Symantec, Kaspersky Security Products Blacklisted by Chinese Government

Approved security products are from Chinese vendors only

The Chinese government has banned the usage of security products from foreign developers Symantec and Kaspersky for national security and public interests.

At the moment, on the list of the government’s procurement agency there are five approved security software brands, all from China. These include Qihoo 360 Technology, Venustech, CAJinchen, Beijing Jiangmin, and Rising.

The announcement came from People’s Daily newpaper, which first posted the news on Twitter and then offered slightly more details on their Facebook page.

Back in May, China’s State Internet Information Office informed that it would initiate an investigation on the major IT products used by government institutions for national and public interests.

It looks like the assessment has been completed and led to banning foreign technology that could be used for protecting government systems.

The news post on People’s Daily says that there is no evidence that the decision was taken as a result of Edward Snowden’s revelations about the US National Security Agency’s mass surveillance program, PRISM.

However, this is an effort made by the Chinese government to promote domestic IT products. The newspaper also says that, currently, the only foreign operating system brand still on the suppliers list is Microsoft, although in May a notice was issued to ban the purchase of Windows 8 operating system.

“China’s homegrown technology companies also got the better of their foreign counterparts in the personal computer operating system supplier list, making Microsoft the only foreign brand,” writes Zhang Qian for the Chinese publication.

Earlier this month, Symantec’s Data Loss Prevention Product was replaced by the Chinese government with a domestic product. The reason was that the US company allegedly included backdoors to gather intelligence, according to a post in the newspaper Sina.

The same post informed that public security agencies at all levels were prohibited the installation of Symantec products.

Last week, multiple Microsoft offices in China have been raided by investigators, who seized computers, documents and email communication of the company’s employees. The authorities targeted locations in Beijing, Shanghai, Chengdu, and Guangzhou.

It appears that China believes that Microsoft, Apple, Symantec and Cisco are important partners of the NSA, allowing the intelligence service access to their systems in order to collect information.

As far as Kaspersky is concerned, spokesperson Alejandro Arango talked to Reuters and said that the company was investigating the matter and engaged in communication with the Chinese authorities in order to sort things out, but no details were made available.

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