Subject: Dear Eugene Kaspersky, is my Anti-virus spying on me?
Monday 4th December 2017
So now the UK National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC) and Barclays Bank have apparently banned the use of Kaspersky Anti-Virus, with the USA booting them out months ago. As the Kremlin is now spying on me which Anti-Virus should I choose?
Firstly, it is worth looking closer at what the NCSC has stated "Whatever you do, don't panic. For example, we really don't want people doing things like ripping out Kaspersky software at large, as it makes little sense."
Why the warning then?
Anti-Malware is an essential mechanism in the fight against cybercrime and is a tool that I would recommend we continue to use, but to also bear in mind that this should not be the only defence that you use (see our many other articles on this topic).
Kaspersky Anti-Virus happens to be a fairly effective product and service and one that sits in the top performers across the globe. Further to this, the Kaspersky labs are very capable of their ability to hunt out cybercrime happenings and get to the bottom of who the perpetrators are and the effect that a hack might've had.
Recent press from the USA has suggested that Kaspersky has been spying on them and that's why the USA Government have completely stopped using their products and sullied their name. And this is despite very strong responses from Kaspersky that they've not entertained any relationships with Putin's regime and his apparent espionage attempts.
So this is about Russia spying on other nations?
Well, yes. The NCSC recent press release (December 2017) describing the risk about Kaspersky, is all about placing trust in the supply chain of your equipment, software and ICT suppliers. NCSC have indicated that the Russian state has a mission to spy against the UK (but not only the UK), and that the use of Russian supplied software in UK Government activities increases the risk to the UK in the case where that Russian supplier might've been affected (knowingly or otherwise) by tampering from the Russian state.
But this means they can still spy on me and I don't like that!
Spying is quite an emotive word and, although true, much of modern technology in society is "spying" to the same extent on people anyway yet we are quite content that Apple, Microsoft, Google, Amazon and many others gain details about our equipment, usage statistics, where we are, voice profiles etc.
The sort of information that a foreign state wants to gain is less about our bank details and credit card numbers, and more about military defences, foreign policy, critical national infrastructure, high-value individuals with significant influence and similar other big-ticket items.
So unless you fit into the above categories, are a lawyer representing major corporate takeovers or an accountant for Russian oligarchs owning football team then you're less likely to be of interest to the Russian state.
So why Barclays?
Barclays has been enabling customers to get Kaspersky software free as part of keeping them safe. They probably feel that it would be foolhardy to supply software to UK customers where there is now a warning that there is the risk of supply chain tampering from the Russian state involved.
Don't Panic - Keep Calm - Carry On
......(unless you fit into the above categories then seek some supply chain risk help)