Apr 2, 2019

Kaspersky report contests U.S. ban

Eugene Kaspersky, CEO of Kaspersky Lab. Photo: Joern Pollex/Getty Images

Kaspersky Lab released a third-party research report Tuesday arguing that the U.S.' publicly announced logic behind a federal ban on Kaspersky's wares is based on a faulty understanding of Russian law.

The big picture: Kaspersky has been locking horns with the Department of Homeland Security and lawmakers after both independently banned Kaspersky software from government systems. The third-party report, written by Professor Kaj Hober of Uppsala University, Sweden, is part of a transparency offensive meant to counter the reputational hit.

Details: The public reasoning for the U.S. ban is that Russian law would allow Moscow to seize data from Kaspersky with no recourse or oversight.

  • That's a big deal for antivirus companies, because modern antivirus programs frequently upload suspicious files to the cloud for analysis. On federal systems, that may mean sensitive or classified files.
  • According to Hober, that argument doesn't hold water. Hober writes that Russia can only grab data from telecommunications firms, companies that distribute information or chat apps, and Kaspersky is none of those.

But, but, but: The public reasoning is not necessarily the only reasoning. Several media reports claim Russia has used Kaspersky software in a more hands-on approach to espionage — converting the feature that searches for malware into a feature searching for classified documents.

The Department of Homeland Security did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Go deeper

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

  1. Global: Total confirmed cases as of 7 p.m. ET: 855,007 — Total deaths: 42,032 — Total recoveries: 176,714.
  2. U.S.: Leads the world in confirmed cases. Total confirmed cases as of 7 p.m. ET: 186,265 — Total deaths: 3,810 — Total recoveries: 6,910.
  3. Business updates: Should you pay your rent or mortgage during the coronavirus pandemic? Find out if you are protected under the CARES Act.
  4. Public health updates: More than 400 long-term care facilities across the U.S. report patients with coronavirus — Older adults and people with underlying health conditions are more at risk, new data shows.
  5. Federal government latest: President Trump said the next two weeks would be "very painful" on Tuesday, with projections indicating the virus could kill 100,000–240,000 Americans. The White House and other institutions are observing several models to help prepare for when COVID-19 is expected to peak in the U.S.
  6. U.S.S. Theodore Roosevelt: Captain of nuclear aircraft carrier docked in Guam pleaded with the U.S. Navy for more resources after more than 100 members of his crew tested positive.
  7. What should I do? Answers about the virus from Axios expertsWhat to know about social distancingQ&A: Minimizing your coronavirus risk.
  8. Other resources: CDC on how to avoid the virus, what to do if you get it.

Subscribe to Mike Allen's Axios AM to follow our coronavirus coverage each morning from your inbox.

White House projects 100,000 to 240,000 U.S. coronavirus deaths

President Trump said at a press briefing on Tuesday that the next two weeks in the U.S. will be "very painful" and that he wants "every American to be prepared for the days that lie ahead," before giving way to Deborah Birx to explain the models informing the White House's new guidance on the coronavirus.

Why it matters: It's a somber new tone from the president that comes after his medical advisers showed him data projecting that the virus could kill 100,000–240,000 Americans — even with strict social distancing guidelines in place.

Go deeperArrowUpdated 1 hour ago - Health

Paying rent in a pandemic

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

For many people who've lost jobs or income because of the coronavirus pandemic, tomorrow presents a stressful decision: Do you pay your rent or mortgage?

Why it matters: The new CARES Act that was signed by President Trump on Friday protects homeowners and renters who are suffering from the response to the coronavirus pandemic — but it's not “a one-size-fits-all policy rulebook,” a congressional aide tells Axios.

Go deeperArrow3 hours ago - Health