The Biden administration ramped up a national security probe into Russia's AO Kaspersky Lab antivirus software earlier this year amid heightened fears of Russian cyberattacks after Moscow invaded Ukraine, three people familiar with the matter told Reuters.
The case was referred to the Commerce Department by the Department of Justice last year, a fourth person said, but Commerce made little progress on it until the White House and other administration officials urged them to move forward in March, the three people added.
The probe, which has not previously been reported, shows the administration is digging deep into its tool kit to hit Moscow with even its most obscure authorities in a bid to protect U.S. citizens and corporations from Russian cyber attacks.
The authorities are "really the only tool that we have to deal with the threat (posed by Kaspersky) on an economy-wide commercial basis, given our generally open market," said Emily Kilcrease, a former deputy assistant U.S. Trade Representative.
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