United Kingdom cyber agency targets Kaspersky in warning on Russian software

The National Cyber Security Centre which is part of GCHQ above has alerted government departments to the risks of using Russian anti-virus products

He said his agency is in talks with Kaspersky Lab to develop a system for reviewing its products for use in Britain.

Barclays bank has stopped offering free Kaspersky anti-virus products to new online banking customers following an official United Kingdom government warning about Russian software.

Britain's main cyber security agency on Friday warned British government agencies to avoid using anti-virus software from Russian companies, the latest in a series of moves targeting Moscow-based security software maker Kaspersky Lab.

The guidance continued: "We will be transparent about the outcome of those discussions with Kaspersky Lab and we will adjust our guidance if necessary in the light of any conclusions".

Now, the United Kingdom appears to be warning its own workers to steer clear of Kaspersky.

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The Register has sought comment from Kaspersky Labs on the National Cyber Security Centre's decision and Barclays' actions and will update this story if we receive any information.

Theresa May said last month that Russian Federation was attempting to "weaponise information" and threaten the global order. In a separate letter to government ministry leadership, NCSC CEO Ciaran Martin specifically name-checked "Russian antivirus companies" and wrote that agencies "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".

He cautioned that "a Russia-based provider should never be used" for the security of vital systems.

In an accompanying blog post, the center's technical director, Ian Levy explains that while foreign actors do pose a threat to United Kingdom national interests, it's a complicated issue, and that in most instances, systems are weakened by avoidable risks, such as out-of-date software, poor network management, and poor credential management.

"In general, we should concentrate on getting those fixed before worrying about really clever and risky supply chain interdictions from other states", Levy wrote.

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