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Experts call upon the vendors of antivirus software for transparency

An international coalition of more than 25 civil rights organizations and security experts is concerned about the level of security provided by antivirus software companies. “The users of this software should be ably to rely on the security of their systems. We fear this might be a false feeling of security.” says Ton Siedsma of the Dutch digital rights organization Bits of Freedom.

According to the coalition, these companies have a vital position in providing security and maintaining the trust of internet users engaging in sensitive activities such as electronic banking. There should be no doubt that your antivirus software provides the security needed to maintain this trust.

In the letter, the coalition asks the antivirus companies for transparency on whether there have been any requests by governments to not detect the presence of governmental malware and if so, if they have granted such a request. They furthermore ask how the companies would respond to such a request in the future.

“It has become very clear that governments will do anything to gain acces to as much information as possible” says Siedsma. “Requests like these, coming from law enforcement agencies or secret services, lower the general level of protection of all users of antivirus software. The software isn’t just used by suspects, but by all of us. This is something to be very concerned about, so we have asked the antivirus software vendors for transparancy on this matter.”

The letter has been sent to the following companies: Agnitum, Ahnlab, Avira operations GmbH & Co. KG, AVG, AVAST software a.s., Bullguard Ltd, Bitdefender SRL, F-Secure Corporation, Kaspersky Lab, McAfee Inc, Microsoft Corporation, Norman Shark, ESET spol. S r.o., Panda Security S.L., Symantec Corporation and Trend Micro Incorporated.

Contact: Ton Siedsma – ton.siedsma@bof.nl / +31 (0)6 1338 0036

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