Canadian Lessons from the Kaspersky ban by Jeremy Colwell

Canadian Lessons from the Kaspersky Ban

On June 20th, the US Commerce Department banned the sale of Kaspersky Antivirus, citing concerns over potential misuse by the Russian government to exploit customer information. While the ban does not prohibit the use of the software, it has prompted distributors to begin de-listing the product.

This is not the first US government run-in with Kaspersky. In 2017 the U.S. Department of Homeland Security issued a directive requiring all federal agencies to remove any software from Kaspersky due to concerns that the Russian government could exploit the software.

As of this writing, Canada has not banned the sale of Kaspersky, however on October 30, 2023, the WeChat and Kaspersky suite of applications were banned from use on Canadian government-issued mobile devices.

In a world where digital security is paramount, the recent ban on Kaspersky antivirus by the US Commerce Department has sent ripples through the business community. As Canadian business owners, it’s essential to understand why this move matters to us and how we can ensure our businesses remain secure in an increasingly complex cyber landscape.

Why Was Kaspersky Banned?

The US Commerce Department’s decision to ban Kaspersky stems from concerns about potential ties between the company and the Russian government. This move is part of a broader strategy to protect national security and prevent potential espionage activities. While the specifics of these ties remain a matter of debate, the decision underscores the importance of trust and transparency in the tools we use to protect our digital assets.

Why Should Canadian Businesses Care?

Kaspersky is a well-known brand for anti-virus products; businesses and consumers will now have to find alternatives.

Although the ban is specific to the United States, its implications are global. Cyber threats do not respect borders. As Canadian businesses, we must stay informed about international developments in cybersecurity, as they can directly affect our operations and security measures.

It’s hard to predict whether the Canadian government will ban Kaspersky Antivirus. When the US government moved to restrict TikTok, many expected Canada to follow suit, though it has not done so yet.

However, many of the major software distributors Canadian operation are subsidiaries of their larger US counterparts. With US operations being forced to prevent the sale of Kaspersky, it is quite likely that their Canadian operations will follow suit; we have already seen this trend beginning and have seen notices from distributors that Kaspersky is being delisted.

Is there anything specific that I need to do?

If you’re not using Kaspersky today, then there’s nothing you need to worry about.

If you have been using Kaspersky, you should check with your IT services provider about options.

The best antivirus products today are not definition-based like Kaspersky, but instead use behavioral analysis. Top-tier endpoint protection solutions also safeguard against ransomware and block access to malicious websites.

The Canadian Perspective

From a Canadian perspective, the Kaspersky ban serves as a reminder of the interconnectedness of our digital world. While we may not be directly affected by the US ban, the underlying issues of trust, security, and geopolitical influence are highly relevant to us. Our proximity to the US and the integrated nature of our economies means that decisions made south of the border can have significant impacts on Canadian businesses.

In conclusion, the Kaspersky ban by the US Commerce Department can be seen as a wake-up call for Canadian businesses. It’s an opportunity to reassess our cybersecurity strategies, ensure the reliability of our tools, and remain vigilant against potential threats. Remember, cybersecurity is not just an IT issue; it’s a business imperative that demands our attention.


Jeremy Colwell is the Managing Director of The Human IT Company, a Vancouver IT Support firm that has been helping businesses and non-profits with their computer support needs since 2007. With over 30 years’ experience in the IT business, Jeremy has led IT teams with the Provincial government and multi-national manufacturing firms and has helped innumerable small businesses change their relationships with technology. He can be reached at

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