Symantec, Kaspersky clarify China ban

Symantec, Kaspersky clarify China ban

Summary: Responding to reports that their products have been banned by the Chinese government, the security vendors say the restrictions do not apply to local governments and large enterprises in the country.

TOPICS: Security, China

Symantec and Kaspersky have refuted reports their products have been completely banned by the Chinese government, saying the restrictions apply only to agencies funded by the central government and do not include local governments and large enterprises.

The U.S. and Russian IT security vendors were responding to reports their products had been removed from a list of antivirus software suppliers approved to sell to government agencies. 

Kaspersky Lab, though, acknowledged China now restricts the procurement of software from foreign companies, according to a China Daily report. "The Chinese Central Government Procurement Center temporarily rescinded its endorsements of all foreign security software providers, leaving only Chinese vendors on the approved list," said the company in a statement. 

"However, this restriction only applies to national-level institutions which funding comes from the central government procurement budget and does not include local governments or large enterprises."

U.S.-based Symantec also said its products had not been banned by the Chinese government, noting that the restricted list only applied for "certain types of procurement". It added that it was "investigating" reports suggesting otherwise and would continue to bid for government projects in China.

Citing Matthew Cheung, Gartner's research director of the infrastructure software market, the report restrictions imposed by the Chinese government would not lead to significant financial losses for both security vendors in the short term. The analyst noted that the public sector accounted for a small portion of the companies' business in China.

Cheung said: "The majority of Kaspersky's business is contributed by consumers rather than enterprise users, and if you look at Symantec, only 20 percent of its revenue comes from the information security business."

The Chinese government earlier this week also removed 10 Apple products, including the iPad and MacBook, from its list of items approved for procurement. Initiated by the National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC), the ban was reportedly due to security concerns. 

Topics: Security, China


Eileen Yu began covering the IT industry when Asynchronous Transfer Mode was still hip and e-commerce was the new buzzword. Currently a freelance blogger and content specialist based in Singapore, she has over 16 years of industry experience with various publications including ZDNet, IDG, and Singapore Press Holdings.

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  • Well according to my experience

    Speaking from experience. Kaspersky is just pure evil. Case in point, it redirects your SSL traffic (HTTPS) into their own server to monitor the packets whether it has malicious code in it. But your privacy is broken, why trust kaspersky with your HTTPS traffic? What if it's a bank or PayPal or other more sensitive info? Not just Kaspersky, AVG is doing this interception also. It is called MITM (Man in the Middle) attack and is dangerous.

    Second point, previously I have a 1 year license for my Kaspersky Internet suite, with full update and virus definition, my machine got infected by a Russian named malware. So I suspect that Kaspersky whitelisted the malware because my colleague pointed out that his laptop (with McAfee protection) detected something from my USB drives. McAfee has it shares of problems too, including spamming bug which will blacklist your email address.

    So Kaspersky don't just perform MITM attack, it also allows some selected trojans and malwares to stay on your machine. Got bitten once, no more returning back to Eugene Kaspersky's product.