The government has issued a warning over Russian anti-virus software

Government departments have been warned against using antivirus software made by tech firms with links to Russian Federation amid growing concerns over national security.

On Friday, the UK's National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC) issued a new guidance for how the country's various ministries should closely manage their use of antivirus software supplied by a foreign nation, such as Russia's Kaspersky Lab.

The warning comes after Russian Federation was accused of interfering in the 2016 USA election and there were also suggestions it may have tried to do the same in the Brexit referendum. Martin said last month that Russian hackers had targeted the U.K.'s media, telecommunications and energy sectors in the past year. Martin goes on to explain that his center is "in discussions with Kaspersky Lab", to develop additional, independently verifiable measures to ensure that data from the United Kingdom isn't transmitted to Russian government.

Prime Minister Theresa May said last month that Russian Federation was "weaponizing information" and meddling in elections to undermine the worldwide order.

But Mr Martin did add the main threat to the United Kingdom was likely to come from cyber criminals rather than the Russian state. It said it looked forward to working with the NCSC.

"This includes espionage, disruption and influence operations".

In a letter dated Friday to civil service chiefs, he said Russian Federation seeks "to target United Kingdom central government and the U.K.'s critical national infrastructure".

"However, the overwhelming majority of United Kingdom individuals and organisations are not being actively targeted by the Russian state, and are far more likely to be targeted by cyber criminals". He advised that "a Russia-based provider should never be used" for systems that deal with issues related to national security.

Kaspersky Lab has denied allegations about its anti-virus products and its ties to the Russian government.

"There's nearly no installed base of Kaspersky AV in central government", he said. He goes on to note that "there's nearly no installed base of Kaspersky AV in central government", and that beyond that small existing number, "we see no compelling case at present to extend", to the general public.

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