The German BSI agency recommends replacing Kaspersky antivirus software

Pierluigi Paganini March 15, 2022

German Federal Office for Information Security agency, also known as BSI, recommends consumers not to use Kaspersky anti-virus software.

The German Federal Office for Information Security agency, aka BSI, recommends consumers uninstall Kaspersky anti-virus software. The Agency warns the cybersecurity firm could be implicated in hacking attacks during the ongoing Russian invasion of Ukraine.

According to §7 BSI law, the BSI warns against the use of Kaspersky Antivirus and recommends replacing it asap with defense solutions from other vendors.

“The Federal Office for Information Security (BSI) warns according to §7BSIlaw before using virus protection software from the Russian manufacturer Kaspersky. the BSI recommends replacing applications from Kaspersky’s virus protection software portfolio with alternative products.” reads the BSI announcement.

The alert pointed out that antivirus software operates with high privileges on machines and if compromised could allow an attacker to take over them. BSI remarks that the trust in the reliability and self-protection of a manufacturer as well as his authentic ability to act is crucial for the safe use of any defense software. The doubts about the reliability of the manufacturer, lead the agency in considering the antivirus protection offered by the vendor risky for the IT infrastructure that uses it.

BSI warns of potential offensive cyber operations that can be conducted with the support of a Russian IT manufacturer, it also explains that the vendor could be forced to conduct attacks or be exploited for espionage purposes without its knowledge.

The message is clear, companies and other organizations should carefully plan and implement the replacement of essential components of their IT security infrastructure.

The German agency also warns of the risks associated with a replacement without preparation that could expose organizations to cyber attacks due to temporary losses in comfort, functionality and safety. 

The United States banned government agencies from using Kaspersky defense solutions since 2017, The company rejected any allegation and also clarified that Russian policies and laws are applied to telecoms and ISPs, not security firms like Kaspersky.

In June 2018, the European Parliament passed a resolution that classifies the security firm’s software as “malicious” due to the alleged link of the company with Russian intelligence.

Some European states, including the UK, the Netherlands, and Lithuania also excluded the software of the Russian firm on sensitive systems.

German authorities linked multiple attacks against Bundestag to Russia, in 2015 a sophisticated attack paralized the lower house of parliament.

In October 2020, the Council of the European Union announced sanctions imposed on Russian military intelligence officers, belonging to the 85th Main Centre for Special Services (GTsSS), for their role in the 2015 attack on the German Federal Parliament (Deutscher Bundestag).

In March 2021, several members of the German Parliament (Bundestag) and other members of the state parliament were hit by a targeted attack allegedly launched by Russia-linked hackers.

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Pierluigi Paganini

(SecurityAffairs – hacking, BSI)

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