Barclays drops Kaspersky as ‘security precaution’
Written by Chris Lemmon
Barclays has stopped offering free anti-virus software from Russian firm Kaspersky to new banking customers, following a warning from the UK National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC) that using it could “harm national security”.
The NCSC has contacted all government departments warning that Russian-based security software could be exploited by the Kremlin and should not be used in systems containing information that could harm national security if it was accessed.
The US government banned the Kaspersky’s anti-virus software from its networks earlier this year, following concerns that the firm had close ties to Moscow’s intelligence agencies and its software could be used for Russian spying.
Ciaran Martin, director of the NCSC, said in a publicly released letter that the agency is now in talks with Kaspersky Lab to develop a system for reviewing its products for use in the UK. He said: “We are in discussions with Kaspersky Lab... about whether we can develop a framework that we and others can independently verify.”
In a statement issued to its 290,000 online banking customers that use Kaspersky, Barclays said: “The UK government has been advised to remove any Russian products from all highly sensitive systems classified as secret or above. We've made the precautionary decision to no longer offer Kaspersky software to new users.
“However, there's nothing to suggest that customers need to stop using Kaspersky. At this stage there is no action for you to take. It's important that you continue to protect yourself with anti-virus software.”
Responding to Barclays decision, Kaspersky told FStech: “We are disappointed Barclays has decided to discontinue offering Kaspersky Lab anti-virus to new customers. It’s very important to note that the NCSC is not encouraging consumers or businesses against using Kaspersky Lab software.”