Canada bans WeChat and Kaspersky apps on government-issued mobile devices

Pierluigi Paganini October 31, 2023

Canada banned the Chinese messaging app WeChat and Kaspersky antivirus on government mobile devices due to privacy and security risks.

The Government of Canada announced a ban on the use of the WeChat and Kaspersky applications on government-issued mobile devices due to privacy and security risks.

The ban will be effective starting from October 30, 2023, after this date, the apps will be uninstalled from the devices and users will be blocked from downloading the apps.

“The Chief Information Officer of Canada determined that WeChat and Kaspersky suite of applications present an unacceptable level of risk to privacy and security. On a mobile device, the WeChat and Kaspersky applications data collection methods provide considerable access to the device’s contents.” reads the press release published by the Treasury Board of Canada Secretariat. “Users of these devices will also be blocked from downloading the applications in the future.”

The President of the Treasury Board, Anita Anand, pointed out that the Government has no evidence that its information has been compromised.

The government experts warn of considerable access to the device’s contents that both applications have.

“We are taking a risk-based approach to cyber security by removing access to these applications on government mobile devices. The Government of Canada continuously works to safeguard our information systems and networks to ensure the privacy and protection of government information. We will continue to regularly monitor potential cyber threats and take immediate action when needed.” said Anita Anand, President of the Treasury Board.

“The decision to remove and block the WeChat and the Kaspersky applications was made to ensure that government of Canada networks and data remain secure and protected and are in line with the approach of our international partners,” Anand concluded.

In March 2023, Canada announced the ban of the popular Chinese video-sharing app TikTok from the mobile devices of its employees over security concerns.

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Pierluigi Paganini

(SecurityAffairs – hacking, Canada)

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