There has been a recent spate of high-profile data breaches over the last few months, with many people wondering what it could mean for them personally. We checked in to find out exactly how worried they should be and whether there is much we can do about this situation.

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Should You Be Worried? Here Is What We Know So Far

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On Tuesday, the German cyber security watchdog BSI warned users not to use Kaspersky anti-virus software. The agency warned that, in the wake of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, the corporation may be used in hacking efforts.

The Federal Cyber Security Authority stated in a statement that Russia’s conflict in Ukraine and threats to NATO and the EU pose a “high danger of a successful cyber-attack.”

According to the CIA, Russian authorities may compel Kaspersky to hack networks overseas, or agents could discreetly utilize its systems to execute cyberattacks without its knowledge. Although the BSI did not outright ban Kaspersky software, it urged enterprises to replace it with non-Russian alternatives.

“A Russian IT manufacturer may conduct out offensive operations against its own customers, be compelled to assault target systems without its will, be spied on as a victim of a cyber operation without its knowledge, or be used as a weapon for attacks against its own customers.” It further said that anti-virus software, such as Kaspersky’s, has extensive system access and is required to maintain a constant, encrypted, and non-verifiable connection to the manufacturer’s servers. “Companies and authorities with unique security interests, as well as operators of vital infrastructures,” the statement said.

The Reaction of Kaspersky

Kaspersky, on the other hand, denied any link between the corporation and the Russian government.

“We feel this decision is being made on political reasons rather than a technical review of Kaspersky products, which we have always campaigned for with the BSI and throughout Europe,” said Stefan Rojacher, the firm’s European communications head.

“Kaspersky is a private worldwide cybersecurity organization that has no links to the Russian government or any other government,” he continued.

The warning comes as the Russian army approaches Kyiv, Ukraine’s capital, as part of the Kremlin’s invasion of Ukraine.

While customers are unlikely to be directly targeted in the event of an attack, they may be victims of “collateral” harm. As a result, organizations and people that use or intend to employ anti-virus software should take this warning seriously.

Fortunately, there is a plethora of trustworthy anti-virus software on the market. There are various possibilities in this post on the finest open-source anti-virus software options that might serve as solid alternatives.

Ties between Kaspersky and the Kremlin

This isn’t the first time Kaspersky’s Russian origins have gotten the company’s notice.

The US Department of Homeland Security issued an order in 2017 instructing government departments and federal agencies to “remove and discontinue current and future usage” of Kaspersky software, citing “the hazards offered by Kaspersky-branded products” as rationale.

In addition, an earlier Bloomberg Businessweek story on Kaspersky’s connections to Russia said that the business had “developed security technologies at the agency’s request and worked on several projects Kaspersky knew would be humiliating if made public,” according to the report.

In 2018, the European Parliament approved a resolution designating the company’s software and goods as “malicious” due to their ties to Russian intelligence.

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