Monthly Archives: April 2020

The natural (and not-so natural) landscapes of Tasmania.

NB: with this post – about a place I visited before the lockdown – I want to bring you some positivism, beauty and some reassurance that we’ll all get a chance to see great different places again. Meanwhile, I encourage you not to violate the stay-at-home regime. Instead, I hope you’re using this time for catching up on what you never seemed to find the time to do… ‘before’ :).

Onward we drive on our tour of Tasmania. Our next stop – the city of Launceston, whose Cataract Gorge came highly recommended:

Very picturesque! Great for walkies too…

Read on…

Tasmania – Day 2: dunes, whisky and Linux penguins.

NB: with this post about the place I visited before the lockdown I want to bring you some positivism, beauty and the reassurance that we will all get a chance to see great different places again. Meanwhile I encourage you not to violate the stay-at-home regime. Instead I hope you’re using this time for catching up on what you never seemed to find the time to do… ‘before’ :).

The western Tasmanian coastal town of Strahan is pretty and cozy, but besides fishing and the nearby disused mine, plus a for-tourists railroad, there’s nothing to do here. It is the very definition of a ‘sleepy’ backwater town.

However, a little to the west of the town there’s an awesome sandy beach, of a length of… wait for it… 30 kilometers! It’s called, appropriately, Roaring Beach, but it’s not just for sunbathing on. You can race along stretches of it. Which we did. Which I recommend!

Read on…

Flickr photostream

Instagram photostream

Security Analyst Summit – start watching tonight – from your sofa!

As many of you will know, every year we organize the mega security conference called Security Analyst Summit in an interesting (at least sunny, often sandy) location. The event is something different for the industry – never dull, never boring, never format-following. We bring together big-name speakers and guests in an exclusive invite-only format to discuss the very latest – loudest – cybersecurity news, investigations, stories, curiosities and so on. No politics! Only professional discussion of cybersecurity – but lightly, relaxed, friendly… awesomely! And we do it so well SAS is becoming one of the most important conferences in the industry. By way of example, here’s my write-up on last year’s event – in Singapore.

Now, this year’s event – our 12th! – should have opened today, April 28, in sunny Barcelona. But of course – for obvious reasons, that’s just not happening (.

However, we felt that to cancel SAS would be giving in; we couldn’t just drop it this year: how would world cybersecurity cope?! Accordingly, we decided to premiere this year’s SAS online; and not only that but… – for free (!), and for everyone and anyone who wants a taste! Soooo – here’s introducing: SAS@Home, and it’s starting later today (11am Eastern; 8am PST, 4pm London, 6pm Moscow), so hurry up and register! More than a thousand folks have already registered, so it looks like the new format isn’t putting people off. We’ll just have to see how this first online SAS goes; maybe in the future we’ll have two running parallel – online and offline!

Here’s a quick overview of the schedule:

Read on…

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Empty, but with a heart that’s still beating.

It’s been a month now since my last flight – Sydney-Doha-Moscow – after my travel companion, OA, and I completed our drive around Tasmania. Since we’d been traveling far and wide, we hunkered down for a two-week self-isolation stint as per recommendations at the time. But before those two weeks were up, as you all know, full-on lockdown kicked-in. Ouch!

As I’ve already mentioned on this blog, by early April practically our whole company switched to working remotely. Everyone at home working at full-speed-ahead with the help of the cutting edge technology. Incredible really. Even more incredible: it turns out that, according to a report on our usage of corporate video-conferencing tech, we’ve been having ~2,500 online meetings every day!

But just recently I needed to get myself to the office (taking all the necessary distancing and hygiene precautions, of course). I needed to be there in person for something: alas, not everything can be done remotely it seems (but perhaps it will soon if things carry on like they are now for much longer). Anyway, after completing the few formalities that needed to be done, I decided to have a stroll around the office. I was planning on all floors of all three buildings. But I only managed a few floors of building 2 before things got too repetitive – there was absolutely no one anywhere. Empty. Bare Vacant. Desolate. 45,000 square meters of office space deserted!…

It was all a bit eerie really. As if everyone had just gotten up and left without taking anything with them. And you can read into the ‘signs’ left as much as you like and how you like: whatever you seek, be it post-apocalyptical hints or romantic connotations – you’ll find it! Me personally I rather thought of the thousands of K-folks efficiently working from home remotely, safely – thank goodness.

Read on…

12+1 🤔 Earth questions.

The other day – Earth Day – I paused to reflect upon global warming on Earth. Today I’d like to pose 12 13 questions about the Earth – about some of its most incomprehensible and mysterious phenomena that have come to my knowledge over the years, many of which phenomena I’ve visited.

So here we go – 12 13 questions about Earth’s mysteries. Ready? Off we go…

And I’ll start… right at the bottom of Earth – in Antarctica!

I. Water in an ice desert

Practically the whole of Antarctica (with the exception of some mountains and coastal areas) are covered with thick layers of ice – compacted snow that’s fallen over the centuries millennia. But in some places there is real ice – frozen water. Like this:

Read on…

Two important questions about the Earth on Earth Day.

On Earth Daytoday – I’d like to say a few words about global warming, particularly the anthropogenic factors that contribute to it – or don’t!

I’d like to go over a few of the theories of, and interdependencies and tendencies regarding, global warming, and also compare some of the theory with the practical. I’ll do so through two two questions…

1. How will the world actually change as a result of global warming?

It is totally and blatantly obvious that the world is warming up. At a minimum in the arctic and temperate zones we can see this for ourselves.

Example: Around 40 years ago when I was a teenager, ~-20°С in winter in Moscow was the norm, -30°С was common, and the occasional dip down to -40°С or below occurred a few times a year. Such cold temperatures, it goes without saying, came with a lot of snow. Today, Christmas and New Year can come and go… without snow! WHAT?!

But it’s not just Moscow. Warming is everywhere. Take… Siberia as another example. But here the damage done may become apparent sooner rather than later: extreme global warming may see inner Siberia becoming an appendage to the Gobi Desert, with Lake Baikal surrounded by tall barkhan dunes. And that’s only after so much methane and other harmful gases have been emitted into the atmosphere that the permafrost in the region – permanently frozen for millions of years – will start to melt!

And it’s not just Russia, of course. But for some regions it will be a different thing altogether.

Take the Middle East, for example. With global warming, excessive evaporation of oceanic water could radically alter the quantity of rain in the region. This could mean the region turns into a fertile flowering garden instead of a famously barren desert. Or… maybe not. We don’t know for sure, we can only speculate!

Then there’s a theory that the current warming is the calm before the storm a mere climatic fluctuation before… an upcoming ice age!

Read on…

Tasmania mania – day 1: off we go to Strahan.

NB: with this post about the place I visited before the lockdown I want to bring you some positivism, beauty and the reassurance that we will all get a chance to see great different places again. Meanwhile I encourage you not to violate the stay-at-home regime. Instead I hope you’re using this time for catching up on what you never seemed to find the time to do… ‘before’ :).

For my further tales from Tasmanian side I’ll be leaving the very best ‘icings on the cakes’ until, appropriately, dessert. I’ll start out with the also-rans. Accordingly, overall, the plan goes like this: First check out the whole of the island, then the Tasman Peninsula, and then the Tasman National Park and its Three Capes Track. But before any of that – you need to get to Tasmania in the first place…

You get to the island in one of three ways from the Australian mainland: (i) on a ferry from Melbourne (12 hours; suitable only if you’re bringing your own car); (ii) on an airplane to Tasmania’s second city, Launceston (100,000 population); or (iii) on an airplane to Tasmania’s capital, Hobart (250,000 population). The best way is the latter, preferably in the evening. Then you can be up early the next morning, get a rental car, and off you pop in the direction of the west coast; next – north coast; then – east coast; followed by the Tasman Peninsula; finally – back to Hobart, having come full circle. That works out at 1300+km. But we were kind of making the route up as we went along; thus, we were zigzagging quite a bit, which added around 500km to our route. The car rental folks were really quite astonished by 1800km in a mere three-and-a-half days ).

Read on…

Time traveling – in Tasmania.

NB: with this post about the place I visited before the lockdown I want to bring you some positivism, beauty and the reassurance that we will all get a chance to see great different places again. Meanwhile I encourage you not to violate the stay-at-home regime. Instead I hope you’re using this time for catching up on what you never seemed to find the time to do… ‘before’ :).

These here tales from the Tasmanian side hail back to the pre-lockdown era. When planes flew in the skies, ships sailed upon the seas, more than just a trickle of cars drove on the roads, and similarly more than just a few folks walked along sidewalks. Alas, that’s all in the past; in the future too, eventually, but who knows when? All the same, I’m going to write this here blogpost as if we have traveled forward in time – to when planes actually take off and land around the world!

Now, Tasmanian tourism, at least for folks who don’t live in the southeastern corner of a world map, well, it suffers a bit a ton for one simple reason: its very location. See where I’m going with this? Here’s a clue: to get to Tasmania you first need to fly to the nearest (enormous) land mass and then take a connecting flight. And there’s that (not small) simple reason I mentioned – mainland Australia (let’s not forget that Tasmania is an island state of Australia)! And as you’ll probably know – especially if you’re a regular reader of this here blog of mine – mainland Australia is off-the-scale oh-my-grandiose when it comes to its many tourisms. I mean, there’s Sydney. There’s Surfers Paradise. There’s Ayer’s Rock (pics only; Russian text). There’s Kimberley. And a whole lot more. Accordingly, normally you need to be one of two kinds of folks to ever get as far as Tasmania: either (i) a tourist from afar (e.g., Russia!) who’s been to Oz, done Oz, and already lost the t-shirt somewhere long ago; or (ii) someone who lives in Australia! And when it comes to the mix between (i) and (ii), it’s the latter that make up most of the tourists who come visit the island.

So, considering that most of you, dear readers, have never been to Tasmania, and maybe never will (this is rather a depressing thought, as this place is outstandingly beautiful and deserves hoards of incoming tourists), I think it’s only right for someone who’s been to share with you his experiences while there and also all his photos. And so that’s just what I’ll start doing in this here post and future ones in a mini-series. So. Ready? Popcorn procured? Nacho sauce nicely warmed? Beverage of choice poured? Let the show begin!…

Read on…

Topping the Top-3: transparently, for all to see.

You might think that we were lucky – in the right place at the right time – to have started out well as an enterprise and later becoming the world’s leading cybersecurity vendor. You’d be wrong! Now let me tell you a story…

Actually, back in the day, right at the beginning of our antivirus work, I we set myself ourselves a goal. An incredibly ambitious goal.

I remember it well. My long-time friend, Alexey De Mont De Rique, and I were at the tram stop waiting for the number six tram not far from Sokol metro station in Moscow some time in 1992 – back when we’d work 12-14 hours a day (‘Daddy’s working!’ my kids called me). I suggested to Alexey that ‘we need to set ourselves a goal’. His reply came something like: ‘Ok. What goal precisely, do you really think we need to set one, and how persistent should we be in attaining it?’ Something like that, anyway. My response: ‘Our goal should be to make the best antivirus in the world!’ Alexey chuckled. But he didn’t dismiss it. Instead, we simply set out on our journey toward reaching the goal – working hard harder, and always with our goal at the back of our minds. And it worked!…

How, exactly?

With the mentioned harder work, with inventiveness, and with somehow managing to survive and prosper through those very tough times in Russia [early 90s Russia: the collapse of the Soviet Union and its command economy, the struggles to switch ‘instantly’ to a market economy, inflation, joblessness, lawlessness…]. We toiled away non-stop. I detected new viruses; Alexey coded the user interface; and the antivirus database editor, Vadim Bogdanov (Assembler Jedi), used the Force to put together the various computer tools for what I was doing. Yes – in the early 90s there were just three of us! Then four, then five, then…

Now, remember how I started this blogpost by telling you our success wasn’t a matter of being in the right place at the right time? Well, there was some luck involved: in 1994 the world’s first ‘Antivirus Olympic Games’ took place – independent testing of security software at the University of Hamburg. Sure, we were lucky that this independent testing took place. But it wasn’t luck that we won!

Oh yes. We got the gold (a trend that has stuck with us to this day – as I’ll detail in this post). So from almost the very get-to, we got the very highest results in Hamburg. But it was catching. We kept on getting golds in other independent tests that were established around that time. Hurray!

Read on…

Table Mountain: heavenly going up; hellish coming down…

NB: with this post about the place I visited before the lockdown I want to bring you some positivism, beauty and the reassurance that we will all get a chance to see great different places again. Meanwhile I encourage you not to violate the stay-at-home regime. Instead I hope you’re using this time for catching up on what you never seemed to find the time to do… ‘before’ :).

After we’d checked it from a chopper – it was time for a cable-car ride up the hill that’s a whopper: Table Mountain!

We got up to the top in a funicular car, which has a rotating floor (like in some TV towers) so you get to see all 360 degrees of the view below!

Backgrounder (including its height – 1085 meters above today’s sea level):

Off we go!…

Read on…