WeChat and Kaspersky banned from government-issued mobile devices

Ottawa says the two platforms provide "considerable access" to the contents of a device

The Government of Canada has banned the use of WeChat and applications from Kaspersky on government mobile devices, citing security concerns.

Kaspersky is a Russian cybersecurity company that provides antivirus software. WeChat is a popular Chinese social media and payment app.

The move, effective October 30th, comes after Canada’s Chief Information Officer found the two platforms “present an unacceptable level of risk to privacy and security,” a press release from the Treasury Board of Canada Secretariat states.

A specific issue is the data collection methods from the platforms, which provide “considerable access” to the contents of a device.

“We are taking a risk-based approach to cyber security by removing access to these applications on government mobile devices,” Anita Anand, President of the Treasury Board, said. “We will continue to regularly monitor potential cyber threats and take immediate action when needed.”

The government says there is no evidence that either platform compromised government information.

Ottawa issued a similar decision for TikTok earlier this year, citing the risk of possible cyber attacks. All provinces and territories, along with several municipalities, issued similar bans soon after.

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Source: Treasury Board of Canada Secretariat