NOTA BENE

Notes, comment and buzz from Eugene Kaspersky – Official Blog

Tag Archives: history

June 15, 2014

10 years since the first smartphone malware – to the day.

On June 15, 2004, at precisely 19:17 Moscow time something happened that started a new era in computer security. We discovered the first malware created for smartphones.

It was Cabir, which was infecting Symbian-powered Nokia devices by spreading via unsecured Bluetooth connections. With its discovery the world learned that there was now malware not just for computers – which everyone already knew too well about (save for the odd hermit or monk) – but also for smartphones. Yes, many were scratching their heads at first – “viruses infecting my phone? Yeah, pull the other leg” – but the simple truth of the matter did finally sink in sooner (= months) or later (= years a decade!) for most people (some still aren’t aware). Meantime, our analysts made it into the history books!

Why did we christen this malware Cabir? Why was a special screened secure room created at our Moscow HQ? And how did Cabir end up in the pocket of an F-Secure employee? These and other questions were recently put to Aleks Gostev, our chief security expert, in a interview for our Intranet, which I thought I’d share with you here; might as well have it from the horse’s woodpecker’s mouth…

Incidentally, the story started really running when we used these two devices to analyze the malware:

The legendary Symbian-powered Nokia phones we used to analyze Cabir

…but more about those below…

Read on: An unusual file n the inbox…

March 12, 2013

K(E)L(vis) has left the building.

Ladies and gentlemen!

I’ve got some very good news! Well, at least, for some – particularly KL employees…

Our decade and a half of rented-office-space hopping has officially come to an end. Yep, we’ve finally done it – we’ve gone and bought an office building – rather, three. Well, better late than never, I guess. Anyway, just recently, the last of the last of the departments which were holding out at the old office (at Oktiyabrskoye Pole ([Red] October Field)) in the north-western suburbs of Moscow) have finally left it for good, turning up for work the next day at the new office, as can be seen in this photo – of our corporate admin elite and their favorite rubber plants:

Kaspersky Lab New Moscow Office

Yup, we now have our own small piece of north-west Moscow, housing more than 1500 company HQ employees who’ve voluntarily signed up for careers in the fight against global cyberevil.

More: homes sweet homes…

July 20, 2012

KL: 15 Years Old – How Time’s Flown!

Kaspersky Lab is 15! Believe me – that’s a long time. That many years in the IT industry is a whole epoch, no – several epochs.

In 1997 when the company was founded our main enemy was cyber-hooliganism. At the start of the 2000s this was overtaken by organized cybercrime, and our task became considerably more difficult: on the other side of the barricades there wasn’t a bunch of uncoordinated hackers any more; large cross-border cyber-criminal structures had firmly established themselves – illegally earning millions of dollars in profits. Today, cyber-crime been joined by a new and much more fearsome phenomenon – cyber-warfare. Recent cyber-war attacks such as Stuxnet, Duqu and Flame show how it’s not just “business” any more, but politics, with those behind cyber-warfare not in it for the money. They’ve got different objectives. Cyber-warfare activities are also much greater in scale, or rather – reach, so the destructive force of attacks has gone up too. We’ve seen how poorly protected IT infrastructure can be exploited to paralyze whole cities, industries, even countries. Thus we’ve entered an ominous new era – that of cyber-warfare. What we need to do in response is join forces in a worldwide fight for security.

For our company this new era sure is a challenge. The goalposts have moved, but we’re moving with them. We’ve had nothing but moving goalposts now for 15 years! We’ve always had to deal with new threats, so we’ve gotten well used to always being on guard and not letting it down for just a second. So figuratively, but also as a matter of fact, our guys work 24 hours, seven days a week, and 365 days a year in keeping the guard up and maintaining protection from threats. Over our 15 year history we’ve built up a gigantic database, containing more than 94 million samples of malware and around 300 million trusted – whitelisted – files.

Read on: KL: 15 Years Old – How Time’s Flown!

August 16, 2011

A Blast from the Past. Part IV – The Very First International Partner Conference.

Here we are with the fourth installment of sentimental stories covering the history of our company.

Each time I write a post of this series what never ceases to amaze me is the journey we’ve made from a small niche player to one of the largest security vendors in the world. And I’ve nothing but admiration for all our users and partners and also the journalists and analysts who’ve supported us all along, giving us the impetus to keep going and do the job we do well.

One thing I’m pretty sure about is that we would never have succeeded without our partners. We started the business with a clear idea of building a truly dedicated and efficient partner network. We never tried to play the game in the different regional markets ourselves without knowing the rules.

Instead, from the very beginning, we relied on our partners: companies and individuals that know the rules inside out and understand all the little things that a software business – no matter how good its product – must get firmly on top of to get its product into the market effectively.

Read more > The first international partner conference in details

July 28, 2011

A Blast from the Past. Part III – Back to the Future – a Virus Remake.

A long time ago in a galaxy far, far away…

Er, no. It wasn’t all that long ago, not all that far away, and was in no way connected with Star Wars. As Tony Montana once said, shall we “walk in and start over?”

Ok: Once – ten years ago – in the not-so-far-away city of Prague, the British antivirus magazine Virus Bulletin held its annual conference. In early 2001 the event was going through all the usual planning stages a conference of its sort needs to, and all was going to plan when, suddenly…

… suddenly Helen Martin, the editor-in-chief of the magazine, writes to me and unexpectedly suggests I speak at the conference, and not just to say a few words about this or that, but to give a full-blown keynote presentation. That is, to open the conference in front of an audience of 300+ delegates, made up of some of the brightest minds in the antivirus industry. Well, the renown of Virus Bulletin was quite something even back then. A mention on one of its pages was considered either good luck or good work, but a presentation at one of their gigs – that was simply an honor!

Photo by Iulian Ursu via Flickr

Read more > What the

July 7, 2011

A Blast from the Past. Part II – the AV Artefact.

And here we are, with the second in the series of nostalgic tales from the history of the company. As promised, in this installment we are taking you on a journey back to the beginning of the 90s – to the era of good old DOS, and the prototype of our anti-virus, which was used on this early operating system.

Generally my first encounter with viruses came in October 1989. (In just a few months it will be 22 years since that fateful event, and I still don’t know how to celebrate this anniversary!). It all started with someone bringing me a floppy disc (when they actually were floppy!) containing a strange program that caused a bizarre effect of falling characters. I had a look at the program, dug into it, felt around, and eventually cured it. This satisfied me greatly and I was most happy with the result. And I enjoyed the process of doing it too.

I began successfully treating other viruses that kept being brought to me, and soon news about my virus cures spread all around the research institute I was studying at the time. It was around this time that I generally became known as the “the guy who gets rid of viruses”. Then folk with viruses started coming from other departments, then other institutes, and then other cities.

Read more > How many viruses I’ve healed?

June 27, 2011

A Blast from the Past. Part I – the Pack-shot Odyssey.

Kaspersky Lab has just turned 14 years old. On June 26, 1997, after eight years of perfecting our technology with my colleagues, we decided it was ready to go to the market, and so we registered a company. The first years were really hard for all the team members. The business was developing slowly (but surely) and sometimes it was difficult to make ends meet. But we never had a single moment of hesitation to want to stop and switch to faster money – despite the numerous temptations surrounding us at the time.

I remember Alexey De Mont De Rique and me standing at a tram stop one snowy day when in a flash I was overcome by some kind of irrational confidence that we would develop the world’s best anti-virus software. Call it a revelation, if you will. And yes, it was that simple, yet bold: the best anti-virus – head and shoulders above the competition on its detection rate. We never made money our target. We just played the game we really liked.

We started with absolutely nothing in 1991 – besides ambition, knowledge and confidence. Nobody knew us. Fast forward to the 2010 world market race, and Kaspersky Lab finished fourth in the overall ratings and third in the consumer market segment. We made great strides in both the retail and SMB markets, and have already started doing the same in the corporate market. Wish us luck in getting out front!

These last 14 years have resembled a thrilling roller-coaster ride of ups and downs. And on the occasion of our anniversary I thought it might be a good idea to take a trip down memory lane and give you some insight into our history: I will publish a series blast-from-the-past blog posts, starting with a historical overview of our retail product boxes.

Read more > 12 boxes in 14 years