Kaspersky Lab, Russian cyber firm, denied injunction in appeals case against Trump administration
Russian cybersecurity firm Kaspersky Lab suffered another setback Friday in its efforts to oppose new rules prohibiting the U.S. government from using its antivirus software and services.
The U.S. Court of Appeals in D.C. denied an emergency motion for injunction filed by Kaspersky Lab in its ongoing lawsuit against the Trump administration, leaving in place policies barring its products pending further proceedings.
“Appellants have not satisfied the stringent requirements for an injunction pending appeal,” Mark J. Langer, a clerk for the clerk, wrote in a order denying Kaspersky Lab’s request.
Kaspersky Lab told The Washington Times that it was “disappointed” in the ruling, “but remains hopeful that the court will find the law unconstitutional after full consideration of the case on the merits,”
“Kaspersky Lab continues to make the cyber world a safer place by detecting and neutralizing all forms of advanced persistent threats (APTs), regardless of origin or purpose,” the company told The Times.
The U.S. Department of Homeland Security issued a directive last September barring agencies from using Kaspersky Lab software and services, citing “ties between certain Kaspersky officials and Russian intelligence and other government agencies, and requirements under Russian law that allow Russian intelligence agencies to request or compel assistance from Kaspersky and to intercept communications transiting Russian networks.”
The U.S. National Defense Authorization Act signed by President Trump in December effectively codified the DHS directive banning Kaspersky products, and the company subsequently sued in D.C. federal court that month opposing both policies on constitutional grounds. U.S. District Judge Colleen Kollar-Kotelly dismissed both lawsuit in May, prompting Kaspersky Lab to file a challenge last month in the D.C. appeals court, followed by the emergency motion denied in Friday’s ruling.
“The United States government’s networks and computer systems are extremely important strategic national assets,” Judge Kollar-Kotelly wrote in the May 30 ruling upholding the Kaspersky ban. “Threats to these systems are constantly expanding and evolving. Their security depends on the government’s ability to act swiftly against perceived threats and to take preventive action to minimize vulnerabilities. These defensive actions may very well have adverse consequences for some third-parties. But that does not make them unconstitutional.”
“Kaspersky Lab continues to maintain that the underlying statutory provisions of the interim rule ... violate the U.S. Constitution by specifically and unfairly singling out the company for legislative punishment, based on vague and unsubstantiated allegations without any basis in fact,” Kaspersky responded at the time.
The appeals court’s ruling Friday came the same day the Department of Justice announced criminal charges against a dozen Russians accused of hacking Democratic Party targets during the 2016 U.S. presidential race. Dan Coats, Mr. Trump’s director of national intelligence, separately stated Friday that Russian hackers are waging potentially crippling cyberattacks against U.S. infrastructure on a daily basis.
“What’s serious about the Russians is their intent. They have capabilities, but it’s their intent to undermine our basic values, undermine democracy, create wedges between us and our allies,” said Mr. Coats.
The Russian government has denied hacking U.S. victims, and Kaspersky Lab has denied maintaining improper ties to Moscow.