Luxor, rather – Thebes. More than a day it sure needs.

Next up – Luxor. But you need the luxury of plenty of time for this one, which, alas, we didn’t have…

Luxor (formerly – Thebes), for a long time the capital of Ancient Egypt, has one really rich history – and a very long one: it’s nearly 5000 years old! All the same, a lot of it remains to this day – along both banks of the River Nile – albeit in ruins. Statues, columns, temples (and surely tombs?:) – and all of them simply must-see…

First up for us was the Mortuary Temple of Hatshepsut (I knew there just had to be ~tombs!)… ->

Mortuary temples like this one were erected close to the royal tombs of Ancient Egypt, and designed to commemorate the reign of a Pharaoh while alive, and then be used by his imperial cult after death…

Not bad for a purely ritual building )…

Inside – same [very!] old. Not that I was complaining! ->

An empress and the god Ra:

// Ever wondered how many gods the Ancient Egyptians had? I did. I imagined a few dozen at the most; how wrong I was!

More tales from the ancient side…

Empresses?

Next up: the Mortuary Temple of Amenhotep III; however, it’s in much worse shape today than the one we’d just seen:

The two colossuses that guarded the entrance to the temple are showing their age, but the temple itself – there’s hardly any of it left at all. The reasons? (i) Age, pure and simple; (ii) its being plundered for construction materials down the millennia (the inhumanity!); and (iii) the Nile spilling over regularly every year and fairly flooding the place – over thousands of years.

A leg and an arm are all that’s left of this similar statue:

Down below: modern graffiti:

Inscriptions in Latin and Greek! ->

…French too. And some of the dates were surprising: 1817, 1820…

Next: come nightfall we made it to the main temple of Luxor (on the eastern bank). Alas, one day for Luxor is way too short a time.

Luxor Temple:

Grandiose and gigantic. But we had too little time to check it out properly. Must come back – in the daytime – for a proper go… ->

Alas – too many folks milling about:

The Avenue of Sphinxes, discovered only relatively recently:

2.5km long, running directly to another temple: the Karnak Temple Complex.

Must walk along its full length next time!…

We made it to Karnak literally at night. This huge complex needs checking out during the day, taking one’s time. So that’s yet another reason we must come back, and next time we must plan better!…

We only got a few glimpses of this magnificent masterpiece of ancient construction:

Later on here at night there’s some kind of historical-musical-light show. That’s where all these crowds were heading ->

We’ll just have to save that experience too for next time )…

The rest of the pics from Egypt are here.

That’s all for today folks, but I’ll be back with more from the Land of the Pharaohs shortly…

 

The antidote to operational technology conservatism.

I’ve been saying it often – for years: antivirus is dead.

Such a statement might at first seem strange – especially from someone who’s been a mover and shaker since the very earliest days in all things viruses and anti-virus in the late eighties and early nineties. However, if you dig a little deeper into the AV (RIP) topic and consult some authoritative sources in the (former:) field, then the statement quickly becomes quite logical: first, “antivirus” has turned into protective solutions “against everything”; second, viruses – as a particular species of malicious program – have died out. Almost. And it’s that seemingly harmless, negligible almost that causes problems for cybersecurity still to this day – at the back end of the year 2022! And that almost is the basis of this here blogpost today…

So. Viruses. Those Red-Listed last remaining few – where are they these days, and what are they up to?…

It turns out they tend to reside in… one of the most conservative sub-fields of industrial automation: that of operational technology (that’s OT – not to be confused with IT). OT is “hardware and software that detects or causes a change through the direct monitoring and/or control of industrial equipment, assets, processes and events” (– Wikipedia). Basically, OT relates to an industrial control systems (ICS) environment – sometimes referred to as “IT in the non-carpeted areas”. OT = specialized control systems in factories, power plants, transportation systems, the utilities sector, and the extraction, processing and other heavy industries. Yes – infrastructure; yes – often critical infrastructure. And yes again – it’s in this industrial/critical infrastructure where “dead” computer viruses are found today alive and kicking: around 3% of cyber incidents involving OT-computers these days are caused by this type of malware.

How so?

Read on…

Flickr photostream

  • Jordan / Nov 2022
  • Jordan / Nov 2022
  • Jordan / Nov 2022
  • Jordan / Nov 2022

Instagram photostream

The underground labyrinth of tunnels and tombs of the Valley of the Kings.

I remember how, a few years ago, strolling around the rocky landscapes not far from the Namibian town of Lüderitz (which is the place where what is now South America broke away from Africa, and why the rock formations there are so unique), I was so amazed by the unusual rocks there that I uttered the words, “Mom, I want to be a geologist!” Just the other week, I uttered something similar. I was in the Valley of the Kings in Luxor, Egypt. And this time my refrain went: “Mom, I want to be an Egyptologist!”

Such a rich (ancient) history presented in a language unknown to me – it was something I wasn’t expecting somehow. The experience turned out to be just marvelous…

Read on…

Enter your email address to subscribe to this blog

Cairo (city) through the eyes of a day-tripper.

My regular readers know perfectly well how I get all over the world – from the freezing far farthest north, via sunny equatorial tropics, and back to freezing temperatures in the farthest south. Some places are fancy, shiny and hi-tech (like Singapore and Dubai); others – not so much (like Madagascar and Zambia). But no matter how “not so much” a place may be, I always try to stick to the good bits in my reports here on this blog – never dwelling on the downsides to a place. However, when it came to Cairo, I had some trouble adhering to this personal policy of mine…

There are some nice new neighborhoods in Cairo. There’s New Cairo for example – a rather decent, modern district on the outer edge of the capital. And there’s Smart Village – a hi-tech business and ministerial district also on the outskirts, and also looking good.

But…

Some of the older districts of Egypt’s capital are just so totally crazily brutal: high-rise residential blocks as densely packed together as is (in!)human(e)ly possible – window to window. Scores of square kilometers of what looked to me like 10+-story buildings with mere meters between them all!

I was so taken aback at the spectacle that I didn’t think to take any photos of of it (remember – I normally snap the good stuff). But now I regret not doing so. So for this post I had to turn to the internet for pics; for example – satellite pictures:

Read on…

The Egyptian Museum – “photograph everything”.

The Egyptian Museum in Cairo is simply wonderful! The below pic shows the (entrance to the) current building, but the museum’s in the process of moving to a new, larger complex. Some of the exhibits have already been transferred, but plenty remain – certainly more than enough to fill half-a-day at least…

How long is needed for a full inspection of all the exhibits? I’m not really sure. And a lot would depend on how much detail your guide goes into regarding them all. If plenty – you’d need days here. We didn’t have days, so this was going to be an intensive excursion…

Read on…

Half-king, half-lion: the one and only Great Sphinx of Giza!

Egypt, continued…

I mentioned in my previous post how I don’t really go in for the far-fetched and fantastically mystical theories as to how aliens the Egyptians managed to build such magnificent colossuses so long ago. I think it was simply a matter of a lot of hard physical labor by a lot of slaves paid locals over a long time, assisted of course by rudimentary but crucial engineering tools and devices like pulleys and ramps – not to mention ropes, plus of course horses and camels.

I wonder why there are all these different theories regarding how the Pyramids were constructed, yet hardly any for other pyramids around the world – in the ancient Maya city of Coba or the Pyramid of the Sun (both in what is today Mexico), for example. Maybe it’s simply because those others are so much smaller in size? Or take Macchu Pichu. It too was constructed with massive blocks of stone, and way up in the mountains (no easy feat), yet still – no “conspiracy theories”!

I think the outlandish theories about the Pyramids stem from their being so XXL, so OTT-extravagant, and constructed such a long, long time ago. Folks simply built them? Surely not!

I personally think the Egyptians were to a large extent simply lucky. They had lots of well-nourished manpower that could be sourced from the fertile lands along the Nile, and they had plenty of free time on their hands: there was no one to go to war with, so… they built pyramids! Sphinxes too…

So there you have it folks – my version of the Pyramids’ provenance! (As I always say though – I’m no historian. If there are any among you, dear readers – let me know your theories (in the comments)!) But as regards the genesis of the Great Sphinx of Giza, I – like everyone else, it seems – am much less categorical regarding its origins – at least the timing thereof…

Read on…

Erosion, disintegration, conspirology, and OMG-views: the Pyramids of Ancient Egypt.

As promised, herewith, a continuation of tales and pics and musings from my recent trip to Egypt. I’ll pass over the business segment of the trip (as it was much the same as most business segments when traveling: meetings, new acquaintances, discussions, new products, cyber immunity, and plans for the future), and get straight to our first tourism – the Giza Pyramids, no less (plus a spot of Kasperology)…

The Pyramids of Giza are probably one of the most popular and well-trodden places of interest to the tourist in the world – fantastical objects a gobsmacked public has been beholding with wonder for 4500 years already. Down the years terabytes of photos have been taken of them, zillions of tales written about them, and gazillions of scientific articles and assorted other dissertations published about them – and all that came before my short trip to see them the other week. Nevertheless, I wanted to take some photos of my own to share with you, and also to add my two cents in terms of observations and impressions of, and thoughts on, these wondrously wonderful wonders of the world…

So here we go: Cairo, Giza, the ancient Egyptian Pyramids…

My first impression: complete and utter ecstatic delight. Primordial, colossal constructions built several millennia ago! Just imagine the things they’ve endured and outlived! And did you know they were once coated in smooth granite tiles, or that the upper sections were covered in similarly smooth, perfectly white limestone? (Our guide also mentioned how there’s a hypothesis that states the peaks were covered in gold, or at least gold-colored stone.) One can only begin to wonder how grandiose such a spectacle must have been. What a civilization! And soooo long ago!

Read on…

Walk like an Egyptian.

Hi folks!

I’ve been just sooo busy of late. Not complaining one bit though, for much of that busy-ness is… the kind business I like most: travelling plenty for exhibitions, conferences, meetings, introductions, and sometimes lecturing at universities; plus – my ever-present guilty pleasure while on those same travels: small doses of tourism where I check out (preferably new-to-me) places of interest, camera always ready to hand…

Just the other day, my travels took me to a country that’s ever popular with regular tourists, but somehow I – a pro tourist :) – had never been to! Yes, you’ve seen it in the title already. And I’m sure many of you, dear readers, have been to Egypt yourselves. But moi? Jamais. Comment?! Pourqoi?!…

Indeed, though I’d visited precisely 100 countries of the world (my 100th was Angola, in 2020) before this +1, Egypt wasn’t one of them. For one reason or another, I’d always passed it by. My routes have always mostly been northerly (for example to the Americas), westerly (e.g., Europe), or easterly (Asia…). Directly south (almost) – not too often, besides Turkey perhaps…

So, finally, I’ve made it to the land of the pharaohs. Business was done (despite the traffic jams trying their best to foul up our scheduling), and the tourism was plentiful too. But of course it was. This is Egypt: more ancient history than you can shake a stick at…

No prizes for guessing which place of interest we checked out first – yes, of course, it had to be the Pyramids (who knew?!). I’ll be telling you plenty about them later; for now, in this post, some intro snaps for you:

Read on…

11.11: Twenty years to the day!

Greetings boys and girls!

Suddenly – we’ve another jubillee. Hurray!…

Our cyber-immune operating system – KasperskyOS – is today… wait. No, that’s not quite correct…

Exactly 20 years ago – on November 11, 2002 – we began a long, hugely significant journey; a journey we’re in fact still on. A large, grandiose project that will change (and is already changing!) so much in the global cybersecurity domain. And that’s not hyperbole folks – it’s for real. And to get the full (hi)story of our cyber-immune OS, we need to go back to its humble beginnings in the early 2000s…

But before I go back 20 years, let me say a few words about today – November 11, 2022. Everyone today (besides the cave-dweller) understands perfectly well the critical importance of cybersecurity. Trillions of dollars are spent today on treating the symptoms of cyber-disease, but hardly any on dealing with its root causes. And the only way to break the cycle of constant Band-Aiding those symptoms is an overhaul of the architecture of computer systems, no less. Agree? Yes? Good, and thank you!…

The first time I’d gotten an inkling about this was even earlier than 20 years ago – in the fall of… 1989! For it was then when my PC became infected with the Cascade virus, which got me all curious and prompted me to start developing protection against it and all other cyber-contagion.

Thus, curiosity killed the cat was the start of everything for us. It was why our –V anti-virus first appeared, later why Kaspersky Lab was founded, and later still why we expanded right around the globe.

Fast-forward a full 12 years after Cascade, and my understanding of the imperfection of existing operating systems and the urgent need to do something about it finally, let’s say, crystalized, and came to the surface on a practical level (apologies for this perhaps seemingly over-detailed history tree, but it is, after all, our heritage:)…

Read on…

GITEX in Dubai – with the K-flag flying high.

Every fall – since 1981! – GITEX (= Gulf IT Exhibition) takes place in Dubai. This is a reasonably comfortable time of year in the Middle East for an event such as this. It’s not so hot – just +35-38°C (!), unlike the summers with +50°C. You can even step outside and not get roasted on your way to, for example, the exhibition…

Attending exhibitions and conferences, meeting partners and customers, chatting with industry colleagues, and giving speeches and interviews – it’s all a part of my job description. It can be exhausting, but that doesn’t make it any less necessary in the fight against cyber-evil in general, and in helping advance our projects, technologies and products in particular (which dovetails back into the overall fight against cyber-evil). I even have a tag on my blog for such events all over the world – pictures from exhibition. And yes, if you know your 70s prog rock, I did indeed ~get the name from that album ).

// Btw – the cherry on the icing on the cake in terms of visual OMG-ness on this trip to Dubai comes at the end of this post. So bear with me – and no looking ahead!…

Read on…