updated 01:38 pm EDT, Mon August 4, 2014
Kaspersky, Symantec said to be excluded from procurement lists, could be due to security concerns
One of China's state-sponsored media channels is indicating that the government has removed all foreign-made software from its list of approved security software purchases. Newspaper The People's Daily posted on Twitter yesterday, indicating that Kaspersky and Symantec are now excluded from the country's government procurement channels.
Govt procurement agency has excluded Symantec & Kaspersky fm a security software supplier list, all 5 in are fm China pic.twitter.com/cSqCxVN0jI- People's Daily,China (@PDChina) August 3, 2014
On the news outlet's Facebook page, the list of approved antivirus software was listed as coming from five companies, all of which comes from companies within China, which includes Beijing Jiangmin, CAJinchen, Qihoo 360, Rising and Venustech. It also states that in May, China's State Internet Information Office indicated it would "start security vetting of major IT products and services for use by national security and public interests."
When speaking with ZDNet, Kaspersky stated that they are investigating the issue and are talking with the Chinese government. A spokesperson notes that there's no evidence proving the company is banned.
"The Chinese Central Government Procurement Center temporarily rescinded its endorsements of all foreign security providers, leaving only Chinese vendors on the approved list," said the Kaspersky spokesperson. "However, this restriction only applies to federal institutions whose funding comes from the central government procurement budget, and does not include regional governments or large enterprises."
China's reason for the exclusion of software from the Russian and American companies isn't clear, but it could be tied to security concerns. China has been hyper-aware of security issues involving foreign entities since Edward Snowden leaked classified government information related to spying. Due in part to the leaked information, China has appeared to be scrutinizing software from all foreign entities.
In early July, China Daily reported that Symantec Software was added to a "do-not-use list." The information came from an internal document from China's Ministry of Public Security, asking branches to uninstall Symantec's data loss prevention software as "the products' loopholes could pose information risks." The publication also said that Symantec's loss-prevention products were banned from future procurement at that time.
Security software companies aren't the only ones being examined closely. In May, the Chinese government banned Windows 8 from being installed or purchasing computers with the operating system pre-installed, as it was accused of stealing data. Beijing Youth Daily states that four versions of Windows are still allowed under government procurement, even as the company is undergoing an antitrust investigation.