Feds ban WeChat, Kaspersky apps from government-issued devices over security concerns
Icon for the smartphone apps WeChat is shown on a smartphone screen in Beijing, on Aug. 7, 2020. The federal government is banning WeChat and Kaspersky applications from its phones over security concerns. THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP/Mark Schiefelbein
The Canadian Press
Published Monday, October 30, 2023 11:13PM EDT
The federal government is banning WeChat and Kaspersky applications from its phones over security concerns.
WeChat is a social network, messaging and payments app from Chinese company Tencent, while Kaspersky was founded by Russian entrepreneur Eugene Kaspersky and offers cybersecurity and antivirus software.
The government said both apps would be removed from its devices Monday and users will be blocked from downloading WeChat or Kaspersky products in the future.
It said it made the move because the chief information officer of Canada determined that the WeChat and Kaspersky apps present "an unacceptable level of risk to privacy and security."
Kaspersky, in a statement, said it was disappointed and surprised by the decision, claiming it was made without "opportunity for engagement by Kaspersky on the Canadian government’s underlying concerns."
The statement suggested the move seemed to have been "made on political grounds."
"As there has been no evidence or due process to otherwise justify these actions, they are highly unsupported and a response to the geopolitical climate rather than a comprehensive evaluation of the integrity of Kaspersky’s products and services," the company's statement said.
The government's chief information officer said the apps' data collection methods provide considerable access to the contents of any mobile device they're on and the government wanted to ensure their networks and data remain secure.
It said it has no evidence that information has been compromised as a result of employees using the apps.
The statement from Kaspersky noted its data services and engineering practices have been confirmed by independent third-party assessments.
"Kaspersky provides industry-leading products and services to customers around the world to protect them from all types of cyberthreats, and it has stated clearly that it doesn’t have any ties with any government, including Russia’s."