Russia’s invasion of Ukraine caused a growing concern over the cybersecurity risks around Kaspersky. As a result, western governments (including in Fort Myers) are warning against the use of Kaspersky due to fears of its trustworthiness.
Some governments have banned Kaspersky products because they threaten their national security. The fears stem from the Russian government’s ability to exploit the cybersecurity company’s network.
The US Warns against the Use of Kaspersky Software
According to Reuters, sources close to the US government said Washington started privately warning American companies against Kaspersky a day after the Russian invasion of Ukraine. The government is concerned that Moscow could manipulate the cybersecurity company’s software or compromise their systems to cause harm and gain access to sensitive information.
Washington’s classified briefings with the American companies were part of a broader strategy to prepare critical infrastructure providers such as energy, telecoms, and water for potential Russian intrusions.
US president Joe Biden led other western countries to impose some of the toughest sanctions against Russia for its attack on Ukraine. According to the president, the sanctions could result in a backlash from Russia, including cyber disruptions. However, the white house did not offer specifics.
Why is Kaspersky a National Security Threat?
A senior US official said the Ukraine conflict changed the US’s risk calculation of Kaspersky.
Eugene Kaspersky founded the company and grew it into one of the leading global cybersecurity firms and popular antivirus software makers. The company’s headquarters are in Moscow.
US officials claim Eugene Kaspersky was a Russian intelligence officer. According to the company website, Eugene attended the Institute of Cryptography, Telecommunications, and Computer Science, previously under KGB administration. In his military service, Eugene worked as a software engineer.
The US believes the Kremlin could coerce Kaspersky’s Russian-based staff into providing and helping establish remote access to its western customers’ computers.
On March 25, 2022, the FCC (Federal Communications Commission) added the company to its list of communications service and equipment providers the US deems threats to its national security.
In 2017, the Trump administration also banned Kaspersky from government systems after warning numerous companies against using the software in 2017 and 2018. Similarly, US security agencies conducted cybersecurity briefings against the company.
Following the Trump administration’s decision, Kaspersky opened transparency centers where its partners could review its code for malicious activity. In addition, it aimed to build trust with customers following the US accusations. Kaspersky also moved some of its core processes to Switzerland, including customer data storage and processing.
However, the US said the Global Transparency and Collaboration initiative failed to address its concerns. Moscow software engineers still handle the software updates, which is where the risk comes. Also, malicious actors can send commands through the updaters from Russia.
How the Risk Occurs
Antivirus software needs deep access to a computer for its antivirus tools to scan, identify, and remove malware and harmful files. In addition, the software maintains a permanent connection to manufacturers’ servers, used for virus definition and application updates.
Kaspersky’s antivirus products are not different. Kaspersky Total Security and Kaspersky Internet Security monitor devices in real-time and send files from computers back to Kaspersky’s servers for analysis. They also push updates from remote servers.
Switching Cybersecurity Companies
In light of the risk of cyber warfare, caution is always the best option. Fortunately, switching cybersecurity companies is not a complicated process. You first need to uninstall Kaspersky applications from your devices. Then, after removing the antivirus software, you need to replace it with another program such as Sophos. Island IT Pros uses Sophos and can set this up for you.
Sophos is an industry-leading security suite offering the best protection in the industry. It is the number one rated endpoint protection software whose combined threat detection and response keeps data safe from advanced attacks and malware. Additionally, Sophos manages everything through a trusted cloud-native security platform.
Sophos easily replaces Kaspersky, allowing global teams to achieve superior cybersecurity outcomes.
Benefits of Sophos vs. Kaspersky
Sophos offers superior protection and easier management than other cybersecurity software like Kaspersky. Both Sophos and Kaspersky have behavioral ransomware protection and rollback. Sophos’s specific anti-ransomware technology detects file and boot record ransomware behavior before rolling back affected files.
However, Sophos has the following superior features and benefits over Kaspersky:
- Deep learning: Sophos’ industry-leading AI team constantly innovates machine learning to improve investigation efficiency and detect threats
- Exploit prevention: Sophos stops over three dozen exploit prevention techniques
- Data loss prevention: Sophos offers integrated data loss prevention at no additional cost
- Full MDR service: Provides 24/7/365 threat hunting, detection, and response
- Integrated XDR: It enables expert analysts to hunt for threats and take action against them
- Adaptive cybersecurity ecosystem: Sophos endpoint enables customers to integrate and streamline their defenses
- Multi-platform support: It provides EDR/XDR, device control, tamper protection, and app control across Windows and Mac devices
- Comprehensive cloud management: Sophos manages all its next-generation endpoints via a unified cloud-native management platform
Sophos is a proud endpoint protection platform (EPP) Gartner Peer Insights™ Customer’s Choice in all its deployment regions.
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