Ban on Russian anti-virus software in government

FILE- Eugene Kaspersky Chief Executive of Russia's Kaspersky Lab speaks during an interview with

The director of the UK National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC) has issued a warning that no Russian-made security software should be used on systems that could represent a national security threat if accessed by the Russian government.

In a letter to Whitehall chiefs agreed with MI5, he described Russian Federation as a "highly capable cyber threat actor", which uses cyberspace for "espionage, disruption and influence operations".

Prime Minister Theresa May used a November speech to issue a message to Russian president Vladimir Putin that the global community was aware of his country's efforts to spread fake news in an attempt to "sow discord in the West". Martin said last month that Russian hackers had targeted the U.K.'s media, telecommunications and energy sectors in the past year.

In a letter to to heads of government ministries, NCSC CEO, Ciaran Martin said that organizations "need to be vigilant to the risk that an [antivirus] product under the control of a hostile actor could extract sensitive data from that network, or indeed cause damage to the network itself".

The threat allegedly stems from what a branch of UK's spying agency, the Government Communications Headquarters (GCHQ), sees as Russia's campaign of online espionage.

"In drawing this guidance to (department heads") attention today, it is our aim to enable departments to make informed, risk-based decisions on (their) choice of AV provider.

Theresa May said last month that Russian Federation was attempting to "weaponise information" and threaten the global order.

"In particular we are seeking verifiable measures to prevent the transfer of United Kingdom data to the Russian state". "There are no facts about that".

In July Kaspersky was similarly been removed from the USA governments approved vendors list after concerns were raised that the software provided by the vendor could allow the Kremlin access to the U.S. government's secure computer systems.

"There's nearly no installed base of Kaspersky AV in central government", he said. 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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