Barclays gave same software to 2m customers for free
British spy agency reportedly fears that anti-virus software offered by Barclays to more than 2m customers may be being used as an intelligence-gathering tool by the Russian government.
In a report in Financial Times today, a senior Whitehall official told that British digital surveillance agency GCHQ has had concerns regarding the distribution of software from Kaspersky Lab in the UK.
Moscow-based Kaspersky is one of the world’s most successful computer security companies. However, its founder Eugene Kaspersky is a former KGB-trained intelligence expert for the Soviet Union and GCHQ suspects that the software may have been exploited by Vladimir Putin’s Federal Security Service to snoop on sensitive foreign targets.
Barclays, which has offered free subscriptions of the software to users of its online banking services since 2008, is now seeking to end its arrangement with Kaspersky for commercial reasons and has stated that this move has no connection with GCHQ’s concerns.
Both Barclays and GCHQ have stated that neither organisation has been in contact with the other about any potential breaches.
A Barclays spokesman corroborated: ‘We have never received any advice or guidance from GCHQ or the National Cyber Security Centre in relation to Kaspersky.’
A company spokesman told the Financial Times: ‘No credible evidence has been presented publicly by anyone or any organisation.The accusations of any inappropriate ties with the Russian government are based on false allegations and inaccurate assumptions, including the claims about Russian regulations and policies impacting the company.’