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Dec 6, 2017

Industry insights,

Warnings over Russian anti-virus software

This weekend has seen yet more government issued warnings aimed at highlighting security risks of using Russian anti-virus software. This warning is fairly straight forward, as the UK cyber-security agency has raised the issue that this type of software could be exploited by the Russian government.

For anti-virus software to work it requires a two way communication, scanning files and sending the information back to the software company. The concern is, that this could be intercepted and used by the Russian government for espionage.

The biggest security brand to be affected by this warning is Russia’s Kaspersky Labs. It’s a brand that is widely available throughout the UK to both consumers and businesses. Although officials are not recommending that people stop using Kaspersky’s products altogether, it’s certainly started a flurry of businesses, such as Barclay’s, who have decided to stop offering this software to their customers.

Officials at the National Cyber Security Centre, have said that this newly issued warning is based on the degree of risk rather than anything evidence based. But, it comes at a time when we are already aware of the Russian involvement in cyber-attacks and trust is at an all-time low, so it makes sense that our UK government and national security operations are protected as much as possible. This means removing anything that could pose a threat, either now or at some point in the future. Saying that, whilst it’s vital that our UK government and national security operations adhere to these new warnings, it seems a little unfair to create mass panic and damage what was a house hold name in internet security, simply because they are a Russian brand. By doing this what are we saying? All Russian security brands are corrupt by default. Surely not!

Eugene Kaspersky, CEO and Co-founder of Kaspersky Labs has denied any wrongdoing, saying “We don’t do anything wrong. We would never do that. It’s simply not possible. It’s not true that the Russian state has access to the data. There are no facts about that”.

The National Cyber Security Centre is now working with the Kaspersky to explore if there are any ways of independently verifying the security of its products.