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Kaspersky pulls Europol support after MEPs brand its software “malicious”

Kaspersky Lab has put its partnership with Europol on pause after MEPs passed a motion describing the firm’s software as malicious and calling for a ban on its use in EU institutions.

The Moscow-based company has assisted Europol with cyber investigations for more than 20 years. But Eugene Kaspersky has now announced on Twitter that his firm will be freezing cooperation with the police force and all other EU agencies.

“The way we conducted public-private partnership is unfortunately ceased until the withdraw [sic] of the European Parliament decision,” Kaspersky tweeted.

The motion includes a line calling for a review of IT to “exclude potentially dangerous programmes” and to ban those “confirmed as malicious, such as Kaspersky Lab”. The line was added by Anna Fotyga, an MEP and chair of the subcommittee on security and defence.

The US and UK have restricted government access to the firm’s software in recent months amid fears it could be exploited by Russia. The firm has strenuously denied the allegations on several occasions, noting that no evidence has been brought to light.

“The European Parliament voted on a report in which Polish representative, MEP Fotyga included an amendment referencing Kaspersky Lab which is based on untrue statements,” a Kaspersky spokesperson said. “Although this report has no legislative power it demonstrates a distinct lack of respect for the company which has been a firm friend of Europe in the fight against cybercrime.”

Alan Woodward, a professor of cyber security at the University of Surrey who advises Europol, described Kaspersky as a “very good friend to Europe” and criticised the European Parliament’s statement.

“You really do wonder sometimes whether security is paramount in these situations,” he told NS Tech. “Kaspersky is in the unfortunate position that it’s a Russian-based company. That seems to have been the main crime they committed.”

Kaspersky noted that the European Commission stated earlier this year it had “no indication” of “any danger associated” with its antivirus software.