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WeChat and Kaspersky apps banned on government devices in Canada

A necessary action to ensure the integrity of sensitive Canadian government data

Canada announced a ban on Tencent and Kaspersky apps on government mobile devices, citing privacy and security risks. WeChat, a popular Chinese app, has been banned due to concerns over its origins. Kaspersky criticized the ban as political.

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Canada announced Monday a ban on the use of Tencent and Kaspersky apps on government mobile devices, citing an "unacceptable level of privacy and security risk." The Government of Canada said: "The Government of Canada is committed to keeping government information and networks secure. We regularly monitor potential threats and immediately take steps to address the risks." To this end, Tencent's WeChat applications and Kaspersky's suite of applications have been removed from government mobile devices starting October 30, 2023. Going forward, users of these devices will be blocked from downloading such apps. “We are taking a risk-based approach to cybersecurity by eliminating access to these applications on government mobile devices,” said Treasury Board Chair Anita Anand, adding that these apps “provide significant access to device content.” .

WeChat's popularity and security concerns

WeChat is a Chinese instant messaging, social media and mobile payments app developed by Tencent. The all-in-one app has over 1 billion monthly active users, making it one of the largest platforms online. However, security concerns related to its Chinese origins have led to a ban on its use on Canadian government devices. The government has stressed that protecting government information and networks is a priority, which is why it has taken this measure to reduce potential privacy and security risks.

Kaspersky's accusations against the ban

Kaspersky, a Russian company specializing in cybersecurity, commented that the ban appears to have been decided for political reasons and that the actions taken are "highly unfounded and a response to the geopolitical climate rather than a comprehensive assessment of the integrity of the products and services Kaspersky". This ban follows similar restrictions imposed by Canada on ByteDance-owned TikTok in February 2023. In the United States, in March 2022, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) placed Kaspersky on the "cover list" of companies that they represent an "unacceptable risk to the national security" of the country.

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10/31/2023 09:33

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