By Obinna Ezenwa
Following the ongoing crisis between Russia and Ukraine, The National Cyber Security Centre has warned that more organizations should reexamine the risk derivable from the use of Russian technology, including anti-virus software.
However, a blog post published on Wednesday noted that Kaspersky’s software is safe for most individual users.
Similarly, Germany has recently suggested replacing Kaspersky anti-virus.
The Russia-headquartered firm while reacting to Germany, said the German warnings were “made on political grounds”.
In 2017, The UK’s National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC) announced it would write to all government departments, warning against using Kaspersky products for systems related to national security.
The NCSC’s Ian Levy wrote: “We have no evidence that the Russian state intends to suborn Russian commercial products and services to cause damage to UK interests, but the absence of evidence is not evidence of absence.”
The centre is now urging more groups to reconsider their use of Russian controlled technology including: wider public sector organizations that weren’t covered by its 2017 guidance, organizations providing services to Ukraine, organizations that if compromised could represent a PR ‘win’ for Russia and organizations providing services related to critical infrastructure
“We’ve not seen – and don’t expect to see – the massive, global cyber-attacks that some had predicted,” the NCSC’s Ian Levy said in his blog.
But the Ukraine conflict has changed the balance of risks.
The UK already had advice from a few years back regarding use of products like Kaspersky anti-virus nonetheless this was narrowed to those involved in national security.
German authorities issued a new tougher warning calling for Kaspersky products to be removed after the Ukraine conflict began, raising questions about whether the UK would follow.
The issue has occasioned NCSC getting phone calls from members of the public worried about turning their laptops on because they ran Kaspersky.
That has now led to a broader warning that a wider range of institutions – like those in critical infrastructure or who might be the targets of Russian retaliation – should think carefully about using any Russian products.