Are You Using This Banned Russia-Based Antivirus Software?

Cyber Security

Following longstanding concerns over the software company’s ties to Russian intelligence, the antivirus software Kaspersky Total Security was officially banned for sale, resale, and licensing in the US.

Why is Kaspersky Total Security Banned in the US?

The White House made the decision after a lengthy investigation into the software company, determining they were too much of a security risk to the United States. Officials say the Russian government has demonstrated the power to exploit Russia-based companies to spy on Americans.

Concerns over national security was the ultimate motivation for US leaders, since the company is based in Moscow and owned by a man with known ties to the Russian government.

Owner Eugene Kaspersky studied at a KGB-sponsored university, and for a time worked for the Russian Ministry of Defense, which raised suspicions of US investigators. Despite his claims that he has no “unethical ties or affiliations” with the Russian government, the US Department of Commerce moved forward with the ban.

Has My Data Been Spied on by Kaspersky?

Despite concerns over Kaspersky’s capacity to be exploited by the Russian government, there are no tangible instances of the software being used to spy on Americans. The company vehemently denies that their software would ever be used to threaten US security.

In response to the ruling, they said in a statement that the Department of Commerce “made its decision based on the present geopolitical climate and theoretical concerns, rather than on a comprehensive evaluation of the integrity of Kaspersky’s products and services.”

Although your data likely hasn’t been collected or spied on by the company, it is wise to plan for other methods of cybersecurity as soon as possible if you currently use Kaspersky.

What Do I Do If I Use Kaspersky?

The good news is, if you still use Kaspersky, you have until September 29th, 2024, to switch. As of June 2024, US entities cannot sell, resell, or acquire new licenses for the software.

Those who still use it will not face any penalties, but in September 2024, the provider will be bared from providing any updates to the software. Due to the ever-changing nature of cybersecurity, this poses a significant security risk to your business if you choose to keep Kaspersky after September.

This is because software patches are designed to add further security protections against emerging threats. If you don’t have access to anti-virus signature updates or codebase updates, you could become vulnerable to new attacks.

How to Remove Unwanted Antivirus Software

Removing the software will likely be the easy part of overhauling your cybersecurity. According to a guide from USAToday, the instructions for removing this software are as follows:

Windows 10 users can go to Settings > Apps > Apps & features and select Kaspersky from the list to access the Uninstall option.

Windows 11 users can go to Settings > Apps > Installed Apps and select Kaspersky from the list to access the Uninstall option.

Mac users can access the Uninstall option by going to the Kaspersky menu bar and selecting ‘Help > Support.

If you’re unsure whether your organization uses Kaspersky products, a network assessment is a great way to audit your IT environment to find out. To see if your organization needs to make a switch, get an assessment with one of our experts here.

Is Antivirus Outdated?

In the modern cybersecurity climate, you’ll want to plan carefully for whatever cyber threats may be on the horizon. Hackers are always devising new methods to breach networks. The newest cyber threats are often called “zero-day attacks” because when they’re discovered they’re the first of their kind.

A new form of advanced anti-virus is called Endpoint Detection & Response (EDR). This technology actively seeks out new threat signatures that aren’t included in modern virus detection databases. When new threats are found, an infected endpoint will shut down and reboot to a safe state after the threat is remedied.

To read a detailed comparison of EDR vs antivirus, read our blog: EDR vs Enterprise Antivirus: What’s the Difference?

What Anti-Virus is Better Than Kaspersky?

A good alternative to Kaspersky is Microsoft Defender. This is a tool that provides “integrated threat protection, detection, and response across endpoints, email, identities, applications, and data within a single portal”.

Microsoft is known to offer state-of-the-art cybersecurity features, that can be configured to your data security needs. Microsoft Defender is a great product for anti-malware since it can check files or apps you download or install to determine if they are safe or if they contain malware.

This tool will also scan your existing files to spot irregularities. If you are a Windows user, you’re in luck, since it comes pre-installed on all Windows computers and does not cost anything to use. For this reason, Microsoft Defender is one of the best Kaspersky alternatives for businesses.  

To read about other ways Microsoft prioritizes data security for industries like healthcare, read our blog: Is Microsoft Teams HIPAA Compliant?

Other Methods of Network Monitoring

There are many steps you can take to mitigate the risks of cyberattacks and scams. One popular and expert-recommended method in cybersecurity is implementing Zero Trust infrastructure. 

Installing Zero Trust architecture, users won’t be able to download unknown software onto their computers unless they are first approved by an IT team member. It will also require users to be individually authorized to access sensitive assets on the network.

Find a Provider with the Latest Tools To Assist You

If you're looking for software for ransomware protection that includes antivirus protection features, partnering with a quality MSP is a great place to start. IT providers have all the resources and industry knowledge to help you find the right tools and implement cybersecurity practices such as:

  • Implementing and optimizing multi-factor authentication
  • Creating a data breach incident response plan
  • Educating staff about online threats and phishing awareness

If you're ready to level up your security and find the right antivirus software to mitigate cyber threats, click the button below to speak to an expert.

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About Jada Sterling, Digital Content Manager

Jada Sterling is Usherwood's Content Manager. She is responsible for developing content that furthers the mission of Usherwood Office Technology by helping clients and prospective clients better understand how technology can help grow their business.