NOTA BENE

Notes, comment and buzz from Eugene Kaspersky – Official Blog

March 17, 2015

Independent AV testing in 2014: interesting results!

At KL we’re always at it. Improving ourselves, that is. Our research, our development, our products, our partnerships, our… yes – all that. But for us all to keep improving – and in the right direction – we all need to work toward one overarching goal, or mission. Enter the mission statement…

Ours is saving the world from cyber-menaces of all types. But how well do we do this? After all, a lot, if not all AV vendors have similar mission statements. So what we and – more importantly – the user needs to know is precisely how well we perform in fulfilling our mission – compared to all the rest…

To do this, various metrics are used. And one of the most important is the expert testing of the quality of products and technologies by different independent testing labs. It’s simple really: the better the result on this or that – or all – criteria, the better our tech is at combatting cyber-disease – to objectively better save the world :).

Thing is, out of all the hundreds of tests by the many independent testing centers around the world, which should be used? I mean, how can all the data be sorted and refined to leave hard, meaningful – and easy to understand and compare – results? There’s also the problem of there being not only hundreds of testing labs but also hundreds of AV vendors so, again, how can it all be sieved – to remove the chaff from the wheat and to then compare just the best wheat? There’s one more problem (it’s actually not that complex, I promise – you’ll see:) – that of biased or selective test results, which don’t give the full picture – the stuff of advertising and marketing since year dot.

Well guess what. Some years back we devised the following simple formula for accessible, accurate, honest AV evaluation: the Top-3 Rating Matrix!.

So how’s it work?

First, we need to make sure we include the results of all well-known and respected, fully independent test labs in their comparative anti-malware protection investigations over the given period of time.

Second, we need to include all the different types of tests of the chosen key testers – and on all participating vendors.

Third, we need to take into account (i) the total number of tests in which each vendor took part; (ii) the % of ‘gold medals'; and (iii) the % of top-3 places.

What we get is simplicity, transparency, meaningful sifting, and no skewed ‘test marketing’ (alas, there is such a thing). Of course it would be possible to add into the matrix another, say, 25,000 parameters – just for that extra 0.025% of objectivity, but that would only be for the satisfaction of technological narcissists and other geek-nerds, and we’d definitely lose the average user… and maybe the not-so-average one too.

To summarize: we take a specific period, take into account all the tests of all the best test labs (on all the main vendors), and don’t miss a thing (like poor results in this or that test) – and that goes for KL of course too.

All righty. Theory over. Now let’s apply that methodology to the real world; specifically – the real world in 2014.

First, a few tech details and disclaimers for those of the geeky-nerdy persuasion:

  • Considered in 2014 were the comparative studies of eight independent testing labs (with: years of experience, the requisite technological set-up (I saw some for myself), outstanding industry coverage – both of the vendors and of the different protective technologies, and full membership of AMTSO) : AV-Comparatives, AV-Test, Anti-malware, Dennis Technology Labs, MRG EFFITAS, NSS Labs, PC Security Labs and Virus Bulletin. A detailed explanation of the methodology – in this video and in this document.
  • Only vendors taking part in 35% or more of the labs’ tests were taken into account. Otherwise it would be possible to get a ‘winner’ that did well in just a few tests, but which wouldn’t have done well consistently over many tests – if it had taken part in them (so here’s where we filter out the faux-test marketing).

Soooo… analyzing the results of the tests in 2014, we get……..

….Drums roll….

….mouths are cupped….

….breath is bated….

……..we get this!:

Independent testing 2014:  the results

Read on: Are all washing powder brands the same?…

March 14, 2015

Crocs in the shade – in the Everglades.

To be in Miami as a tourist and not get a visit to the Everglades in is a bit like… going to Manhattan as a tourist and not seeing Broadway and Times Square: it just doesn’t make any sense. Mind you, visiting the Everglades in anything but an airboat makes little sense too: going ‘on foot’ – or swimming (!) – is out of the question: the Everglades are crocodile infested swamps; and going on any other means of transport is also a no-no: only airboats manage to navigate these unique swamp-scapes cut with dense grassy shrubbery.

Florida, Everglades National Park

Read on: Crocs & yikes!…

March 12, 2015

Miami Nice.

There exist in the world a great many beautiful mountains, volcanoes, cliffs, caves, valleys, lakes, geysers, glaciers, and a whole load of other natural phenomena. But there exist a great many beautiful man-made phenomena too. And that includes some really rad roads.

The most beautiful road (of course, I mean the views therefrom and therealong, not the prettiness of the asphalt:), IMHO, is in New Zealand. It’s the road to Milford Sound. There are plenty of others dotted around the globe that come near to it in terms of awesomeness: There’s the Great Ocean Road in nearby Australia. There’s the coast road of California; Route 360 on Maui, Hawaii; the road from Platja d’Aro to Lloret de Mar in Spain; the Amalfi Coast road near Naples; the roads of Crete, and many more which I’ve yet to motor along.

Just recently I checked off another entry on the list of must-drive roads of the world. Yep, I finally got round to cruising along the resplendent road to Key West, at the very bottom tip of Florida. Key West is the last in a long line of islands that stretch from the US mainland on the outskirts of Miami out towards Cuba – all connected by a road. Nice. Miami Nice. Kuril Islands governor – take note!

From Miami to Key West

From Miami to Key West

Read on: tropical paradise here and there…

March 10, 2015

Guatem-ooh-la-la volcanism.

Turns out the Ring of Fire affects Guatemala too. But then that country classic affects many, and always will :). But no, it’s the seismic-lithospheric-tectonic Ring of Fire that ensures Guatemala is fully sorted in the volcano department.

In all there are around 30 volcanoes in Guatemala – impressive for a country of its modest size. Taking a peek at trusty old Wikipedia, we see Guatemala covers approx. 100,000 square kilometers, so if we divide that by the number of volcanoes… ooh la la!: the volcanism force is strong with this one! It’s nothing on the Kurils of course (68 volcanoes in 10,500 square kilometers!), but the Kurils aren’t a whole country…

Antigua is surrounded by three volcanoes – Agua, Fuego and Acatenango – all of which were visible from our hotel:

Guatemala volcanos

Read on: Ahhh, so great being up a mountain!…

March 9, 2015

Guatemala – what a gala (of colored… rugs). Part 3.

Howdy folks. Herewith, the next installment on my recent Guatemalan adventure. Today, a report on what we discovered while strolling around Antigua Guatemala.

Brief background: Antigua was one of the capitals of the country during the Spanish Empire era. Down the years it’s been destroyed three times by volcanic or seismic ultraviolence, poor thing: First, in 1541 – under a lahar (mudflow) from Agua Volcano; and then in 1717 and 1773 – by earthquakes. How unlucky? After the third time, the authorities wisely decided to move the capital to a safer location – where it still stands today. The ruins of Antigua were abandoned and stood mostly uninhabited for centuries. Shadows of former colonial grandeur can still be seen today in the dozen (!) or so imperial cathedral and church ruins. If the place looks impressive in ruins, I thought, imagine what it must have been like intact and with roofs on!

Antigua Guatemala

Read on: street ‘carpets’ made of colored sawdust, flowers and grasses…

March 6, 2015

Night at the (Hotel) Museum.

Alrighty. Here we are in Guatemala. I’m enthusiastically ensconced in this here hotel-with-a-difference in the heart of the country – and it’s a fascinating place. I’ve been in some interesting lodgings in my time which stretch the definition of ‘hotel‘, but never stayed in one that doubles up fully as something else at the same time. In this case – several museums!! It’s called Casa Santo Domingo, situated in the former colonial capital of the country, Antigua Guatemala.

Antigua Guatemala

Read on: Not your usual hotel…

March 5, 2015

Guatemala – what a gala (of color). Part 1.

Which airline to choose to get from Madrid to Guatemala was a no-brainer: practically the only airline to fly direct is Iberia. It’s like, why would we fly with a connection – heaven forbid a North American one? :)

So off we popped, direct to Central America…

The first bit of land on the other side of the Atlantic was Haitian (I think), and then came Jamaica. Over the mainland we flew over Honduras, and next up was our country of destination – Guatemala.

Madrid - Guatemala

Madrid - Guatemala

Madrid - GuatemalaHonduras coming into view

Incidentally, Honduras – why’s it called Honduras? You can find out here. It appears there are two alternative versions. The first starts:

In Spanish, the word “honduras” means “deep waters” or “depths”. It is a peculiar name for a country, but there is also a peculiar story behind how our country got this name.

Madrid - GuatemalaYou have reached your destination

Not everyone (who lives outside Central America maybe) is able to point out Guatemala on a world map. Not everyone knows it’s in Central America even – many think it’s in South America. But no, Guatemala is the quintessential Central American country – the most central Central American country, in fact.

It sits neatly between Honduras, Salvador, Belize and Mexico. Firther to the south there’s also Nicaragua, Costa Rica, Panama, and then Columbia and Ecuador.

I flew over this nest of cuckoos curiosity a while back. Unfortunately that was at nighttime so I saw nothing at all of it. This time things were different:

Madrid - Guatemala

Madrid - GuatemalaVolcanism on the horizon. My cup of tea

Madrid - Guatemala

Madrid - Guatemala

Madrid - GuatemalaA Fuji competitor!

Madrid - Guatemala

Madrid - Guatemala

Turns out there are 33 volcanoes here, three of which, I’m told ‘represent a threat’. That makes sense: this part of the world’s seen plenty of volcanic activity in its time, some of it very sad. For example, in the sixteenth century Agua destroyed the first capital of the country; and in 1965 Pacaya blew its top violently and has been erupting constantly ever since.

And right now Fuego‘s causing all sorts of problems for the locals. And on the first night after we arrived there was even an earthquake! I missed it as I was in a jetlag-compensating deep sleep. Not sure if that was a good or bad thing.

We went for a walk up Pacaya while in Guatemala; not to the top – it’s smoking like a bar steward right now up there – but around the old crater near it. Impressive. So impressive in fact that it warrants a post of its own. I wasn’t expecting that there’d be a lot to report back on from here – I was proved wrong!

All the photos are here.

Back soon folks!…

February 26, 2015

Cancunference 2015.

Some ten-plus years ago, our then still quite small company decided to push the boundaries – literally: we went transnational. Before long we found we had expert-analyst KLers working in all corners of the globe, all of them communicating with one another by email, messengers, telephone and other indirect means. Nothing wrong with that really, but still, it’ll never beat face-to-face interaction. So we decided to have a yearly jamboree where we’d all get together and top up on the much needed proper face time. That was when our annual conference for IT security experts was born: the Security Analyst Summit (SAS).

cancun-mexico-sas2015-1

cancun-mexico-sas2015-2

Read on: Work hard, play hard, like always…

February 25, 2015

A rise in the sea level of just one meter, and it’s curtains for the Maldivian paradise.

Never thought that one day I’d be in the Maldives.

Why? Well, my travels normally take me to places where I really need to get to for business. The Maldives? No meetings, speeches or conferences, and no business tends to be transacted there…

Of course there are times when I go to this or that exotic country as a tourist, but my preferred tourism tends to feature rucksacks, tents and volcanoes – not sun, sand, and surf. So, again… the Maldives? Eh?

But when it was suggested that ‘we have this year’s management board jolly in the Maldives’, well, I didn’t need much convincing as to the wholesomeness of the idea. Everyone surely knows the Maldives is a sun drenched set of paradisiacal islands, so why would I object? So off we headed in the direction of the Indian Ocean…

Maldives

Read on: Global warming vs Maldives…

February 19, 2015

The biggest device in the world – part three.

First, a brief summary of the previous two parts…

On the Swiss-French border, near Geneva, there’s a place called CERN. Within its various buildings, modern-day alchemists scientists conCERN themselves with the fundamental structure of the universe. They disperse protons and other particles at near light speed and have them smash against one another, which creates various kinds of quark-gluon plasma and other mysterious physical phenomena. Then they apply titanic brainpower (math, physics, nuclear physics, quantum mechanics… all that), engineering capacity, and computing power to track the results of collisions of these fundamental particles.

We were there the other week and given a good long guided tour. Took lots of pics too…

The first accelerator we saw is called LEIR (the Low Energy Ion Ring). In it, lead ions are pooled. First the ions come from the LINAC-3 linear accelerator to LEIR, then they pass through to a PS ring, and then into a complex of big hoops, including the Large Hadron Collider (LHC).

cern-math-1

Read on: who does what at CERN…