Lithuania bans Kaspersky software as 'potential' threat

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Vilnius (AFP)

Lithuania will ban Moscow-based cyber security firm Kaspersky Lab's products from computers managing key energy, finance and transport systems, authorities said Thursday.

"The government? recognised that Kaspersky Lab software is a potential national security threat," the Baltic EU state's defence ministry said in a statement.

The government agencies responsible for "critical infrastructure" must replace the popular anti-virus software in "a short while", it added.

The Russian firm's software was banned from US government networks earlier this year amid allegations that it helped Russian intelligence steal top-secret information.

Lithuanian intelligence chief Darius Jauniskis recently said the cyberfirm "was sometimes acting as a toy in the hands of (Russian President Vladimir) Putin's administration".

Kaspersky has repeatedly denied having any inappropriate ties with the Kremlin and said that malware-infected Microsoft Office software and not its own was to blame for the hacking theft of American intelligence materials.

Lithuania, a NATO and EU member of 2.8 million people, has been one of the most vocal critics of Russia, notably after its 2014 annexation of the Crimea peninsula from Ukraine.