Ban on Russian anti-virus software in government


Kaspersky publicly contends a high-profile incident in which it allegedly stole classified files from a National Security Agency contractor's computer was due to dumb mistakes on that individual's part, but that hasn't stopped the U.S. government from banning the use of the company's products at federal agencies.

In September, the US government barred agencies from using Kaspersky products after expressing concern that the company could have links to the Russian government or Russian spy agencies.

AU Editor's note: Kaspersky Lab reached out to Gizmodo Australia this morning with the following statement.

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Britain's main cyber security agency on Friday warned British government agencies to avoid using anti-virus software from Russian companies, the latest in a series of moves targeting Moscow-based security software maker Kaspersky Lab. Martin goes on to explain that his center is "in discussions with Kaspersky Lab", to develop additional, independently verifiable measures to ensure that data from the United Kingdom isn't transmitted to Russian government.

The letter said customers need take no action and should ensure they run AV software.

Now, the United Kingdom appears to be warning its own workers to steer clear of Kaspersky. He went on to specifically call out Russia, noting that the country is a "highly capable cyber threat actor which uses cyber as a tool of statecraft", and that in instances where government agencies have information that would pose a threat to national security should it be accessed by Russian agents, antivirus products from Russian companies should not be used.

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Kaspersky has denied any wrongdoing and has said it has no secret collaboration with Russian security agencies.

The UK Cyber Security Centre is not shutting out Kaspersky altogether and is now working with Kaspersky to develop a framework that it can independently verify and use to prevent Russian Federation from getting its hands on UK's secrets.

"In general, we should concentrate on getting those fixed before worrying about really clever and risky supply chain interdictions from other states", Levy wrote.

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