Not just Kaspersky, here's how the UK tugs on Russian technologies

by Chiara Rossi

The UK's National Cyber Security Center has published an updated guide on the use by Russian-origin technology and services organizations

The UK has updated the posture regarding the use of Russian technologies. "We have no evidence that the Russian state intends to bribe Russian commercial products and services to cause harm to UK interests, but the absence of evidence is not proof of absence." This is what the National Cyber Security Center (NCSC), part of the British intelligence agency, wrote in a blog post on Tuesday. Therefore, organizations using Russian-related software or products should consider the risk associated with the use of such technologies after the Russian invasion of Ukraine. "Organizations involved in critical infrastructure, the public sector and high-profile organizations that, if compromised, could represent what the NCSC describes as a" public relations victory "for Russia," reads the National Cyber post. Security Center. Therefore "they are invited to weigh the risks of using software and technology products related to Russia". Therefore neither a ban, nor an alarm by the NCSC, but an invitation to be cautious regarding the use of Russian technologies. Meanwhile, the crackdown on Russian tech companies intensifies. First of all Kaspersky, the company that supplies the well-known Moscow-based antivirus. Last week, the US Federal Communications Commission (FCC) placed Russian antivirus software company Kaspersky on its so-called Covered List, a list of companies that pose a national security threat. On March 18, the Italian Council of Ministers launched measures to strengthen the IT security of the Public Administration, deciding to replace all software purchased from Russian companies. Alarm also from the Bsi, the German Federal Agency for Security in Technical Information, which recommends "replacing the Kaspersky antivirus with alternative products". Kaspersky Lab has described these measures as political.

THE GUIDANCE OF THE UK CYBER AGENCY As the National Cyber Security Center recalls, "Russian law already includes legal obligations for companies to assist the Russian Federal Security Service (FSB) and the pressure to do so could increase in wartime". “If you are more likely to be a target for the Russian state due to what's going on, then it would be prudent to consider your addiction to all kinds of Russian technology products or services, including but not limited to cloud-enabled products such as (antivirus software) ”, reads the post. THE CONSEQUENCES OF THE WAR IN UKRAINE Compared to the war in Ukraine, "This conflict has changed the world order and the increased risk and uncertainty will not disappear soon," the NCSC wrote. "However, the best thing to do is make plans, make sure the systems are as resilient as they are practical, and have good recovery plans." THE 2017 GUIDANCE Therefore, the National Cyber Security Center recalls that "in 2017 we published a blog describing our approach to understanding the risks associated with the use of" cloud-enabled products "in which the supply chain included hostile states, such as Russia. We explained the risks and advised the government's national security departments to make sure they didn't use Russian products, such as Kaspersky antivirus (AV). We also said that for most people and businesses, the greatest risks remain: not keeping the software up to date; poor management of network configuration and poor credential management ". AND ABOUT KASPERSKY ... Returning to the March 29 warning, the NCSC did not specifically warn against Kaspersky Lab software, but warned that its users may have to switch antivirus providers if Kaspersky Lab itself were to be sanctioned. Finally, the NCSC leaves the "informed" choice to the reader. “You can choose to proactively remove Russian products and services, wait until the contract expires (or your next technology update), or do so in response to some geopolitical event. Alternatively, you can choose to live with the risk, ”wrote Ian Levy, Technical Director of the National Cyber Security Center. THE RECOMMENDATIONS OF THE NCSC “Whatever you choose, remember that cybersecurity, even in a time of global turmoil, remains a balance of different risks. Rushing to change a product that is deeply rooted in your business could end up causing the very damage you are trying to prevent, ”the NCSC director warned. “However, the best thing to do is make plans, make sure your systems are as resilient as they are practical, and have good recovery plans. We strongly recommend that: and companies follow our guide on what to do when the threat escalates. People follow the NCSC Cyber Aware guide. And of course, if the situation or our understanding justifies it, we will update our guide and keep you up to date, "concludes the UK cyber agency.

Russian technologies