Last week, the US Department of Homeland Security (DHS), banned the use of Kaspersky security services and has asked all US federal agencies to remove any Kaspersky Lab software from their IT systems within 90 days. This isn't the first time, the US went paranoid claiming espionage. Here are four instances the US government banned products and services claiming spying by other governments.
1. Kaspersky banned from the US
Kaspersky, one of the major cybersecurity solution provider and one of the top anti-virus software provider in the world, has more than 400 million customers across the globe.
The statement released by the DHS goes: “This action is based on the information security risks presented by the use of Kaspersky products on federal information systems. Kaspersky anti-virus products and solutions provide broad access to files and elevated privileges on the computers on which the software is installed, which can be exploited by malicious cyber actors to compromise those information systems. The Department is concerned about the 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 risk that the Russian government, whether acting on its own or in collaboration with Kaspersky, could capitalize on access provided by Kaspersky products to compromise federal information and information systems directly implicates US national security.”
2. Chinese network equipment maker, Huawei banned by the US
Huawei and other Chinese tech companies such as ZTE have been banned from bidding for the US government contracts because they might undertake industrial espionage for China. Huawei's founder, Ren Zhengfei, had also served in the Chinese army as a military engineer before he started the company.
Countries like Australia have also raised concerns, about its link with the Chinese government. However, Huawei has denied all of these allegations. It is also common in China that its government or Chinese people can only hold shares of a company, as foreigners are generally barred from holding shares in China.
The Chinese network equipment maker Huawei has also been blocked from selling to the US phone companies amid spying concerns by federal officials. It is also speculated that the equipment poses a threat of a cyber-warfare and can result in espionage or network disruption.
3. US Army bans DJI drone cameras
On 2017, August 02, the Department of Army for the US, issued a statement mentioning to discontinuation of the unmanned aircraft system by Dajiang Innovation (DJI). The circular which was shared by a website called suasnews.com, which directs its official on banning the use of drones.
The issued circular said: "Due to increased awareness of cyber vulnerabilities associated with DJI products, it is directed that the US Army halt the use of all DJI products. This guidance applies to all DJI UAS and any system that employs DJI electrical components or software including, but not limited to, flight computers, cameras, radios, batteries, speed controllers, GPS units, handheld control stations, or devices with DJI software applications installed.”
The circular directed to cease all use, uninstall all DJI applications, remove all batteries/storage media from the evice, and secure equipment for follow on direction.
DJI has also previously faced security fears back in 2016, after a staff of the firm told reporters that the firm had repeatedly shared customer data with the Chinese authorities. However, the company issued a clarification saying that the staff has misspoke and it handed over information only if there was a valid legal request from Beijing or any other government.
4. CCTV cameras removed from US and raises concern in UK
One of the largest surveillance camera provider, Hangzhou Hikvision Digital Technology’s controlling shareholder is the Chinese government, and has faced many citizen complaints in U.K. and US over security concerns and its relationship with the Chinese government.
The CCTV provider is Britain’s biggest supplier of CCTV equipment, it also raises fear of its internet-linked cameras, which can be hacked at a touch of a button from Beijing.
The CCTVs have apparently been installed at sites including airports, government buildings, sports stadium and the London Underground.
According to an undercover story done by Dailymail.uk, they found that the company is controlled directly by China’s ruling Communist Party. It is also estimated to have sold more than a million CCTV cameras and recorders to its British clients.
In 2016, the US Embassy decide to remove all the Hikvision CCTV cameras and also stopped the procurement of the device, amid tension between the US and China.