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Italy Investigates Russia's Kaspersky Antivirus Software

Italy's data privacy watchdog said Friday it was investigating the "potential risks" that Russian antivirus software Kaspersky could be used to launch cyberattacks.

It followed what it called "alarms sounded by many Italian and European organisations specialised in computer security" over the potential use of Kaspersky software for hacking assaults in the wake of Russia's invasion of Ukraine.

The watchdog has asked the company to provide details on the number and profile of its Italian customers, and whether users' personal data is "transferred outside the European Union" to Russia or elsewhere.

Italy's cybersecurity agency recommended Tuesday that users of Russian software diversify their wares, warning of a potential "technological risk" following the invasion of Ukraine.

ReadThreat of Local Cyber Operations Escalating Into Global Cyberwar ]

That warning came the same day that Germany's cybersecurity agency recommended that users avoid Kaspersky, warning it could be implicated, willingly or unwillingly, in hacking attacks.

Military and cyber specialists fear that Russia's invasion of Ukraine could lead to an outbreak of cyberattacks, with major consequences for civilians in both countries and globally.

The United States in 2017 prohibited government agencies from using software from Kaspersky, which has rejected accusations it works with the Kremlin.

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