Monthly Archives: April 2019

Masada – from up in the sky and down on the ground.

The Masada fortress – oh my Great Herod! What a checkered history. The uprising of the Jews against the Romans. The seizing of Jerusalem, the remains of the rebels locked inside the walls of the fortification on the flat top of this inaccessible mountain with vertical cliff faces all around it.

A siege of three (3!) years. The Romans constructed a ramp and eventually entered the fortress – but so as not to end up as prisoners, slaves – or dead – the defenders of the fortress (around a thousand inhabitants, including women and children) committed mass suicide. A ghastly tale – from the first century BC.

I’d already been to Masada. I didn’t write all that much about the place back then, but I do recall plenty of emotions during my visit. Places like this need returning to – so I returned…

Read on…

Rain – in the desert.

Ladies and gents, boys and girls!

If you wake up one morning in a hotel room and open the drapes to see this here scene – don’t rush with the cheerfulness. Appearances can be deceiving…

So, what’s not right in that pic? First: the beach – it’s empty, as in – no folks. Second: not a single human head to be seen bobbing about on that there sea. Third: those palms are looking more than a little distressed with their leaves flapping about frantically in the wind.

So yes, this is not a day for the beach. But not to worry – that means it’s a day… for a helicopter excursion!

Read on

Flickr photostream

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Auto-future – today.

Having recently been in Maranello to see the unveiling of the new Ferrari F1 racing car, I want to return to the automotive theme for this post. Because coming up there’s a new chapter in the ~250-year history of the automobile. It’s a biggie in itself, but there’s a security aspect of this new chapter that’s even bigger. But I’m getting ahead of myself. Time to engage reverse, and go over this biggie first…

Of late, the headlines have been pretty interesting regarding the modern automobile– plus what one will look like in a few years to come. Examples: California will legalize the testing of self-driving cars on public roads, Swedish gravel trucks will load up, drive for miles and unload with no driver at the wheel, and KAMAZ has come up with a driver-less electric mini-bus. Google, Yandex, Baidu, and who knows how many other companies from different spheres and countries are developing driverless projects. Of course, some of the headlines go against the grain, but these are mere exceptions it seems.

And just recently I was at the food processing plant of Barilla (our client, btw) in Italy, and saw more automation than you can shake a spatula at: the automated conveyor delivers up tons of spaghetti; robots take it, package it, and place it into boxes; and driverless electric cars take it to and load it into trucks – which aren’t yet automated but soon will be…

So, self-controlled/self-driving vehicles – they’re here already, in some places. Tomorrow, they’ll be everywhere. And without a trace of sarcasm, let me tell you that this is just awesome. Why? Because a transportation system based on self-driving vehicles that operate strictly to a set of rules, has a little chance of degradation of productivity. Therefore, cars won’t only travel within the prescribed speed limits, they’ll do so faster, safely, comfortably, and of course – automatically. At first there’ll be special roads only for driverless vehicles, later – whole cities, then countries will be driverless. Can you imagine the prospects for the upgrade market for old driver-driven cars?

That out the way, now comes the interesting bit – the reason for so many words in this here blogpost. Let’s go!…

Read on…

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Football evil-eye: banished!

Guten tag, boys and girls!

Something very serious has happened in my life…

For most of it – my life, that is – whenever I’d watch a football (soccer) match in a stadium, the home team I’d (nominally) be supporting (I’ve never really chosen any particular team to support more than any other)… would always lose! Even when I’d watch a match on the box – ‘our’ team would lose! It’s a bit like how I’d turn up to a Grand Prix – and Ferrari would lose.

Anyway, it looks like, finally, the spell has been broken. For the other day I was in the stands watching a home match of Eintracht Frankfurt – and they won! Hurray – for Eintracht, and for me: now I can watch some footy and enjoy it like everyone else with no fear of jinxing the result!

Read on…

A familiar Kamchatkan grizzly face – in a town in Switzerland.

Hi folks!

The other day I was strolling about the photogenic small city of Fribourg in Switzerland. It was so photogenic my camera seemed to take pics of its own accord! Anyway, you’ll see pics my Sony auto-took a bit later in this post; but for now – a lengthy digression!…

I hadn’t been to Fribourg before, so this was a +1 to the number of towns and cities I’ve visited. And this +1 closely coincided with a question I was asked just recently on the KL Fan Club: ‘How many towns/cities have you visited?’ Well, having visited a full 91 countries, it was clear that totting up the number of towns and cities wouldn’t be all that easy: first, I’d need to recall each one; second – er, but what exactly is a ‘town‘, and what exactly is a ‘city‘?

Read on…

Ecuadorian journeyman – 2019: Quito and home!

Hi folks!

After our excursion around the Galapagos Islands, it was time to return to the mainland and to Ecuador‘s capital – Quito for a proper look round. We’d flown over it a few times already, and stayed in a few hotels en route to or from the airport but not investigated the place on the ground.

Maybe there are parts of the city that are well-designed, well-built built, with lots of greenery and leafiness and overall pleasantness; however, we only saw such a place once – the city’s central square.

The rest of the city – at least those parts we saw – leave a lot to be desired. Untidy, ungroomed, seemingly no plan for town-planning ever, and traffic worse that Moscow’s – and that’s saying something. The old town looks much better and there are some neighborhoods that are interesting (for example, where our hotel was located), but even those – I’d hardly call them charming. Alas, the city is lagging behind other Latin American capitals I know of.

One aggravating factor the city’s huge population all crammed into one relatively small area. To compare, Quito covers nine times less area than Moscow, but its population is just 5.8 times less. But Moscow is a city of practically nothing but high-rise buildings; Quito rarely gets much above two floors across the whole city.

Here are some tourists lapping up Quito’s suburban sprawl. It’s not quite a favela, but it’s getting there. There are some places where the houses are better, but they still seem to be made of non-standard materials and hardly ever painted.

I have a simple rule when visiting a new city: the best way to get a proper feel for it is by taking a stroll through it. First decide on a route, then follow it. Here in Quito it went from the Virgin of Quito monument back to our hotel. Alas, I didn’t get a pic of said monument; you’ll have to make do with one I found on the internet:

Read on…

Quito’s volcano: we couldn’t say no.

Since Ecuador itself and also its Galapagos Islands are both crammed with snowy-peaked volcanism, you might have expected that, after a full two-week expedition there, we’d have been to the top of at least some volcanoes. Well, I guess I would have expected the same too. However, we were on a take-it-easy, contemplative/meditative trip – not a high-octane, stamina-stretching, intense, head-down, onward-and-upward marching one. And one other not unimportant reason – actually, more important than the one just given – is the fact that the snow-capped peaks here are all almost stratospheric – clocking in mostly above five, and sometimes even six thousand meters high. And as any keen volcanist knows – that means acclimatization needs taking very seriously and lots of specialized kit is required; but, like I said – we were in chill-mode throughout the whole expedition, not serious-mode.

However, we did get one teenie-weenie bit of volcanism in – up the ‘easy’ volcano that shrouds Quito: Pichincha. Here are some pics therefrom:

Read on…

New transparency – in Madrid!

Hola, amigos!

Toward the end of last year we opened our first Transparency Center and a Data Center in Zurich, Switzerland, dedicated to processing data for our customers in Europe. Though that’s just short of five months ago, it’s become clear that this large-scale project reflects perfectly the current concerns regarding the cybersecurity industry in today’s geopolitical climate.

Both the business community and government agencies are reeeaaaal keen on one thing at the moment: crystal clear transparency. And no wonder! In times when any company can be accused at the highest official level of whatever digressions can be thought up – with zero evidence (are you following the Huawei saga?) – both business and state regulators all over the world are left with no other option than to conduct their own analysis and seek out the actual facts (and also use something that is alarming lacking of late: common sense).

It was for this reason that our first Transparency Center has turned out to be both very timely and very useful: it’s visited regularly by our partners and European officials. And I’m very pleased that we’ve become pioneers in the cybersecurity industry with our global openness initiative.

And on the back of the early successes of our Zurich centers, to continue the meet the needs of the market we’re opening another Transparency Center – in Madrid. Hola, amigos! Besides, by the end of the year we’ll open yet another – in Asia.

The function of the new centers will be the same: accessing both our source code and updates. And in Spain colleagues will be on hand to tell visitors about the finer details of our technologies, products and services – in the showroom there.

So, soon, expect to see the pics from the grand opening – right here on this blog. Stay tuned!

Kaspersky Lab’s Data Center in Zurich

And just in, some more news on the theme of ‘demolishing myths’…

We’re publishing some research findings of a respected independent expert on Russian legal matters – Prof. Dr. Kaj Hobér of Uppsala University, Sweden. The professor has been studying the intricacies of the Russian legal system now for more than 30 years. He started this back when Russia was still in the Soviet Union, having lived for several years in Moscow. And he’s been an arbiter in over 400 arbitration cases. In short, a very impressive CV and a very impressive individual, whose utmost professionalism it’d be hard to doubt.

His research concerns three Russian laws relating to the processing and storage of data. Now, some ‘experts’ and journalists often make reference to these laws when they write about KL. But doing so is just soooo off the mark! This independent analysis proves how we (KL) aren’t bound by any of the three laws – for one simple reason: we aren’t an internet service provider or mobile phone company! For it’s only internet providers and mobile operators that are bound by the three laws. We aren’t. And that’s that! So, let’s take, say, the Yarovaya law: it’s not our headache at all, as it doesn’t affect us at all!

So please, dear experts and journalists and bloggers, please base your judgements on facts, logic, and now independent irrefutable expert analysis – not on the country a company may hail from or on the sensationalist false allegations serving the current geopolitical agenda.

 

Ecuador-2019: Cotacachi/Cuicocha, Otavalo, Puertolago.

Our tour of the Galapagos was over. All that was left to do was fit in our traditional few days of ‘decompression’ after the extreme part of our expedition before we were to head back home. This was to take place back on mainland Ecuador…

…So much for the ‘decompression’ bit: for our next Ecua-dish on the menu was… volcanism ). Yes, we headed over to Cotacachi Volcano and its lovely caldera/lake called Cuicochahere – around two hours drive from Quito.

The height of the caldera differs depending on whom you ask – among locals, various internets, and our own GPS locators. Our locators gave us figures which tallied with what the locals told us: from 3100 to 3450 meters, making the lake around 3km above sea level! And it all looks something like this:

A fairly easy path runs the full way round the lake, which takes around four or five hours if walking at a gentle pace (decompression, remember?:) – or six or seven hours if non-stop-stopping for snapping the super scenery, which is of course what we did. It’s a wonderful day’s walking, and the path is helpfully dotted with clear signs:

Read on…