobuchar’s website.