America imposes sanctions on the leaders of the Russian company AO Kaspersky Lab | Technology news

The Biden administration cites cybersecurity risks as a reason to impose sanctions on the Russia-based software company.

The United States has imposed sanctions on 12 people holding senior leadership positions at Russia’s AO Kaspersky Lab, citing cybersecurity risks, a day after it announced plans to block the sale of the company’s antivirus software due to “national security concerns.”

The US Treasury said the sanctions imposed on Friday targeted its senior leaders, including Kaspersky’s chief operating officer, Andrei Tikhonov, and chief legal officer, Igor Chikunov.

“Today’s action against Kaspersky Lab’s leadership underscores our commitment to ensuring the integrity of our cyberspace and protecting our citizens from malicious cyber threats,” Treasury Undersecretary Brian Nelson said in a statement.

The sanctions prohibit US companies or US citizens from trading or conducting financial transactions with sanctioned executives, and they freeze the executives’ assets located in the United States.

AO Kaspersky is one of two Russian units of Kaspersky Lab, which was placed on Washington’s trade restrictions list on Thursday for allegedly cooperating with Russian military intelligence to support Moscow’s cyber intelligence goals.

“unfair competition”

Kaspersky said in a statement on Thursday that it “will pursue all legally available options to maintain its current operations and relationships,” adding that it “does not engage in activities that threaten US national security.”

The Kremlin criticized the US decision to ban anti-virus software produced by Kaspersky, as a way to remove competition from US companies.

“Kaspersky Lab is a very competitive company at the international level,” Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov told reporters on Friday. “This is the preferred method of unfair competition by the United States. They resort to such tactics every time.”

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However, US State Department spokesman Matthew Miller said the company was under “the jurisdiction, control or direction of the Russian government, which could exploit privileged access to obtain sensitive data.”

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