Anti-virus software taken off federal computers, some local shel - KSWO 7News | Breaking News, Weather and Sports

Anti-virus software taken off federal computers, some local shelves

The software is still on shelves at Walmart for consumer purchase. (Source: KLTV) The software is still on shelves at Walmart for consumer purchase. (Source: KLTV)
A price tag is still attached to the Tyler Office Depot shelf where Kaspersky Labs software was stocked. (Source: KLTV) A price tag is still attached to the Tyler Office Depot shelf where Kaspersky Labs software was stocked. (Source: KLTV)
TYLER, TX (KLTV) -

This story has been updated with new information from Office Depot and Office Max about replacing the software.

A limited ban on a brand of anti-virus software is trickling down to East Texas shelves.

On Wednesday, the federal government announced a ban on the use of Kaspersky Labs software on government computers, citing possible but unproven concerns that the Russia based company is linked to the Kremlin.

The company issued a long response to this action, saying in part, "more than 85 percent of its revenue comes from outside of Russia, which further demonstrates that working inappropriately with any government would be detrimental to the company’s bottom line."

But amid the shakeup with the software on the federal level, some retailers decided to pull the product from their shelves.

A quick search of Office Depot's website shows the product is no longer for sale. On the local Office Depot shelf in Tyler, the product's UPC code and price tag are still on the shelf, but the product itself is gone. Best Buy decided to pull the product too, but the product is still available locally at Walmart.

"An anti-virus software has to have 100 percent access to an entire machine," Tyler-based digital crimes investigator Tim McLemee said. "If you don't have 100 percent access, you can't guarantee that there's no virus somewhere on that machine."

That access, McLemee says, is probably why the federal government is worried about the software. If it were hacked by the Russian government or any foreign entity, the hacker would have access to sensitive federal data.

But McLemee also says average consumers who actively use the product shouldn't be overly worried about the allegations.

"For example, if my computer was compromised by a foreign government, they're not going to spend long on my machines because they're going to realize ... there's nothing governmental," he said. "There's nothing of value to a foreign government."

He also adds that any anti-virus software, regardless of country of origin, is subject to hacking. 

"Some people want to go with American only companies," he said. "That's fine. But they get hacked too."

Although Kaspersky Labs says the move to ban the software is unfounded and that there's no evidence of any Russian espionage associated with the product, the Department of Homeland Security appears to stand firm with the decision.

As of Friday, Office Depot and Office Max says it is creating a special offer for any customer who purchased the software, regardless of where it was purchased.

"We will uninstall it and install a one-year license of McAfee LiveSafe free of charge" a company spokesperson said Friday.

On Thursday, Eugene Kaspersky, the chief executive of the company, tweeted he accepted an invitation to testify in front of Congress. He says he is prepared to answer any questions the United States has about the product.

Copyright 2017 KLTV. All rights reserved. 

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