UK National Cyber Centre Director Ciaran Martin has advised the government against using Russian antivirus products due to growing fear of Russian spying and cyber-hacking. The move comes as concerns about companies, like Kaspersky Lab, escalate.
According to Martin: “The NCSC advises that Russia is a highly capable cyber threat actor which uses cyber as a tool of statecraft. This includes espionage, disruption and influence operations. Russia has the intent to target U.K. central government and the U.K’s critical national infrastructure…We advise that where it is assessed that access to the information by the Russian state would be a risk to national security, a Russia-based AV should not be chosen.”
Martin also noted that the NCSC is developing a way to verify its products. He believes that verification would provide security to their involvement throughout the UK.
Barclays, a London-based bank, told customers that it would no longer offer a free 12-month Kaspersky trial to account holders. “The U.K. government has been advised to remove any Russian products from all highly sensitive systems classified as secret or above,” Barclays said in a statement. “We’ve made the precautionary decision to no longer offer Kaspersky software to new users.”
The NCSC warning comes months after a directive was issued by the United States. The directive ordered all federal departments to discontinue the use of Kaspersky products.
“The risk that the Russian government, whether acting on its own or in collaboration with Kaspersky, could capitalize on access provided by Kaspersky products to compromise federal information and information systems directly implicates U.S. national security,” the United States Department of Homeland Security said.
Kaspersky Lab said it appreciates the agency’s “collaborative, risk management-based approach.” The company added: “It’s very important to note that the NCSC is not encouraging consumers or businesses against using Kaspersky Lab software.”
Russia has adamantly denied colluding with Russian governments.
Source: The Washington Times