Trump administration limits government use of Kaspersky Lab software

Eugene Kaspersky, Russian antivirus programs developer and chief executive of Russia's Kaspersky Lab, watches through a window decorated with programming code's symbols at his company's headquarters in Moscow on July 1, 2017. Kaspersky says he's ready to have his company's source code examined by US government officials to help dispel long-lingering suspicions about his company's ties to the Kremlin. (AP Photo/Pavel Golovkin)
Updated 12 July 2017
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Trump administration limits government use of Kaspersky Lab software

WASHINGTON: The Trump administration on Tuesday removed Moscow-based Kaspersky Lab from two lists of approved vendors used by government agencies to purchase technology equipment, amid concerns the cybersecurity firm’s products could be used by the Kremlin to gain entry into US networks.
The delisting represents the most concrete action taken against Kaspersky following months of mounting suspicion among intelligence officials and lawmakers that the company may be too closely connected to hostile Russian intelligence agencies accused of cyberattacks on the United States.
Kaspersky products have been removed from the US General Services Administration’s list of vendors for contracts that cover information technology services and digital photographic equipment, an agency spokeswoman said in a statement.
The action was taken “after review and careful consideration,” the spokeswoman said, adding that GSA’s priorities “are to ensure the integrity and security of US government systems and networks.”
Government agencies will still be able to use Kaspersky products purchased separate from the GSA contract process.
Kaspersky’s anti-virus software is popular in the United States and around the world, and the firm has been a leading player in the cybersecurity market for decades.
In a statement, Kaspersky Lab said it had not received any updates from GSA or any other US government agency regarding its vendor status.
“Kaspersky Lab has no ties to any government, and the company has never helped, nor will help, any government in the world with its cyberespionage efforts,” the company said.
It added that it had been “caught in the middle of a geopolitical fight where each side is attempting to use the company as a pawn in their political game.”
The delisting was done the same day that ABC News reported the Trump administration was considering implementing a broader ban that would block agencies from using Kaspersky software.
Last month the Senate Armed Services Committee passed a defense spending policy bill that would ban Kaspersky products from use in the military. The move came a day after the FBI interviewed several of the company’s US employees at their private homes as part of a counterintelligence investigation into its operations.
In May senior US intelligence officials said in testimony before the Senate Intelligence Committee that they were reviewing government use of software from Kaspersky Lab.
Lawmakers raised concerns that Moscow might use the firm’s products to attack American computer networks, a particularly sensitive issue given allegations by US intelligence agencies that Russia hacked and leaked e-mails of Democratic Party political groups to interfere in the 2016 presidential election campaign. Russia denies the allegations.


Japan to trial ‘world’s first urine test’ to spot cancer

Updated 17 April 2018
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Japan to trial ‘world’s first urine test’ to spot cancer

  • Previous research has shown a new blood test has potential to detect eight different kinds of tumors before they spread
  • The research starts in April and will run until September

TOKYO: A Japanese firm is poised to carry out what it hailed as the world’s first experiment to test for cancer using urine samples, which would greatly facilitate screening for the deadly disease.
Engineering and IT conglomerate Hitachi developed the basic technology to detect breast or colon cancer from urine samples two years ago.
It will now begin testing the method using some 250 urine samples, to see if samples at room temperature are suitable for analysis, Hitachi spokesman Chiharu Odaira told AFP.
“If this method is put to practical use, it will be a lot easier for people to get a cancer test, as there will be no need to go to a medical organization for a blood test,” he said.
It is also intended to be used to detect paediatric cancers.
“That will be especially beneficial in testing for small children” who are often afraid of needles, added Odaira.
Research published earlier this year demonstrated that a new blood test has shown promise toward detecting eight different kinds of tumors before they spread elsewhere in the body.
Usual diagnostic methods for breast cancer consist of a mammogram followed by a biopsy if a risk is detected.
For colon cancer, screening is generally conducted via a stool test and a colonoscopy for patients at high risk.
The Hitachi technology centers around detecting waste materials inside urine samples that act as a “biomarker” — a naturally occurring substance by which a particular disease can be identified, the company said in a statement.
The procedure aims to improve the early detection of cancer, saving lives and reducing the medical and social cost to the country, Odaira explained.
The experiment will start this month until through September in cooperation with Nagoya University in central Japan.
“We aim to put the technology in use in the 2020s, although this depends on various things such as getting approval from the authorities,” Odaira said.