The British government has forbidden its agencies responsible for national security from using Russian anti-virus software Kaspersky, according to the Financial Times.
This comes after the director of the UK
National Cyber Security Center (NCSC), Ciaran Martin, warned the government departments not to use any software made by Russia
’s Kaspersky Labs.
“Where it is assessed that access to the information by the Russian state would be a risk to national security, a Russia-based AV [antivirus] company should not be chosen,” said Martin in a letter Friday signed off by chiefs at MI5.
Departments which are specifically responsible for “foreign policy, international negotiations, defense and other sensitive information” were highlighted in his letter.
This comes despite the fact that the NCSC itself said, after a six-month review, it had not found any evidence proving the software was being used to gather intelligence on behalf of the Russian intelligence services.
However, Martin said that Russia was a “highly capable cyber threat actor which uses cyber as a tool of statecraft.”
He also said that his agency is in discussions with the company “about whether we can develop a framework that we and others can independently verify.”
In September, the US Department of Homeland Security banned the federal agencies from using the software too.
Homeland Secretary Elaine Duke gave federal agencies three months to begin the process of removing the software from their networks, citing an effort to maintain “national security.”
Washington had previously voiced concerns that the software would give the Kremlin backdoor access to the US systems.
Kaspersky has denied the allegations, saying it did not have “inappropriate ties with any government.”
“Kaspersky Lab has never helped, nor will help, any government in the world with its cyberespionage or offensive cyber efforts, and it’s disconcerting that a private company can be considered guilty until proven innocent, due to geopolitical issues,” Kaspersky said in response to Washington’s claims.
In a declassified report released in January, the US intelligence community concluded that Russia interfered in the 2016 election that yielded President Donald Trump. That allegation was vehemently denied by Moscow.