UK Cybersecurity Agency Warns Against Using Kaspersky Software

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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 United States government from banning the use of the company's products at federal agencies.

Despite repeated vigorous denials, it seems anti-virus company Kaspersky is unable to convince anyone that matters that they are not in league with the Russian government.

A guidance note published last Friday and distributed to permanent secretaries of government departments, addressed "The issue of supply chain risk in cloud-based products, including anti-virus (AV) software" and explained "how departments should approach the issue of foreign ownership of AV suppliers".

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"Even though this new guidance isn't directed at members of the public, we have taken the decision to withdraw the offer of Kaspersky software from our customer website", it said in a statement. "As stated in the company's Global Transparency Initiative announcement, Kaspersky Lab continues to partner with its stakeholders globally, including governments, as part of its ongoing commitment to protect customers from cyber threats".

Ciaran Martin, head of the National Cyber Security Centre, said: "Russia is acting against the UK's national interest in cyberspace".

Specifically, the Martin warns that systems containing information classified as "SECRET and above", while some systems containing material classified as Official, should not use products that originated in Russian Federation. He goes on to note that "there's nearly no installed base of Kaspersky AV in central government", and that beyond that small existing number, "we see no compelling case at present to extend", to the general public.

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In October, media reports linked a theft of information from the U.S. National Security Agency (NSA) to Kaspersky software.

Kaspersky has denied that their product carries any such risk, saying "Kaspersky Lab has no ties to any government, and the company has never helped, nor will help, any government in the world with its cyber espionage efforts".

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