Barclays follows United Kingdom government in axing Kaspersky products

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The National Cyber Security Centre - the UK's authority on cyber security and part of GCHQ claims that the Russian security software could be exploited by the Kremlin. Earlier this year the USA government banned its networks from using the software, amid concerns over links to Russian intelligence.

The UK's cyber security agency has issued as warning to government departments on the potential risks of using Russian antivirus or security software because of fears the Kremlin could use it to conduct espionage.

He added that it is possible for Russia to access information stored by government agencies and critical infrastructure firms and hence, agencies must not choose Kaspersky Lab products in case it is assessed that access to the information by the Russian state would be a risk to national security.

A spokesman for Kaspersky said it was "disappointed" that Barclays had discontinued its offer to new customers and that there was "no reason" to stop using the firm's products.

"The NCSC advises that Russian Federation is a highly capable cyber threat actor which uses cyber as a tool of statecraft", NCSC CEO Cieran Martin wrote in a letter to senior civil servants.

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In a letter dated Friday to civil service chiefs, he said Russian Federation seeks "to target United Kingdom central government and the U.K.'s critical national infrastructure".

Its detailed investigation of the incident in question revealed that the NSA contractor actually disabled Kaspersky Lab AV on his laptop after illegally taking his work home with him, as it had started to detect new NSA-developed malware. "We will be transparent about the outcome of those discussions with Kaspersky Lab and we will adjust our guidance if necessary in the light of any conclusions". The British banking group has removed Kaspersky's free anti-virus product from its customer offerings.

News reports have since linked Kaspersky software to an alleged theft of cybersecurity information from the U.S. National Security Agency.

'The Department is concerned about the ties between certain Kaspersky officials and Russian intelligence and other government agencies, and requirements under Russian law that allow Russian intelligence agencies to request or compel assistance from Kaspersky and to intercept communications transiting Russian networks.