Amid Concerns Of Russian “Snooping”, UK Warns Government Agencies To Not Use Kaspersky Software

Swarajya Staff

Dec 03, 2017, 03:16 AM | Updated 03:16 AM IST

Kaspersky Lab At Cybertech Europa 2017 at Roma Convention Center - La Nuvola (Ernesto S. Ruscio/Getty Images for Kaspersky Lab)
Kaspersky Lab At Cybertech Europa 2017 at Roma Convention Center - La Nuvola (Ernesto S. Ruscio/Getty Images for Kaspersky Lab)

The National Cyber Security Centre (NSSC) – Britain's cybersecurity agency – has told government departments not to use antivirus software from Moscow-based Kaspersky Lab amid concerns about Russian snooping.

Ciaran Martin, head of the NSSC said "Russia is acting against the United Kingdom's national interest in cyberspace”. In a letter dated yesterday (2 December) that was addressed to various civil service chiefs, he said that Russia seeks "to target UK central government and the UK's critical national infrastructure”.

He also said that Russian service providers should never be used for systems dealing with national security and related issues.

The agency also said that it would advice the public at large to not use Kaspersky’s products. According to Martin, British authorities are in talks with Kaspersky to develop checks and measures to prevent British data to the Russian state.

Kaspersky on its part has denied any wrongdoing and has said that it does not assist any cyber-espionage programs in Russia. In September, the United States government had imposed a ban on Kaspersky products in federal offices owing to increasing concerns of the company's alleged ties to the Kremlin and aid to Russian spy operations.

Since then, news reports have linked Kaspersky software to alleged theft of data and security breaches of information from the US National Security Agency (NSA).

Britain has issued increasingly strong warnings over Russia's cyber activity. Last month, Martin said that Russian hackers had targeted the UK's telecommunications, media and energy sectors over the past year.

Authorities in the US are currently investigating allegations of Russia interfering in the 2016 presidential election. Several British lawmakers have called for a similar probe into Brexit – the UK's European Union membership referendum.

Prime Minister Theresa May earlier said that Russia was "weaponising information" and interfering in elections to undermine international order. PTI

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