UK's NCSC issues warning against using Kaspersky on government systems

The campaign against the Russian state was given more fuel on Friday by the UK’s National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC) after it wrote to all government departments warning against the use of Kaspersky’s anti-virus software claiming that it could be exploited by the Russian Government and therefore comprise the UK’s national security. It’s important to stress that the NCSC’s advice only pertains to systems which are vital to national security while stopping short of extending its recommendation to businesses and the general public.

Elements inside the United States previously warned against the use of Kaspersky Labs software, accusing it of being used by the Russian state for espionage, a claim that the company has denied. While Kaspersky anti-virus is used by many people, businesses, and organisations, the latest advice from the National Cyber Security Centre is only aimed at those running the software on systems vital to national security.

The claims, which many may find dubious, are simply based on a risk-analysis by the NCSC, rather than being based on evidence that espionage has already taken place via Kaspersky software. Ian Levy, the NCSC’s technical director, said:

“Given we assess the Russians do cyber-attacks against the UK for reasons of state, we believe some UK Government and critical national systems are at increased risk.

Beyond this relatively small number of systems we see no compelling case at present to extend that advice to the wider public sector, more general enterprises, or individuals. Whatever you do, don’t panic. For example, we really don’t want people doing things like ripping out Kaspersky software at large as it makes little sense.”

Eugene Kaspersky has claimed that his company’s software is not complicit in Russian spying and says that there is no truth to the claim. He also indicated that if the Russian state requested his company to hand over data that he would relocate his business to another country.

Source: BBC News

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