The US Government has just ordered its federal agencies to stop using any internet security software provided by Kaspersky Lab.
- Kaspersky a huge cybersecurity company and provider of top-of-the-range anti-virus software
- US Department of Homeland Security has held concerns the company has links to the Kremlin
- Concerns escalated over fears Russia interfered in 2016 US presidential election
With more than 400 million customers worldwide, Kaspersky is a huge cybersecurity company and one of the top anti-virus software providers globally.
Let's take a look at why the US is worried and what it means for you if you have the software installed on your computer or phone.
Why has the US Government banned Kaspersky?
The US Department of Homeland Security (DHS) has given all US federal agencies 90 days to remove any Kaspersky Lab software from their IT systems.
The directive, issued by acting Homeland Security Secretary Elaine Duke, says the department is concerned the company has links to the Kremlin and Russian spy agencies.
It believes the company could be influenced by the Russian Government, given there are laws in Russia that would allow spy agencies to compel Kaspersky to provide them with access to confidential information.
Here's exactly what the department said:
"The department is concerned about the ties between certain Kaspersky officials and Russian intelligence and other government agencies.
"The risk that the Russian Government — whether acting on its own or in collaboration with Kaspersky — could capitalise on access provided by Kaspersky products to compromise federal information and information systems directly implicates US national security."
Has this come out of the blue?
There have been concerns about Kaspersky for some time in America, but those suspicions escalated when it was determined that Russia interfered in the 2016 US presidential election using cyber means.
Last week, Best Buy Co, the number one electronics retailer in the US, pulled Kaspersky Lab's cyber security products from its shelves and website citing spying concerns.
So what are Kaspersky's links to Russia?
Kaspersky Lab is based in Moscow, but has offices in 33 other countries, including the United States.
It has hundreds of millions of customers worldwide and its competitors include fellow giants, Norton and McAfee.
The company's chief executive is mathematical engineer Eugene Kaspersky.
He attended a school sponsored by the Russian KGB and also once worked for Russia's Ministry of Defence.
Are the allegations true?
Kaspersky has repeatedly denied that it has "unethical ties" to Russia.
It says it's disappointed with the decision by the DHS, and will seek to provide the agency with evidence the allegations are unfounded.
"Kaspersky Lab has never helped, nor will help, any government in the world with its cyberespionage or offensive cyber efforts, and it's disconcerting that a private company can be considered guilty until proven innocent, due to geopolitical issues," it said.
"No credible evidence has been presented publicly by anyone or any organisation as the accusations are based on false allegations and inaccurate assumptions, including the claims about Russian regulations and policies impacting the company," it added.
"We will use this opportunity to provide additional information to the [DHS] in order to confirm that these allegations are completely unfounded."
But critics say it's unlikely Kaspersky could operate independently in Russia, where the economy is dominated by state-owned companies and the power of spy agencies has expanded dramatically under President Vladimir Putin.
So what should you do if you use Kaspersky?
According to Jill Slay, a cybersecurity professor at UNSW and the director of Cyber Resilience Initiatives at the Australian Computer Society, you should rest easy.
"Kaspersky is actually technically good. I would use Kaspersky with no concerns," she said.
"It's not a technical issue — they've got really good products. It's a political issue."
Professor Slay said the US Government was worried the company's links to Russia could compromise national security.
"Technically speaking, the US Government is worried there are flaws and backdoors in the Russian software that will allow them to breach their systems," she said.
But she said the company's CEO would likely have the same links to the Russian Government as other CEOs of major tech companies, such as Apple and Huawei, might have to their governments.
Remember when the FBI took Apple to court in an attempt to compel it to unlock a phone used by one of the San Bernardino shooters?
"He [Mr Kaspersky] is not seen as the bad guy in technology in any way, he's actually seen as someone who is quite good at what he does," she said.
And in fact this isn't the first time something like this has happened.
"There were times in the past when the Chinese Government refused to use Microsoft Windows because of its links to America," Professor Slay said.
That happened in 2014, when China banned the use of Microsoft's Windows 8 on all government computers over security concerns.
So what now for Kaspersky?
Mr Kaspersky has been invited to appear before Congress on September 27 to address the accusations.
US government and private-sector cyber experts have also been invited to appear.
The CEO has accepted that invitation, but he says he needs an expedited visa first.
"I appreciate and accept the invitation to testify before the US House of Representatives Committee on Science, Space, and Technology, and if I can get an expedited visa, I look forward to publicly addressing the allegations about my company and its products," he said in an email to Reuters.
In July, Mr Kaspersky told NBC News he wasn't currently travelling to the US because he was "worried" about encountering "unexpected problems" amid a challenging relationship between Moscow and Washington.