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Italy warns against use of Russian software, urges diversification

Following the invasion of Ukraine, Italy warned on Tuesday that using computer software made in Russia could pose a "technological risk."

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Following the invasion of Ukraine, Italy warned on Tuesday that using computer software made in Russia could pose a “technological risk.”

According to Italy’s cybersecurity experts, users of Russian software should “diversify” their security products, such as antivirus solutions, firewalls, email and cloud services protection, and other security services to defend their systems from hacking.

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Moreover, while noting that there had been no evidence of a drop in the quality of technological products and services supplied by Russian firms to date, the agency still urged caution without naming specific firms.

Italy’s computer security incident response team, a part of the national cybersecurity agency, wrote, “In such a growing level of international conflict, it is crucial to re-evaluate the threat, taking into account the changed scenario and considering the consequent adoption of mitigation steps.”

Furthermore, Italy’s warning came the same day after Germany’s cybersecurity office advised consumers to avoid Kaspersky’s antivirus software, saying that it could be implicated in hacking attempts, deliberately or unwillingly.

Cyber and military experts are concerned that Russia’s invasion of Ukraine might spark a series of cyberattacks, with severe ramifications for civilians in both countries and around the world.

Italy’s agency said it was possible that ongoing events could jeopardise the “reliability and effectiveness” of Russian computer security technologies. The conflict could, for example, affect suppliers’ ability to “ensure adequate support for their products and services.”

The agency also stated that users should perform an urgent “risk analysis of cybersecurity solutions”.

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The German Federal Office for Information Security (BSI) also stated yesterday that a cyberattack had hit the German subsidiary of Russian energy giant Rosneft. The hacker group Anonymous claimed responsibility.

The BSI had warned of a heightened risk of cyberattacks and an “increased threat situation for Germany” after the Russian invasion of Ukraine, advising businesses to increase and strengthen their IT security measures.

In 2017, the US banned government agencies from using Kaspersky software, which denies accusations it works with the Kremlin.

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