The UK's National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC) has revealed that it has never certified Kaspersky's security software.
"The NCSC certifies products through a range of initiatives, and vendors apply to have their products certified via one of our accredited lab partners," the organisation said in a short statement to Reuters today.
It continued: "We certify products through a range of initiatives, but the NCSC has never had products listed from Kaspersky."
The certification process is used, for example, certify routers and other networking equipment deployed by BT and other network operators in the UK. Before the establishment of the NCSC, it was a function of the communications agency GCHQ.
But Kaspersky told V3 in a statement that the NCSC doesn't certify anti-virus software anyway.
It described the original story on Reuters as "extremely misleading" and added that, unlike the US General Services Administration (GSA), the NCSC doesn't mandate or ban certain IT products.
"The NCSC provides advice and guidance on how organisations can protect their networks. Its certification schemes do not currently cover always evolving anti-virus or anti-malware services," it added.
Adam Maskatiya, general manager at Kaspersky Lab, UK and Ireland, told V3: "The NCSC is not a regulator and they do not certify anti-virus products. We work closely with the public sector across the world and where required with regulatory and certification bodies."
The heightened interest in Kaspersky comes just a week after the GSA removed the company from two approved-purchasing lists.
That decision meant that government bodies in large swathes of the US public sector are barred from buying Kaspersky products, although they can continue using Kaspersky software that is already installed.
The GSA's priorities "are to ensure the integrity and security of US government systems and networks", a spokesperson told Reuters.
Kaspersky responded to the decision by claiming that it was caught in the crossfire of a US-Russia geopolitical battle. "Kaspersky Lab has no ties to any government, and the company has never helped, nor will help, any government in the world with its cyberespionage efforts," the company's press spokesperson told the RIA news agency.
The UK's NCSC was established as part of GCHQ in October 2016 following an announcement by the Chancellor in November 2015.
At the time, the government said that it would "bring the UK's cyber expertise together to transform how the UK tackles cyber security issues".
The statement continued: "It will be the authoritative voice on information security in the UK… Our objectives are to raise awareness of government intent; undertake genuine dialogue that shapes service delivery; demonstrate serious commitment to listen; and develop sustainable engagement channels."
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