The President of the Canadian treasury board, Anita Anand, announced yesterday (30 October) a ban on the use of the WeChat and Kaspersky suite of applications on government-issued mobile devices.
The press release stated, the Government of Canada is committed to keeping government information and networks secure. We regularly monitor potential threats and take immediate action to address risks.
Effective October 30, 2023, the WeChat and Kaspersky suite of applications will be removed from government-issued mobile devices. Users of these devices will also be blocked from downloading the applications in the future.
The Chief Information Officer of Canada determined that WeChat and Kaspersky suite of applications present “an unacceptable level of risk to privacy and security”. On a mobile device, the WeChat and Kaspersky applications data collection methods provide considerable access to the device’s contents.
The decision to remove and block the WeChat and the Kaspersky applications was made to ensure that Government of Canada networks and data remain secure and protected and are in line with the approach of our international partners.
While the risks of using these applications are clear, we have no evidence that government information has been compromised.
For the broader public, the decision to use a social media application or mobile platform is a personal choice. However, the Communications Security Establishment’s Canadian Centre for Cyber Security (Cyber Centre) provides advice and guidance regarding the use of personal social media and on security considerations that should be made when using social media in an organization.