opular anti-virus software used by hundreds of thousands of people and businesses in Britain was reportedly hijacked by Russian government hackers to trawl for American secrets.
Cyber spies allegedly used software from the Russian firm Kaspersky Lab which is installed on computers around the world to improvise a search tool and look for the codenames of secret US programs.
Discovery of the operation led the American government to last month order the removal of the software from its computers, the New York Times reported.
The software is used by 400 million people worldwide and is one of the most widely used anti-virus tools in Britain, installed by hundreds of thousands to protect their computers from cyber crime.
The National Cyber Security Centre, the offshoot of GCHQ responsible for securing online life in Britain, said it did not give guidance on whether the software was safe to use.