Italy to limit the use of Russian anti-virus software in the public sector

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In the aftermath of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, Italy’s government is planning to restrict the use of Russian anti-virus software in the public sector, fearing that Moscow may use the products to infiltrate vital websites, sources said.

On Tuesday, state undersecretary for security Franco Gabrielli told the Senate that the government was working on legislation that would allow state agencies to disable software made by Russia’s Kaspersky Lab.

The new guidelines would allow government agencies to replace all potentially harmful software without incurring fines.

According to a second source, the rule might be adopted this week.

Kaspersky’s Italian branch said it was observing the situation with “anxiety” and was particularly concerned about its staff, warning that they may be harmed by choices made on geopolitical rather than technological grounds.

In an email to Reuters, Kaspersky stated that the firm was privately owned and operated with no links to the Russian government. Since Russia’s invasion of Ukraine on February 24, Italy’s official cybersecurity agency released a recommendation saying there was no proof that items offered by Russian-linked enterprises had been affected. It did caution, though, that dangers needed to be reviewed in light of the escalating conflict, and that anti-virus software was especially vulnerable due to the “high level of invasiveness” of the systems it served.

The German cyber security agency cautioned Kaspersky software users earlier this week that it constituted a severe danger of a successful hacking attempt.

Formula One team Ferrari said on Thursday that its sponsorship relationship with Kaspersky had been canceled by mutual consent, indicating that Italy’s corporate world was also concerned about its links with the company. Ferrari’s usage of Kaspersky antivirus software is also being evaluated, according to a Ferrari representative.

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