Kremlin says US decision to ban Kaspersky software designed to stifle competition

FILE PHOTO: A view shows the software produced by Russia's Kaspersky Lab at the company's office in Moscow, Russia October 27, 2017. REUTERS/Maxim Shemetov/File Photo

MOSCOW (Reuters) - The Kremlin said on Friday that a U.S. decision to ban sales of Kaspersky's software was a typical move by Washington to stifle foreign competition with American products.

The Biden administration on Thursday said it would ban the sale of antivirus software made by Russia's Kaspersky Lab in the United States, citing what it said was the Kremlin's influence over the company which poses a significant security risk.

Announcing the ban, U.S. Commerce Secretary Gina Raimondo told reporters that "Russia has shown it has the capacity and...the intent to exploit Russian companies like Kaspersky to collect and weaponize the personal information of Americans".

Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said that Kaspersky was a "very competitive" company on international markets and that Washington's decision to restrict its sales was a "favourite technique of unfair competition from the United States."

Kaspersky, which has said it will pursue legal options to try to preserve its operations, has said it believes the U.S. decision was not based on "a comprehensive evaluation of the integrity of Kaspersky's products and services" and that its activities did not threaten U.S. national security.

The company has said it is privately managed and has no links to the Russian government.

(Reporting by Gleb Stolyarov; Editing by Andrew Osborn)

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