Barclays Bank has followed the UK government in axing Kaspersky security products. The British banking group has removed Kaspersky’s free anti-virus product from its customer offerings. It comes after the UK government banned the use of Kaspersky on its internal systems following a warning about the Russian security software.
The bank emailed 290,000 online banking customers on Saturday to say the move was a ‘precautionary decision’. UK cyber-security chiefs are warning government departments not to use software from Russian companies for systems relating to national security.
A spokesman for Kaspersky said it was ‘disappointed’ that Barclays had discontinued its offer to new customers and that there was ‘no reason’ to stop using the firm’s products.
The National Cyber Security Centre – the UK’s authority on cyber security and part of GCHQ claims that the Russian security software could be exploited by the Kremlin. But officials stressed they were not saying members of the public or companies should stop using Kaspersky products, which are used by about 400 million people globally.
In a statement, Barclays said: "Following the information that’s been shared in the news we will no longer be offering Kasperky’s free service. The UK government has been advised… to remove any Russian products from all highly sensitive systems classified as secret or above. We’ve made the precautionary decision to no longer offer Kaspersky software to new users. However, there’s nothing to suggest that customers need to stop using Kaspersky. At this stage there is no action for you to take. It’s important that you continue to protect yourself with anti-virus software."
Kaspersky has regularly had to deny its links to the Kremlin, especially in the US under Donald Trump’s administration.