Federal Ban on Kaspersky Software Stretches into Healthcare

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The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) ordered all federal agencies to remove Kaspersky Lab software from their computer systems in the next 90 days.  According to cyber security experts, “this decision could ripple down into the healthcare industry.”

Kaspersky software code screen on computer desktop

Kaspersky, a Russian security software company, has more than 1,700 healthcare customers in North America, and is currently under investigation by the FBI for ties to Russian security services. According to DHS, there is a risk that these actions could “compromise federal information” and threaten U.S. national security.

According to Richard Henderson, a global security strategist, the “U.S. federal ban on Kaspersky products is ‘extreme’ and if the ban sticks, we can expect a lot of healthcare organizations to err on the side of caution and replace their products with others. The unquantifiable risk for hospital CISOs is too great to ignore.”

Many involved in the cybersecurity industry, as well as those who don’t typically focus on security, such as employees of small practices, will have to dedicate time and money to finding replacements.  “Eventually, all of the district hospitals and organizations that are related to any government program like Medicare and Medicaid are going to move away from Kaspersky,” said Mac McMillan, CEO of CynergisTek.”

Top cybersecurity experts also believe the move “isn’t as simple as replacing one piece of security software with another as the Kaspersky software can be embedded in non-security applications, like radiology systems.”  Many have also voiced it’s their belief that even if the ban doesn’t remain permanent, the damage is already done to the Kaspersky name.

Earlier this summer, U.S. security officials said they wouldn’t be comfortable with their agencies running the company’s software, and lawmakers called for a ban on Kaspersky products in the Department of Defense. In response, Kaspersky released a statement saying that the company and its founder “do not have ties to any government.”

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