Cisco, IBM, SAP, others agree to provide security source code to Russian authorities

Top western tech firms including Cisco, IBM and SAP, and several firms say they were planning to comply with the demand from Russia's security agency Federal Security Service (FSB) to hand over their security product source codes, Reuters reported.

The move comes at a time when tensions between Russia and the US are high, with more information about Russia's attempts to influence the 2016 US presidential election emerging.

According to tthe report Moscow has ordered the firms allow access to products such as firewalls, anti-virus applications and software containing encryption before permitting the products to be imported and sold in the country in order to check for hidden backdoors that could allow access to Russian systems, Reuters reported.

Security researchers and US officials who advised against the move maintain that it could give Russian officials an opportunity to find vulnerabilities in these products.

Symantec told Reuters that it had stopped cooperating with the source code reviews over security concerns.

The companies who wish to be compliant argue they risk being shut out on a lucrative market if they failed to comply. They said they will only allow Russia to review their source code in secure facilities that will prevent the code from being copied or altered.