Barclays Bank is an intriguing financial institution for many different reasons. They are one of the few banks taking customer security very seriously. More specifically, they used to offer free Kaspersky antivirus software to customers. However, that scheme is no longer available. It is a remarkable decision, although one that is seemingly made for the right reasons.
Very few banks offer “free services” to their clients. In the case of Barclays Bank, that is somewhat different. Or it is used to be, as the company decided to can their Kaspersky antivirus offer. Until recently, all bank clients would get access to this tool free of charge. That is now no longer the case. It seems there are some concerns over this antivirus tools and its alleged ties to the Russian government.
More specifically, rumor has it this antivirus tool can be used to spy on government departments. We have seen multiple allegations involving Russia spying on governments, corporations, and even consumers. Most of these claims have yet to be backed up with any solid evidence. In the case of Kaspersky antivirus, the jury is still out on whether or not anything malicious is going on. The UK National Cyber Security Center warned the government to remove this software quickly. This is a “matter of national security”, according to a spokesperson.
So far, the NCSC confirms there is no evidence regarding any malicious intent. It is not a threat to public privacy, as far as anyone is concerned. However, Barclays Bank decided to halt this free software offer regardless. it is always best to avoid any blowback rather than deal with repercussions after the facts. Such a drastic turn of events may sour the relationship between the UK and Russia, though. Without any evidence, such warnings are baseless and unjust.
This change of heart doesn’t just affect new Barclays Bank customers. Existing clients have been notified of this decision as well. The bank urges them to be aware of the situation, which is labeled as a precautionary move. No one is forced to uninstall the software, but the business relationship with Kaspersky is on ice for now. Whether or not it will be reinstated if the “investigation concludes, remains unknown. The Russian antivirus manufacturer has not commented on this development as of yet.
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