A U.S. congressional panel this week asked 22 government agencies to share documents on Moscow-based cyber firm Kaspersky Lab, saying its products could be used to carry out “nefarious activities against the United States,” according to letters seen by Reuters.
The requests made on Thursday by the U.S. House of Representatives Committee on Science, Space and Technology are the latest blow to the antivirus company, which has been countering accusations by U.S. officials that it may be vulnerable to Russian government influence.
The committee asked the agencies for all documents and communications about Kaspersky Lab products dating back to Jan. 1, 2013, including any internal risk assessments. It also requested lists of any systems that use Kaspersky products and the names of any U.S. government contractors or subcontractors that do so.
Kaspersky has repeatedly denied that it has ties to any government and said it would not help any government with cyber espionage. It said there is no evidence for the accusations made by U.S. officials.
The committee “is concerned that Kaspersky Lab is susceptible to manipulation by the Russian government, and that its products could be used as a tool for espionage, sabotage, or other nefarious activities against the United States,” wrote the panel’s Republican chairman, Lamar Smith, in the letters.
They were sent to all Cabinet-level agencies, including the Department of Commerce and Department of Homeland Security, as well as the Environmental Protection Agency and the National Aeronautics and Space Administration, among others.
A committee aide told Reuters the survey was a “first step” designed to canvas the U.S. government and that more action may follow depending on the results. The committee asked for responses by Aug. 11.
Kaspersky Lab, founded in 1997 and now counts over 400 million global customers, has tried largely in vain to become a vendor to the U.S. government, one of the world’s biggest buyers of cyber tools.