The German Federal Office for Information Security (BSI) has warned users of Russian anti-virus software Kaspersky of potential dangers due to the ongoing conflict with Ukraine.
According to the BSI, due to the war, companies such as Kaspersky could be closely monitored by the Russian Government or even forced to launch cyber-attacks on their behalf.
“A Russian IT manufacturer can carry out offensive operations itself, be forced against its will to attack target systems, or be spied on as a victim of a cyber operation without its knowledge or as a tool for attacks against its own customers.”
Despite the allegations, the German cyber-security authority made no claims that there were any actual issues with Kaspersky’s products, only that the Russian-Ukrainian war and Russian threats towards the EU, NATO and Germany mean there is a risk involved in using the software. The BSI encourages users to swap to alternate products.
However, Kaspersky has responded to the claim in an interview with BBC News, saying that the warning was “made on political grounds” and that the Russian IT company had no connection to the Russian Government.
2017 saw US President Donald Trump pass laws banning Kasperky for government use. Similarly, in the same year, the UK’s National Cyber Security Centre warned all government departments not to use Kaspersky in areas relating to national security.
The BSI’s warning has had an extremely damaging affect on the Russian anti-virus company. Axel Hellmann, spokesperson for Entracht Frankfurt football club spoke to Bloomberg, stating that “We have notified Kaspersky management that we are terminating [our] sponsorship agreement effective immediately.”
“We very much regret the development”
Understandably frustrated, Kaspersky is looking to reach out to the BSI for reasoning behind their decision, which they believe was “not based on a technical assessment of Kaspersky products” and once again stated that it “does not have any ties to the Russian or any other government”.
“The security and integrity of our data services and engineering practices have been confirmed by independent third-party assessments”.
It is worth noting that Kaspersky’s data processing is now located in Switzerland and has been since 2018.
Eugene Kaspersky made a statement in regard to the conflict and their situation on twitter, and received harsh criticism in response.
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 (@e_kaspersky) March 1, 2022
Rik Ferguson, Vice President of Security Research at TrendMicro (a main competitor of Kaspersky) responded to the tweet saying “”Better to have stayed silent than to have called an invasion a ‘situation’ that requires a ‘compromise.”