WeChat & Kaspersky Have Been Banned On Canadian Government Devices

Citing security concerns, the Canadian Government has announced that WeChat and Kaspersky have both been banned on Canadian Government devices:

Effective October 30, 2023, the WeChat and Kaspersky suite of applications will be removed from government-issued mobile devices. Users of these devices will also be blocked from downloading the applications in the future.

The Chief Information Officer of Canada determined that WeChat and Kaspersky suite of applications present an unacceptable level of risk to privacy and security. On a mobile device, the WeChat and Kaspersky applications data collection methods provide considerable access to the device’s contents.

The decision to remove and block the WeChat and the Kaspersky applications was made to ensure that Government of Canada networks and data remain secure and protected and are in line with the approach of our international partners.

While the risks of using these applications are clear, we have no evidence that government information has been compromised.

Kaspersky didn’t waste any time in responding to this:

Kaspersky is disappointed with the decision by the Treasury Board of Canada Secretariat to prohibit the use of Kaspersky applications on government-issued mobile devices. This decision comes as a surprise, was made without any warning or opportunity for engagement by Kaspersky on the Canadian government’s underlying concerns, and is not based on any technical assessment of Kaspersky products – which the company continuously advocates for – but instead seems to be made on political grounds. 

I have not seen any reaction from WeChat. But I would imagine that they aren’t happy either. And I expect that there will be additional reaction coming from Russia as Kaspersky is a Russian company, and from China as WeChat is Chinese.

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