Twitter Bans Kaspersky Labs Ads Over Alleged Ties To Russian Intelligence

Kaspersky Lab's CEO Eugene Kaspersky. Twitter has banned advrets from the firm. Ian Gavan  Getty

Kaspersky Lab admitted that its software was installed on the laptop of an NSA contractor. Up till now Twitter's management has claimed that Kaspersky Lab's business model conflicts with their acceptable business practices and cited a warning from the USA government, which views the company as a threat to national security.

The ban followed charges by USA authorities against Kaspersky Lab, which poses a threat to national security due to its close ties to Russian intelligence.

Kaspersky Lab has repeatedly denied those allegations, saying it will open up its code for inspection so that experts can hunt for vulnerabilities in its products that could be exploited by intelligence agencies, and it has asked a USA federal court to overturn the United States ban.

Kaspersky Lab's CEO, Eugene Kaspersky, penned an open letter to Twitter's senior management disputing these claims and expressing his surprise at the ban.

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Twitter also said it was responding to a US Department of Homeland Security warning of a threat to national security posed by Russian government access to Kaspersky products.

"We laid out a very transparent process and how we came to our decision", to ban Kaspersky products from government networks, she said at a panel at the RSA security conference in San Francisco. Though I thought my company stood on the periphery of this social media storm, it turns out I was quite mistaken.

Kaspersky said that the company will be donating all the money it had planned to spend on Twitter advertising over the course of 2018 (which amounted to more than €75,700 in 2017) to the Electronic Frontier Foundation, noting pointedly that the organisation does "a lot to fight censorship online".

"Kaspersky Lab welcomes calls to declassify any credible information that can shed light on the government's concerns regarding its operations or its products as a public good, so that the company can responsively address said concerns and the general public can better understand this matter without the ongoing obfuscation", Kaspersky said.

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Facebook Inc in January said it had removed Kaspersky Lab from a list of anti-virus offerings to users.

A communication from Twitter on the issue reads, "Twitter has made a policy decision to off-board advertising from all accounts owned by Kaspersky Lab". It banned ads from Russian outlets Russia Today and Sputnik, blaming them for meddling in the 2016 USA elections, as well as cryptocurrency advertisements.

He pointed out that the content posted on Twitter by the company "brings value to a variety of Twitter users, including regular folks who want to read simple tips on how to protect themselves and their families against cyber threats as well as infosecurity experts who are interested in the technical details of our latest research".

Commenting on the topic to Reuters, Twitter stated again that the decision is based on a conflict of business practices.

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