The Trump administration's decision to stop using Kaspersky Lab cybersecurity products over concerns of possibly unethical ties to Russian intelligence is having a ripple effect throughout the Moscow-based company – including at its U.S. headquarters in Woburn, Massachusetts.
The Department of Homeland Security ordered federal agencies to stop using Kaspersky-made software Wednesday. Even though Kaspersky has called the allegations "completely unfounded" and said the "Russian policies and laws [are] being misinterpreted," Best Buy has already announced it will no longer sell Kaspersky software.
"If there is even a breadcrumb of evidence that Kaspersky may be meddling with the Russian government, then obviously that is a problem for the feds," said Robert Siciliano, a cybersecurity expert with Hotspot Shield.
But Siciliano is skeptical that Kaspersky could get away with doing something like that.
"If, in fact, there was some type of back door in Kaspersky's technology, don't you think Macafee or Semantic would have found it already — their biggest competitors?" Siciliano asked.
In an exclusive interview with NBC News reporter Richard Engel earlier this summer, billionaire Kaspersky owner Eugene Kaspersky addressed his reported ties to the KGB.
"You went to a KGB-run school for technical math whiz kids?" asked Engel.
"Yes, I was 16 years [old]," Kaspersky answered.
But he denied that his company is involved in any Russian spying. He told Engel his company has had "zero contact with the offensive agencies in Russian intelligence."
In a statement this week in response to the federal order, Kaspersky Lab said that it "has never helped, nor will help, any government in the world with its cyberespionage or offensive cyber efforts, and it's disconcerting that a private company can be considered guilty until proven innocent, due to geopolitical issues."