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Kaspersky security software is banned in America: What you need to know

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Kaspersky security software is banned in America: What you need to know

Kaspersky is a multinational cybersecurity company that makes antivirus software, but it’s now banned in the U.S. The Biden administration recently announced plans to stop the sale of antivirus software from Russia’s Kaspersky Lab in the States, saying the company’s ties with Russia pose a risk to national security. It’s also believed that Kaspersky’s software lets bad actors install malicious software and withhold critical updates.

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Kaspersky conference room (Kaspersky)

Why is the US banning Kaspersky?

Kaspersky is getting banned in the U.S. after the Bureau of Industry and Security (BIS) conducted a review of the company’s cybersecurity and anti-virus transactions. BIS notes that the company poses “unacceptable risks to the United States’ national security and the security and safety of its people.” The main concerns are Kaspersky’s connections to Russia, the potential security weaknesses in Kaspersky’s products, and the chance that Russia could exploit these weaknesses.

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In an announcement, BIS specifically listed five risks Kaspersky poses to national security. Kaspersky’s ties to Russia are a major concern. BIS states that Russia is a foreign adversary that poses ongoing threats to the United States. According to the agency, Kaspersky is under the jurisdiction and control of the Russian government, allowing it access to sensitive information from U.S. customers.

Other reasons given for the Kaspersky ban include the software’s ability to install malware. “Kaspersky software allows for the capability and opportunity to install malicious software and withhold critical updates,” says BIS. “The manipulation of Kaspersky software, including in U.S. critical infrastructure, can result in data theft, espionage, and system malfunctions. The products also threaten economic security and public health in the U.S., potentially resulting in injuries or loss of life.”

Kaspersky’s ban in the U.S. shouldn’t come as a surprise since the firm has been on the government’s radar for quite some time. In 2017, the U.S. banned the use of the Moscow-based cybersecurity firm’s products across all government agencies.

Illustration of a bad actor on a computer (Kurt "CyberGuy" Knutsson)

Illustration of a bad actor on a computer (Kurt “CyberGuy” Knutsson)

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Kaspersky’s response to the ban

Kaspersky denied Friday that it is a security threat, saying the government had based its decision on the “geopolitical climate and theoretical concerns” rather than independently verifying if there was a risk. The company says it cannot obtain sensitive data on Americans and that its operations and employees in Russia can only access aggregate or statistical data not attributable to a specific person.

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Below is part of the company’s official statement. The full statement can be read on Kaspersky’s website.

“For over 26 years, Kaspersky has succeeded in its mission of building a safer future by protecting over a billion devices. Kaspersky provides industry-leading products and services to customers around the world to protect them from all types of cyber threats, and has repeatedly demonstrated its independence from any government. Additionally, Kaspersky has implemented significant transparency measures that are unmatched by any of its cybersecurity industry peers to demonstrate its enduring commitment to integrity and trustworthiness. The Department of Commerce’s decision unfairly ignores the evidence.”

A child working on a computer (Kurt "CyberGuy" Knutsson)

A child working on a computer (Kurt “CyberGuy” Knutsson)

PHARMA GIANT’S DATA BREACH EXPOSES PATIENTS’ SENSITIVE INFORMATION

What does this ban mean for you?

The Kaspersky ban essentially means you will not be able to purchase its software products, and if you already have one, it will stop working soon. Starting July 20, Kaspersky and any of its partners will not be able to sell or license cybersecurity or antivirus software in the U.S. Resellers who already have the products in stock will be able to sell them, but only until Sept. 29.

It’s worth noting that while BIS has banned most Kaspersky products, some have been exempted. These include Kaspersky Threat Intelligence products and services, Kaspersky Security Training products and services, and Kaspersky consulting and advisory services.

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Existing Kaspersky customers have until Sept. 29 to find an alternative, as the company will no longer be able to provide antivirus signature updates after this date.

Which antivirus should you choose now that Kaspersky is banned?

Kaspersky’s antivirus was widely used, but now that it has been banned, it’s important to look for alternatives. An antivirus is the best way to protect yourself from clicking malicious links that install malware, which may gain access to your private information. It can also alert you to phishing emails or ransomware scams. Get my picks for the best 2024 antivirus protection winners for your Windows, Mac, Android & iOS devices.

FRONTIER FALLOUT AS 750K CUSTOMERS’ DATA EXPOSED IN RANSOMHUB CYBERATTACK 

Kurt’s key takeaway

The U.S. government raised serious national security concerns regarding Kaspersky’s ties to the Russian government. If true, a ban is absolutely necessary. However, Kaspersky maintains it’s a private company with no ties to Moscow. It remains unclear whether these claims are credible. One thing’s for sure: Kaspersky’s absence would leave a significant gap in the cybersecurity market, creating a prime opportunity for competitors to step up.

Do you believe the concerns about Kaspersky’s ties to Russia and potential threats to national security are justified? Let us know by writing us at Cyberguy.com/Contact

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For more of my tech tips & security alerts, subscribe to my free CyberGuy Report Newsletter by heading to Cyberguy.com/Newsletter

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AMD is slightly delaying its Ryzen 9000 desktop CPUs ‘out of an abundance of caution’

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AMD is slightly delaying its Ryzen 9000 desktop CPUs ‘out of an abundance of caution’

AMD was set to launch its new Zen 5 processors on July 31st, including the 16-core, 32-thread Ryzen 9 9950X, a chip it’s calling “the world’s most powerful desktop consumer processor.” Instead, it’s now announcing a one- to two-week delay “out of an abundance of caution.” The Ryzen 7 9700X and Ryzen 5 9600X will now launch on August 8th, while the Ryzen 9 9950X and Ryzen 9 9900X will go on sale on August 15th.

This is not because AMD’s found any issues with the actual chips, spokesperson Stacy MacDiarmid tells The Verge. Rather, AMD discovered some of its chips didn’t go through all of the proper testing procedures, and the company wants to make sure they do.

Here’s the full statement from AMD computing and graphics SVP Jack Huynh:

We appreciate the excitement around Ryzen 9000 series processors. During final checks, we found the initial production units that were shipped to our channel partners did not meet our full quality expectations. Out of an abundance of caution and to maintain the highest quality experiences for every Ryzen user, we are working with our channel partners to replace the initial production units with fresh units. As a result, there will be a short delay in retail availability. The Ryzen 7 9700X and Ryzen 5 9600X processors will now go on sale on August 8th and the Ryzen 9 9950X and Ryzen 9 9900X processors will go on-sale on August 15th. We pride ourselves in providing a high-quality experience for every Ryzen user, and we look forward to our fans having a great experience with the new Ryzen 9000 series. 

AMD already recalled the chips that needed the additional testing before they could go on sale, and it sounds like that testing is going smoothly; AMD’s engineers are confident the chips won’t be delayed further, according to MacDiarmid.

AMD’s new desktop chips also include the Ryzen 9 9900X, Ryzen 7 9700X, and Ryzen 5 9600X.
Image: AMD
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Tom’s Hardware reports that those crashing Intel chips have been permanently degraded and will need to be returned to Intel; we’ve reached out to Intel with a list of questions about how it’s handling the situation.

AMD is about to launch its Zen 5 laptop chips, too, codenamed Strix Point and formally known as Ryzen AI 9 300. AMD recently revealed a new higher-end chip in that lineup, the Ryzen AI 9 HX 375, with a more powerful 55 TOPS NPU.

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Fox News AI Newsletter: Waymo’s robotaxi launches citywide in San Francisco

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Fox News AI Newsletter: Waymo’s robotaxi launches citywide in San Francisco

Welcome to Fox News’ Artificial Intelligence newsletter with the latest AI technology advancements.

IN TODAY’S NEWSLETTER:

– Robots take the wheel as San Francisco opens streets to driverless taxis

– FTC probes AI-powered ‘surveillance pricing’ at Mastercard, JPMorgan Chase, McKinsey and others

– US Air Force’s XQ-67A drone thinks, flies, acts on its own

Waymo autonomous vehicle  (Waymo)

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DRIVERLESS TAXIS ARRIVE: The future of urban transportation is here, and it’s taking the form of sleek, autonomous vehicles traveling through city streets. Across the United States, self-driving car companies are racing to revolutionize how we move, promising safer roads, reduced traffic and a new era of mobility. But it’s in San Francisco that this future is suddenly now a reality for thousands.

‘SHADOWY ECOSYSTEM’: The Federal Trade Commission on Tuesday announced that it launched a probe of eight companies that offer “surveillance pricing” tools that use artificial intelligence and other technology to analyze consumer data to help set price targets for products and services.

air force drone 1

US Air Force’s XQ-67A drone (AFRL)

AI IN THE SKY: The U.S. Air Force has just unveiled a new aircraft that’s turning heads and raising eyebrows across the globe.

ACCIDENT AVOIDANCE: Developed by Maine-based entrepreneur Josh Fox, Survue is an innovative device that looks to address the limitations of existing bicycle radar systems. While conventional systems primarily focus on the speed of approaching vehicles, Survue takes a more holistic approach by considering multiple factors to assess potential risks.

AI bicycle safety device could warn of dangerous car collision

AI-based bicycle safety device (Survue) (Kurt “CyberGuy” Knutsson)

Subscribe now to get the Fox News Artificial Intelligence Newsletter in your inbox.

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Google has big new ideas about the Play Store

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Google has big new ideas about the Play Store

Google is bringing a handful of new features to its Google Play store on Android today. There are new categorized “Collections” that highlight content from apps you’ve already installed. The company’s reward program is adding more prizes including Pixel hardware. Google’s Play Pass subscription service is introducing more versatile gaming capabilities. And in Japan, Google is rolling out a curated space for comics, which will let people dive into first chapter previews without needing to install third-party apps first.

Taken together, these changes are intended to make Google Play “an end-to-end experience that’s more than a store.”

The company previewed some of the latest updates at a media briefing in New York City on Tuesday. Google Play VP Sam Bright highlighted a few upgrades announced back at I/O such as AI-generated app reviews. Those AI features are being expanded with a new tool that will make it simpler to compare apps in similar categories (like photo editing software or fitness apps).

Then Bright moved on to some of the bigger new features. First is a new section of Google Play called Collections.

Collections highlight content from apps already on your phone.
Image: Google
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Rather than try to sell you on new apps, Collections are designed to surface content from those you’ve already installed and organize everything into categories like shop, watch, and listen. You’ll see a “continue watching” row for various streaming apps, plus the latest deals from select retailers. “With your app content in one place, it’s easier to pick up right where you left off,” Google’s blog post reads.

Gaming is another big focus of today’s updates. When searching, you can now select from a list of interest filters to refine the types of games that Play suggests. And starting today, Play Pass subscribers on PC are able to play multiple titles at the same time, so you can get your Clash of Clans fix in one window while playing another game elsewhere onscreen. Google launched Play Games for PC as a beta in 2022 and has continued to iterate on it with 4K support and now this.

Google is also trying to make its Play Points reward program more appealing by adding “super weekly prizes.” Available to gold, platinum, and diamond members, these level up the usual prizes by throwing Pixel devices, Razer gaming products, and other hardware into the mix. Prizes will rotate on a weekly basis and can be claimed from the Play Points perks tab.

A curated space for comics is coming to Google Play in Japan.
Image: Google

Android customers in Japan are getting a new curated space in Google Play that’s entirely devoted to comics. “You can access comics-related content all in one place — including free first chapter previews, live events and trailers, editor picks and fan reviews even from apps you haven’t installed,” Google’s blog post reads. A new “comics” tab is coming right to the Google Play homescreen. The company is continuing to explore how it can best use these curated spaces in other regions; the first example was a cricket section in India.

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You can tell Google Play to ignore certain apps for its personalization features.
Image: Google

Importantly, Google is also giving everyone greater control over exactly what data is used for Play’s personalized recommendations. Now you can choose apps that might contain sensitive data that you don’t want to be factored into the store’s personalization algorithms. You can find this option by navigating to “Personalization in Play” from the main menu.

Will these new features lead to people spending more time in Google Play? Perhaps, but many of them (like Collections) are easy to ignore if you prefer to keep using it as a destination for apps like always.

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