U.S. Government Restricts the Use of Kaspersky Cybersecurity Software

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Earlier this month, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) issued a binding order restricting the government’s use of cybersecurity software developed by Moscow-based Kaspersky Labs.

Government departments and agencies have 90 days to remove or discontinue use of any Kaspersky Labs software products—but the buck doesn’t stop there. Kaspersky boasts more than 400 million users and 270,000 corporate clients, meaning organizations that provide any services involving federal information systems would be wise to investigate whether they, either directly or indirectly, use Kaspersky products and services. Continue reading

Cybersecurity and Adware: The FTC’s Settlement with Lenovo

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The FTC and 32 state attorneys general announced a settlement with Lenovo Inc., one of the largest computer manufacturers, resolving allegations that Lenovo harmed consumers by pre-loading software on some laptops that compromised security protections in order to deliver ads to consumers.

The FTC’s complaint alleged that in August 2014 Lenovo began selling consumer laptops that came with preinstalled ad-injecting software known as VisualDiscovery, which was developed by Superfish, Inc.  This adware delivered pop-up ads of similar-looking products sold by Superfish’s retail partners whenever a consumer’s cursor hovered over the image of a product on a shopping website. To facilitate its injection of pop-up ads into encrypted https:// websites, Visual Discovery installed a self-signed root certificate in the laptop’s operating system, which caused consumers’ browsers to automatically trust the VisualDiscovery-signed certificates.  Digital certificates are part of the Transport Layer Security protocol that, when properly validated, serve as proof that consumers are communicating with the authentic https:// website and not an imposter.

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