15 March 2022

German security watchdog advises against using Kaspersky antivirus due to risk of Russian cyber attacks


German security watchdog advises against using Kaspersky antivirus due to risk of Russian cyber attacks

Germany’s computer and communication security agency has issued a warning urging German customers not to use antivirus software made by Moscow-based cybersecurity and antivirus provider Kaspersky due to the risk of Russian cyberattacks.

In an alert issued Tuesday the Federal Office for Information Security (BSI) urged customers to replace Kaspersky products with alternative solutions from non-Russian vendors.

According to the agency, antivirus software has extensive system authorizations and must maintain a permanent connection to the manufacturer's servers.

“The actions of military and/or intelligence forces in Russia and the threats made by Russia against the EU, NATO and the Federal Republic of Germany in the course of the current military conflict are associated with a considerable risk of a successful IT attack. A Russian IT manufacturer can itself carry out offensive operations, can be forced to attack target systems against its will, or be itself spied on as a victim of a cyber operation without its knowledge, or be misused as a tool for attacks against its own customers,” the agency warned.

“All users of antivirus software can be affected by such operations. Companies and authorities with special security interests and operators of critical infrastructures are particularly at risk,” it added.

Germany is not the only country that expressed such fears. Since 2017, the United States government agencies have been banned from using Kaspersky software. In 2018, the Netherlands imposed a similar restriction.

Kaspersky has always rejected accusations that it works with the Kremlin. However, the allegations that Kaspersky has ties to the Russian government were ignited in March 2022 after the company's controversial response to Russia's invasion of Ukraine.

“We welcome the start of negotiations to resolve the current situation in Ukraine and hope that they will lead to a cessation of hostilities and a compromise. We believe that peaceful dialogue is the only possible instrument for resolving conflicts. War isn’t good for anyone,” Eugene Kaspersky, CEO of Kaspersky, wrote at the time, without mentioning Russia, or Ukraine, or the company’s stance on Russia-Ukraine war.

Cybersecurity Help’s statement on the critical situation in Ukraine

On February 24, people in many cities and towns across Ukraine woke up to the sounds of explosions and artillery fire, as the Russian Federation launched a full-scale invasion of the country. Such actions are unacceptable, political ambitions of any man aren’t worth of blood, tears, and destruction of millions of lives. We give our full support to the Ukrainian people in these hard times. No more war! Слава Україні!


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