Government warnings against Kaspersky products spread to UK

Government warnings against Kaspersky products spread to UK
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Britain's top cybersecurity agency on Friday warned the British government to stop using Kaspersky Labs software on all government computers over concerns of Russian hackers.

The Associated Press reported that Ciaran Martin, head of the National Cyber Security Centre, sent a letter to British civil servant chiefs on Friday announcing the new policy.

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“Russia is acting against the U.K.’s national interest in cyberspace," Martin wrote in the letter.

“A Russia-based provider should never be used for systems that deal with issues related to national security," he added. British officials, he says, are currently in talks with the software company about preventing “transfer of U.K. data to the Russian state.”

The U.K.'s move comes just months after the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) banned Kaspersky Labs software from all U.S. government computers, citing similar cybersecurity concerns.

Kaspersky has been under intense scrutiny in recent months over the company's alleged ties to Russian intelligence. Its founder, Eugene Kaspersky, was educated at a computer science institute linked to the KGB, the Soviet-era spy agency.

"The Department is concerned about the ties between certain Kaspersky officials and Russian intelligence and other government agencies, and requirements under Russian law that allow Russian intelligence agencies to request or compel assistance from Kaspersky and to intercept communications transiting Russian networks,” the DHS said in September.

“The risk that the Russian government, whether acting on its own or in collaboration with Kaspersky, could capitalize on access provided by Kaspersky products to compromise federal information and information systems directly implicates U.S. national security," the department continued.

At the time, Kaspersky's spokesperson called allegations of ties to the Kremlin "completely unfounded," and said that Russian laws and policies are being "misinterpreted."