Cybersecurity Authority Warns UK Government against Use of Russian Anti-Virus Software

Technology > Security

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The government of United Kingdom has been advised not to use antivirus software created by tech firms with connections in Russia.

Government agency National Cyber Security Centre’s CEO Ciaran Martin warned about the intention of Russia to target the critical national infrastructure and the central government of the United Kingdom. The cybersecurity chief also advised that there are obvious risks in terms of foreign ownership of technology firms that produce the AV software.

Martin wrote a letter to Whitehall civil servants, claiming that Russia is highly capable of being a cyber threat and that it uses the cyberspace for disruption, influence operations, and espionage. “It is our aim to enable departments to make informed, risk-based decisions on (their) choice of AV provider,” he said.

Despite the NCSC chief's warning, however, the UK government is not removing its AV software from Kaspersky Lab, a Russian cybersecurity company in the UK. It even collaborated with the company to prevent the transfer of United Kingdom’s data to Russia by developing a framework that it can independently use and verify.

UK’s Prime Minister Theresa May spoke last month in a speech that the Russian state was attempting to threaten the international order and to weaponize information. She adds that international community was informed of the Russia’s effort to “sow discord in the west” and spread fake news.