The Government has been warned by Britain’s main cyber security agency not to use Russian anti-virus software.
Moscow-based security software maker Kaspersky Lab is the largest Russian software agency operating in the UK.
Director of the UK National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC), Ciaran Martin, said Russia has the intent “to target UK central Government and the UK’s critical national infrastructure”.
In a letter to Whitehall chiefs, he said Russian software should be avoided in systems containing information concerning national security.
Calling Russia a “highly capable cyber threat actor”, he said the country uses cyberspace for “espionage, disruption and influence operations”.
Mr Martin also said he was in talks with Kaspersky Lab to “develop a framework that we and others can independently verify”.
CEO of Kaspersky Lab, Eugene Kaspersky, has denied ties to the Russian government, even going as far as to say he would leave the country if he was ever asked to compromise his business.
Kaspersky Lab has said it is looking forward to working with the NCSC.
Speaking to Sky News in October, Mr Kaspersky said that while his company had a “strong relationship” with Russian cyber police, they never engaged in espionage activities.
He went on to say, that spying for the Kremlin “would simply kill our business”.
America’s department of homeland security banned Kaspersky products from being used on federal government systems earlier this year, following allegations of Russian interference in the presidential election.
In 2015, National Security Agency (NSA) hacking tools were found on a staffer’s home computer, leading to accusations that Kaspersky Lab was responsible for Russia’s Federal Security Service (FSB) stealing the information.