Russian Kaspersky antivirus software could be used by Kremlin to hack into computers, governments warn

Anti-virus software could be particularly sensitive because of their ‘high level of invasiveness’

Adam Smith
Monday 21 March 2022 15:01
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Russia-based cybersecurity company Kaspersky could be subject to sanctions by the Italian government due to fears that the Kremlin could use its programs to hack websites.

Franco Gabrielli, the state undersecretary for security, said last week that the government was working to let state bodies use other software.

One source said that public administrations could replace all software the government believes could be dangerous, without facing any penalties.

Another told Reuters that the rules could be approved in the week, but that seems to have not yet happened.

“We have received the request from the Italian DPA (GPDP) and are ready to communicate with the agency on any questions or concerns they may have”, a Kaspersky spokesperson told The Independent.

The company also said that it had “great concern” over the situation.

"We hope that this attitude will not lead to the implementation of illiberal legislation that would primarily affect our Italian partners, families and citizens," a spokesperson is also quoted as saying, under fear that they could suffer from decisions based on geopolitical motivations rather than security ones.

The company also added that it was a private organisation without ties to the government. Italy’s cybersecurity agency has said there is no evidence that Russian products have been compromised since the invasion of Ukraine on 24 February, but that anti-virus software could be particularly sensitive because of their “high level of invasiveness”.

Elsewhere in Europe, the German cyber security agency has claimed that Kaspersky’s anti-virus software could pose a serious risk if it is used by Russian government agents to hack IT systems.

It also said this could happen without its knowledge. Kaspersky reiterated its individuality from the Kremlin, and said it was in contact with the agency.

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