Monthly Archives: March 2017

A Caribbean Cyber-Summit: Gotta Love it.

A long time ago, in the prehistoric digital era, in a world of big trees while we were a mere bonsai, we started throwing a yearly conference for a select few of the most forward-thinking experts in information security. We christened it the Security Analyst Summit (SAS for short), and right from the get-go we wanted to make it the best event of its kind in the world. And when I say best, I mean both in terms of content:

…And in terms of a relaxed and fun atmosphere:

And to make the best even more memorable for all who take part in it, we traditionally throw SAS at a location with among the most unbearable conditions in the world. That is, always next to beach in a tropical clime :-).

Read on: Example…

Jersey in a Day.

Hi folks!

Herewith, more tales from Jersey.

I wasn’t quite expecting it but the island is a very beautiful one. It’s very green, with brightly colored flowers in places (in-between the potato fields). To the north it’s all rocks and cliffs along the coast. In good weather you can see the neighboring islands, and even a bit of France to the east.

In the evening we got to see a nice sunset above the sea:

But anyway. You might be wondering what we were doing on Jersey. Of course – working; plus touristy bits added on, as always ).

Read on: favorite work…

Oysterry Fields Forever.

Jersey feeds itself with the plentiful supply of potatoes that grows here; but all carbs and no protein is good for no man, woman or child, as you’ll all know. God knows this too, clearly, because he gave Jersey plentiful coastlines which, in combination with suitable climatic conditions, are the perfect place for oyster (protein!) breeding plantations. Which is where, unexpectedly, we were headed for a continuation of our touristic inspection of the island – shrouded by a thick fog and on the most unusual means of transport.


Read on: Here’s our ride

Jersey, pt. 1: A Hoard of Celtic Cash.

Hi folks – from the Bailiwick of Jersey, UK. Time for some touristic study of the history, ethnography, and other places and things of interest on this curious little island in the English Channel just a stone’s throw from France.

All righty. Before I get started here, er, could someone in the audience please tell me whether Jersey is an independent state or not? Why do ask? So I know whether I can add a +1 to my ‘been-to’ list of countries, of course!

The other reason I ask is that I couldn’t work it out for myself. I mean, WHAT?!: “[Jersey is] a Crown dependency of the United Kingdom, ruled by the Crown in right of Jersey. … Jersey was part of the Duchy of Normandy, whose dukes went on to become kings of England from 1066. After Normandy was lost by the kings of England in the 13th century, and the ducal title surrendered to France, Jersey and the other Channel Islands remained attached to the English crown. … Jersey is a self-governing parliamentary democracy under a constitutional monarchy, with its own financial, legal and judicial systems, and the power of self-determination.”!!!

Ok, I’ll just have to work it out by the feel of the place… And it sure does feel like the UK. The houses lining the roads, the signposts (all facing the wrong way:), the license plates (on cars driving on the wrong side of the road:), the open fire in the hotel, the cricket grounds, the fog, and the money with a Queen called Elizabeth on it… yep – sure all looks and feels like the UK to me. Curiously, one thing that doesn’t seem quite so typically British is the openness of the inhabitants and how easy it is to strike up a conversation with them! Or maybe it just seemed that way in the opaque atmosphere of existence here.

I mentioned the money; well, they’re pounds all right – just a little different (‘Jersey pounds‘):

Read on: Jersey’s an interesting place…

+1 Enterprise Intelligence Service: Introducing Our Cyberthreat X-Ray!

Human beings are a curious lot. It’s in their nature to try and get to the ‘whys’ and ‘hows’ of everything and anything. And this applies in cybersecurity too; in fact – doubly so: getting to the ‘whys’ and ‘hows’ of cyberthreats is the very basis upon which cybersecurity is built; thus, upon which KL is built.

Getting to the ‘whys’ and ‘hows’ for us means meticulously taking apart every cyberattack into its respective constituent pieces, analyzing it all and, if necessary, developing specific protection against it. And it’s always better to do this proactively, based on the mistakes of others, and not waiting until what we protect is attacked.

To solve this challenging task we’ve a slew of intelligence services for enterprises. In this collection of cyber-precision-tools there’s staff training, security intelligence services to come up with detailed information about discovered attacks, expert penetration-testing services, app-audits, incident investigations, and more.

Well now the ‘and more’ includes our new service – KTL (Kaspersky Threat Lookup) – the smart microscope for dissecting suspicious objects and uncovering the sources/tracking histories of cyberattacks, multivariate correlations, and degrees of danger for corporate infrastructure. Quite the X-ray for cyberthreats.

Actually, all our users already has the lite-version of this service. The security rating of a file can also be checked with our home products, but enterprise customers need a deeper, more thorough analysis of threats.

To begin with, KTL can be used to check not only files, but also URLs, IP addresses and domains. It can analyze objects for the hallmarks of targeted attacks, behavioral and statistical specifics, WHOIS/DNS data, file attributes, download chains, and others.

Read on: Special search engine…

An Improved Formula for Formula 1.

Another year, another beer F1 – in Ferrari red, of course.

Around this time of year Formula One fans start emerging from their winter hibernation in preparation for the upcoming season. And that upcoming season is just two weeks away! Indeed, on March 24-26 the engines will be roaring, the tires will be burning, and the sleek polished bodies of the racing cars will be sparkling in the bright sun down in Melbourne. Get ready for much flag-waving, much honking of sirens, colossal crowds, and millions of fans all around the world glued to their TVs…

It’s harder than ever to say who will do well this season and who won’t. For those who might not be budding F1 fanatics, let me tell you that this is because the FIA (governing body for world motor sport, which among other things sets the rules for racing) every year makes adjustments to F1 rules to make the sport more entertaining and competitive, and to be able to show off the very latest super F1 tech. Well this year the FIA has gone one further and changed the regulations to such an extent that making predictions as to results has turned into a thanklessly futile pursuit: there’ve been just soooo many changes; and how they will affect the different teams is anyone’s guess.

For the low down on just how they’ve stirred the soup this year I’ll hand over the reins here to D.M., editor of Kaspersky Motorsport. She’s much more knowledgeable of all things F1, and as a result also much better able to explain all its intricacies…

“In recent years F1 has become rather unpredictable, and therefore less entertaining. In order to bring back some of the intrigue, the FIA has overhauled both the sporting and technical regulations. 

What stands out most of all regarding the changes made are the wider tires – boosting both downforce and grip. Also, a wider front wing span and a return to a wider and higher diffuser, which create better aerodynamics. Ok – now for the details…

So what’s been changed as regards the technical regulations?

1) The front wing has a new shape, giving the car more of a combative look. It’s now further from the chassis: the length of the nose cone has grown from 850 to 1050mm, while the front wing span has grown from 1650 to 1800mm. One of the reasons for this is to improve air flow around the new, wider tires.

2) The diffuser has increased in size: to 175mm in height from 125mm, and to 1050mm in width from 1000mm. It’s also longer, now extending ahead of the rear axle line.

3) The chassis is now 200mm wider – maximum: 1600mm; minimum: 1400 (the height has remained the same – 950mm.

Ferrari SF70H vs Ferrari SF16H

4) The side-pod flow deflectors have increased in size.

Ferrari SF70H vs Ferrari SF16H

5) The maximum weight has been increased from 702 to 722kg (without fuel).

6) The width of the brake disks has been increased from 28 to 32mm. 

7) Thanks to the new construction parameters, the cars should be doing laps around three or four seconds faster this season, so the downforce has been increased by 15-20%: to maintain sufficient grip with the track surface at higher speeds, wider tires were needed, thus introduced.

Pirelli will be fitting front tires that are 25% wider than last season (305mm up from 245), and rear ones that are 30% wider (405mm up from 325mm). All this, as mentioned, improves traction; also acceleration and braking. The diameter of the tires has increased a little (from 660mm to 670), while wheel size stays the same (13 inches).

8) The effect of the drag reduction system (DRS) has increased. That is, it will generate more downforce and have higher drag. As a result cars will be able to open a special wing and gain as much as six or seven miles per hour. 

Other Changes

1) Helmets:

Drivers must continue to use essentially the same helmet design at all races for easy recognition of the driver in the car. However, each driver is now allowed to use a special livery at one event of his choosing, such as a home race for example. Drivers will also be allowed to change their helmet liveries if changing teams during the season.

2) Power Units:

A rule change has been made to prevent drivers stockpiling spare power unit elements. During any single event, if a driver introduces more than one power unit element that is subject to a grid penalty, only the last element fitted may be used at subsequent events without further penalty.

A number of changes have also been introduced aimed at reducing power unit costs, guaranteeing supply for customer teams, and closing the performance gap between engines:

– the power unit price for customer teams has been reduced by €1m per season compared to 2016.

– the previous ‘token’ system for in-season engine development has been removed.

– Additionally, constraints on power unit part weights, dimensions and materials, and on boost pressure, are being introduced in 2017 and in 2018.

3) Tires: 

As before, the teams must inform the FIA of their slick tire choices no less than eight weeks before the start of each European race and fourteen weeks before the start of each event held outside Europe.

For 2017 only, because the tire selection deadline for the first five Grands Prix falls before pre-season testing, for these events Pirelli (the single tire supplier) will allocate two sets of the hardest compound specification, four sets of the medium compound specification and seven sets of the softest compound specification to each driver.

4) Outsourcing restrictions: 

Since Haas F1 debuted in 2016 with much success thanks to close cooperation with Ferrari and Dallara, some restrictions have been introduced this year on outsourcing.

If a team does outsource, including being supplied with components from third-party suppliers, then the time spent using aerodynamic chambers and use of CFD technology connected with such contracts is now strictly regulated, and the team is obliged to give the FIA detailed reports on any such testing.

Besides, rules on team specialists moving to another team have been clarified, among other things to prevent leaks of confidential technical information. Now, all teams must inform the FIA of any significant changes to their personnel, and also present evidence that all reasonable measures to prevent information leakage are taken.

5) Power Unit Supply: 

New rules have been introduced on the supply of power units. This was done to prevent a repeat of the situation in 2015 when the Red Bull and Toro Rosso teams could have ended up without contracts for the supply of power units for the following season. To ensure the supply of power units to customer teams, the homologation procedure now includes an ‘obligation to supply’ that is activated in the event of a team facing an absence of supply.”

—8<—

I think that these changes will see a significant shake-up of the F1 status quo and seriously homogenize teams’ performance; this in turn will make the races much more neck-and-neck, interesting and exciting. And of course it provides good opportunities for Ferrari! The red team is strong and its drivers are too. Yep, it has everything set for an excellent season, and finally place the car with our logo on it into the hall of fame of this legendary marque :).

PS: Well done and thank you D.M.!

Barcelona-Kiev-Yerevan.

Surprisingly, Kiev turned out to be the best connection on the journey from Barcelona to Yerevan.

For the first time in my life I flew Ukrainian Airlines. It is basically fine. Only the seats in business class are cramped and uncomfortable (as with most European companies) – they’re the same as in economy class, only three seats are used for two passengers. If the person sitting in front leans back, it becomes very difficult to do any work on a laptop – the keyboard ends up at your throat. You know how it is. What else didn’t I like – well, during the transfer at Boryspil we parked up on the tarmac, and only one bus was sent to transfer all the passengers of a Boeing 737-800. We were packed in like sardines.

Everything else was fine. The smiles of the stewardesses and good service completely made up for the cramped seats. The new terminal D was clean and spacious, and the WiFi was fast (the most important thing!).

Read on:

F1 warm up, Barcelona-style.

Quite unexpectedly, it turns out that the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona is taking place at the same time that the F1 teams are test driving at the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya. Well, obviously we have to go there! And, well, here we are!

During these test sessions the venues are usually deserted – no noisy crowds, no stony-faced security, no rushing to and from one part of the track to another and none of the hot dog fast-food smells. Nothing!

What’s new?

Read on: A fly in the ointment…