Twitter banned Russian security firm Kaspersky Lab from buying ads

The U.S. government isn’t the only one feeling skittish about Kaspersky Lab. On Friday, the Russian security firm’s founder Eugene Kaspersky confronted Twitter’s apparent ban on advertising from the company, a decision it quietly issued in January.

“In a short letter from an unnamed Twitter employee, we were told that our company ‘operates using a business model that inherently conflicts with acceptable Twitter Ads business practices,’” Kaspersky wrote.

“One thing I can say for sure is this: we haven’t violated any written – or unwritten – rules, and our business model is quite simply the same template business model that’s used throughout the whole cybersecurity industry: We provide users with products and services, and they pay us for them.”

He noted that the company has spent around than €75,000 ($93,000 USD) to promote its content on Twitter in 2017.

Kaspersky called for Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey to specify the motivation behind the ban after failing to respond to an official February 6 letter from his company.

More than two months have passed since then, and the only reply we received from Twitter was the copy of the same boilerplate text. Accordingly, I’m forced to rely on another (less subtle but nevertheless oft and loudly declared) principle of Twitter’s – speaking truth to power – to share details of the matter with interested users and to publicly ask that you, dear Twitter executives, kindly be specific as to the reasoning behind this ban; fully explain the decision to switch off our advertising capability, and to reveal what other cybersecurity companies need to do in order to avoid similar situations.

In a statement about the incident, Twitter reiterated that Kaspersky Lab’s business model “inherently conflicts with acceptable Twitter Ads business practices.” In a statement to CyberScoop, Twitter pointed to the late 2017 Department of Homeland Security directive to eliminate Kaspersky software from Executive Branch systems due to the company’s relationship with Russian intelligence.

“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,” DHS asserted in the directive at the time.

Kaspersky Lab challenges the U.S. government ban on its products in court

 On Monday, Russian cybersecurity firm Kaspersky Lab announced its intention to push back against the U.S. government’s ban on its software. The ban, which the Department of Homeland Security announced in September, has resulted in a lengthy back-and-forth between Kaspersky and the U.S. government over allegations that the software maker’s products are an asset for Russian… Read More

Kaspersky sues DHS over federal blacklist

Kaspersky Labs, the embattled security vendor, has sued the Department of Homeland Security on Monday. The company alleges that, because the agency essentially blacklisted Kaspersky in September over its alleged links to the Russian government, it has unduly suffered as a result.

Specifically, Kaspersky says that, due to the way DHS’ Binding Operational Directive (BOD) was issued, the company didn’t have adequate time to respond to the government’s concerns, which immediately had a deleterious effect on its business.

“While DHS professed to give Plaintiffs an opportunity to contest the BOD and change DHS’s decision before the 90-day mark, by allowing Kaspersky to make a written submission to DHS near in time to the 60-day mark, this process was illusory and wholly inadequate because it failed to satisfy even the minimum standards of due process,” lawyers representing Kaspersky wrote in the civil complaint filed Monday in federal court in Washington, DC.

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