In a strange development, Lithuania has said that software from Kaspersky Lab is a threat to its national security and hence they will not be using any of the security software developed by the Moscow-based company on computers that hold sensitive information.
The Lithuanian government said it will be removing Kaspersky Lab software from all computers that are on critical infrastructure such as energy, finance or transport including those run by private companies. Government agencies can only continue running it if their computers are not deemed sensitive by the cyber-security agency.
While Kaspersky Lab has already faced such a ban in one of the largest markets in the world – US – the latest ban in Lithuania is a blow none the less. Kaspersky’s antivirus software was banned from US government networks this year because of concerns the company has close ties to intelligence agencies in Moscow and that its software could be used to enable Russian spying.
Antivirus software made by Russian companies are already under the radar in Britain as well with Britain’s main cyber-security agency sending out a warning to the British government agencies to avoid using antivirus software from Russian companies.
The Lithuanian government said in a statement Kaspersky Labs software was “a potential threat to… national security”.
“Information from computers using the software can leak into countries where we don’t want it to end up,” Rytis Rainys, deputy director at the state cyber-security agency told Reuters. “We drew on various sources for the conclusion, including information from our partners and intelligence sources.”
Kaspersky Labs was not immediately available for a comment.
The company has repeatedly denied it has ties to any government and said it would not help a government with cyberespionage. It also says it is a scapegoat given tension between Washington and Moscow.