What should you do?
Today, the German BSI, Bundesamt für Sicherheid in der Informationstechnik, issued a warning to stop using antivirus software from Russian manufacturer Kaspersky. The BSI recommends replacing programs from Kaspersky’s antivirus software portfolio with alternative products.
Antivirus software, including its real-time-capable cloud services, has extensive system privileges and must maintain a permanent, encrypted, and unverifiable connection to the manufacturer’s servers (at least for updates) because of the system. Therefore, confidence in a manufacturer’s reliability and self-protection and its authentic ability to act is crucial to the safe use of such systems. When in doubt about the reliability of the manufacturer, virus protection software poses a particular risk to an IT infrastructure that needs to be protected.
Why do they communicate this advice?
The actions of military and/or intelligence services in Russia and Russia’s threats against the EU, NATO and the Federal Republic of Germany in the course of the current armed conflict carry a significant risk of a successful IT attack. A Russian IT manufacturer could carry out offensive operations itself, be forced against its will to attack target systems, or be spied on without its knowledge as a victim of a cyber operation, or be used as a tool to attack its own customers.
All users of Kaspersky antivirus software may be affected by such actions. Especially companies and governments with special security interests and operators of vital infrastructures are at risk. Anyone can seek advice from the BSI or the competent constitutional protection authorities.
Businesses and other organizations must carefully plan and implement the replacement of critical parts of their IT security infrastructure. If IT security products and in particular antivirus software were disabled without preparation, one could be vulnerable to attacks from the Internet. Switching to other products involves temporary losses in comfort, functionality and safety. The BSI recommends conducting an individual assessment and consideration of the current situation and, if necessary, consulting IT security service providers certified by the BSI.
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