Europe Considers Following Trump’s Example of Banning Moscow-Based Kaspersky

Rafia Shaikh
Kaspersky russia
Interpol earlier: US banning Kaspersky is a sign of Balkanisation in cybersecurity

There may not be any conclusive evidence available for the public, but the governments continue to consider putting a ban on the use of Russia based Kaspersky products. The popular antivirus maker recently announced shifting some of its core functions and data storage programs to Switzerland under its new transparency program. However, if the latest EU policy vote is any indication, this hasn't worked out for the cybersecurity company.

According to local reports, the European Parliament (MEPs) in Strasbourg, France will decide on various cybersecurity regulations, including a vote on a potential ban of the use of malicious software. This isn't going to be a law as it's more of a policy document, but the document does mention that it will consider all malicious programs "that have been confirmed as malicious, such as Kaspersky Lab."

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76. Calls on the EU to perform a comprehensive review of software, IT and communications equipment and infrastructure used in the institutions in order to exclude potentially dangerous programmes and devices, and to ban the ones that have been confirmed as malicious, such as Kaspersky Lab

Mentions Kaspersky Lab as "confirmed" to be malicious

While there were reports that the Israeli spies provided evidence to their American peers over how Russian spies were using Kaspersky products to look for data on US contractors, so far no evidence has been made available.

According to BleepingComputer, the motion is to establish general guidelines for an EU-wide strategy on cyber defense. However, its use of Kaspersky Lab products "confirmed" to be malicious is drawing criticism. "The wording ('confirmed') is interesting, but to fully appreciate it you need to be aware this report has its origins in the Foreign Affairs Committee where words like that matter," Lukasz Olejnik, an independent cybersecurity and privacy policy advisor, told the paper.

"However, in context of 'cyber-activity', the wording also has a specific meaning in technology context. So you may have an impression of a deep insight. But more likely, it may be as simple as a reactive response to public press reports."

Whether this is a reaction to public opinion or pressure from the US that continues to push back against the Russian AV maker isn't known. The country is itself facing criticism itself over creating borders in technology and cybersecurity, a critical industry, by banning Kaspersky and potentially other companies, including Huawei.

In its defense, the country says it has the right to take preventive actions against perceived threats even if these actions carry adverse consequences for some third-party companies.

In response to the US ban, Kaspersky had said that the Trump administration simply wanted "to be seen as reacting to the apparent Russian interference in the 2016 presidential elections." Eugene Kaspersky tweeted over the consideration of Kaspersky ban in the EU: "Why ban the company protecting Europeans from 320K malicious threats a day? A backwards step voted on this week in @Europarl_EN weakening #cybersecurity across the EU."

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