Netherlands flag and Kasperksy Lab logo

The Dutch government will be phasing out the use of Kaspersky software products on government networks, according to a letter to parliament by Justice Minister Ferdinand Grapperhaus.

The "phase out" doesn't only target government networks, but also companies and organizations managing vital services and processes, as well.

Dutch officials fear Russian government involvement

Minister Grapperhaus justified the decision as a "precaution" in the context of today's political and cyber threat model.

More accurately, Dutch officials fear that Kaspersky, being a Russian company and operating out of Russia, may be vulnerable to influence from the local government.

The Minister has said that the Netherlands has been a target of Russia's cyber-espionage efforts in the past, albeit he did not point out specific operations or hacks.

"The Russian Federation has an active offensive cyber program, which among others, is focused on the Netherlands and Dutch
interests," Minister Grapperhaus wrote.

US and UK took similar steps

The decision to phase out Kaspersky software from government networks comes after a similar decision by US authorities last fall. US authorities accused the antivirus vendor of collaborating with Russian intelligence agencies. The company has vehemently denied all accusations.

The UK government didn't ban the product on government computers but warned agencies and private companies against the use of Kaspersky software on systems storing sensitive information.

The bans affected Kaspersky's reputation in the private sector. Best Buy and Office Depot pulled Kaspersky products off their stores' shelves, and Twitter banned the company from advertising on its network.

Earlier today, Kaspersky announced it was moving part of its infrastructure to a transparency center in Zurich, Switzerland. The antivirus vendor hopes to quell some fears of Russian government involvement in its business by moving its software assembly line and user data storage systems on neutral ground, where it can be audited and vouched for by independent third-parties.

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