German government agency warns against using Kaspersky software

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The German Federal Office for Information Security (BSI) has warned against using anti-malware software from Russian vendor Kaspersky

The federal agency released a note [German] Advise organizations that use Kaspersky security products to seek BSI-approved replacement products.

In the statement, the BSI asserts that the actions of the Russian military and intelligence services during the invasion of Ukraine and the subsequent threats made by Russia against the EU, NATO and Germany are “associated with considerable risk of a successful computer attack”.

He continues: “A Russian computer manufacturer can itself carry out offensive operations, be forced to attack target systems against its will, or be spied on itself as the victim of a cyber operation without its knowledge, or be used misguidedly as a tool of attack against its own customers.”

BSI specifically warns against the possibility of anti-virus software being disabled by a malicious party prior to an attack.

“If computer security products and, in particular, anti-virus software were to be disabled without preparation, they could be left defenseless against attacks from the Internet,” he says.

A Kaspersky spokesperson responded to the BSI warning, saying it was a political move and not based on a technical evaluation of its products.

“Kaspersky is a private, global cybersecurity company, and as a private company, Kaspersky has no connection with the Russian government or any other government,” the spokesperson said, adding that the company had moved its processing infrastructure data in Switzerland.

“We assure our partners and customers of the quality and integrity of our products and will work with BSI to clarify the decision and address any concerns raised by BSI or other regulators.”

The US banned government agencies from using Kaspersky solutions in 2017, with the UK also banning their use in sensitive systems. The European Parliament followed suit in 2018, calling the company’s software “malicious” because of the company’s alleged link to Russian intelligence.

The company’s founder Eugene Kaspersky (pictured) came under fire from members of the security community earlier this month when he took a neutral stance on the conflict in Ukraine. Its critics have said that staying silent on the issue means indirectly supporting the Russian government – ​​something Moscow-headquartered Kaspersky might feel compelled to do.

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