Kaspersky Lab, Russian multinational cybersecurity and antivirus provider which develops and sells antivirus, internet security, password management, endpoint security, and other cybersecurity products and services says that it is launching a free version of its antivirus software named Kaspersky Free in the U.S. with plans for a global rollout over the next four months.
The free virus will contain core essentials including email and desktop antivirus protection and the ability to quarantine infected files as well as automated updates.
While the product is scheduled for release in the U.S, Eugene Kaspersky, the CEO of the Russian cybersecurity software firm that bears his name has never able to overcome lingering suspicions among U.S. intelligence officials that he and his company were, or could become, pawns of Russia’s Federal Security Service (FSB), the main successor to the KGB.
Eugene Kaspersky attended a KGB school and the company has acknowledged doing work for the FSB.
In fact, given the allegation that Russia handed over the 2016 United States Elections to President Donald Trump, the United States has officially banned the use of Kaspersky Labs products on U.S. Government Owned Computer equipment and has warned U.S. citizens against using products produced from the company as it is very close to the Russian Intelligence Community.
In July 2017, the U.S. General Services Administration (the government agency that manages the federal bureaucracy) removed Kaspersky from a list of approved vendors, saying GSA’s mission was to ensure the security of U.S. government systems. Moreover, U.S. intelligence chiefs while testifying before the U.S. Congress in May publicly expressed doubt that Kaspersky products could be trusted even though they couldn’t offer any public evidence to suggest the company has done anything untoward or that the Russian government is using its software to launch cyber attacks.
It has always been his dream to go beyond selling anti-virus software to consumers and small businesses and become a major vendor to the U.S. government – (which by the way is one of the world’s biggest buyers of cybersecurity tools) said that the company “…. has never helped, nor will help, any government in the world with its cyber espionage effort and his company is being targeted for political reasons and “
In a statement he once gave, he was quoting as saying that “these reckless actions negatively impact global cybersecurity by limiting competition, slowing down technology innovations and ruining the industry and law enforcement agency cooperation required to catch the bad guys”.
Some U.S. national security experts say Kaspersky is being treated unfairly and they are bothered by the “public shaming” of Kaspersky by those who make allegations without presenting evidence.
It is worth remembering that it was the Kaspersky Global Research and Analysis Team (GReAT) that discovered Equation Group and the Stuxnet worm, sophisticated espionage platforms linked to US intelligence.
The free version though won’t be competing with the premium version which users can purchase for $50 annually per device, including virtual private network (VPN), parental controls and extra protection for online financial transactions.
Users who want to try out the product can download it from Kaspersky Free Antivirus Download