Mathematics – the queen of sciences.

Hi all!

There will be two topics today: 1) where to go to study; and 2) a brain teaser – how can you obtain all the numbers from 0 to 100 using the digits 1, 4, 0, and 9. Let’s start with number one.

1) I often get asked: “What sort of education should my kid get? Which subjects are likely to be in demand in the future?”

I do not pretend to be an all-knowing visionary, but I have absolutely no doubt about the answer to this one: teach your kids mathematics! It’s the most fundamental, most indispensable and the greatest of all the sciences. Learning it opens the door to lots of different and wonderful professions. Good mathematicians can then become anything they want, including a perfectly successful humanities major (there are numerous areas where mathematics is applied in humanities, and this number will only keep growing).

Or, to look at it another way, I can safely say I’ve never heard of a humanities student becoming a successful mathematician… It’s just unheard of. Looking back at my life, I think that if it hadn’t been for the Kolmogorov Physics and Mathematics Boarding School (aka AESC MSU), many things in my life may have turned out very differently.

The school maintained very high standards – our brains were permanently going into overdrive. We had classes six days a week, several different math disciplines, advanced physics classes with lab sessions, plus all the other classes as per the regular school curriculum. Despite the heavy academic workload, we had a very happy and interesting time at school. A childhood imbued with physics and mathematics…

That’s why I was very glad when last year, as part of the Mathematical Vertical project, an experimental Grade 7 class was opened in Moscow school 1409. It is the first building block in the foundation of that Mathematical Vertical that has the same name as my company – MVK for short.

Year 7 became year 8, and will then become year 9, and, in cooperation with the school, we will draft a new class or two each year. That way, the desired vertical will be constructed: there will be the specialized classes 7, 8 and 9, then, after such serious preparation, there will be the engineering classes for years 10 and 11. The graduate students will then be able to enter the best technological universities. And then the kids will come to work for us! (said with a sly squint while rubbing my hands) :) And everyone’s a winner! Well, everyone except the cybercriminals of course :)

The Mathematical Vertical project was designed by the Moscow Department of Education as a necessary upgrade of the entire system of teaching math in years 7-9 – a radically new model. If, in a couple of years, it proves to be successful, it will become the benchmark for the entire country. Meanwhile, we are acting as an ally and partner for School 1409 in the implementation of the project. Kaspersky employees are taking an active part in the educational process, teaching the Information Security course to the MVK class and to interested students from the year 10 and 11 engineering classes.

Picture by Anastasia Shayakhmetova, Class 8M

Last Friday, I finally had time to visit the school and talk to the students under our patronage, giving them some math problems and steering them onto the true, highly interesting, albeit complicated, path and revealing a mass of opportunities. In short, I told them why they need to study hard and then work hard.

I’ve actually visited the school a couple of times before, and was pleasantly surprised. Many universities would love to have the sort of teaching equipment they have: apart from hundreds of computers, dozens of interactive whiteboards and robotics sets, the engineering and medical classes are equipped with a 3D printer, a 3D scanner, an atomic molecular microscope and other technological miracles. Back in my day, the equipment was usually limited to desks, chairs and a blackboard :)

I was pleased with my visit: the kids’ eyes were shining with enthusiasm, they asked interesting questions, and they promised to solve the tasks I set! I’ll check the next time I visit.

2) This is the main problem I set them:

You are given the digits 1, 4, 0, 9. Use the math knowledge you have received in school, namely the basic arithmetic operations (adding, subtracting, multiplying and dividing), plus raising to a power, extracting a root and factorial, to obtain all the numbers from zero to 100. You can glue numbers together and rearrange them in any order you want. For example:

0 = 0*149. Or, in a more crafty way: = 0! – 149
10 = 10 * ( √9- √4 )

You cannot turn numbers upside down, i.e., you cannot make a 6 from a 9 by turning it upside down. However, you can make a 6 from a 9 using a square root and a factorial:

6 = (√9)!

UPD1: You can use the digits just once (this is somewhat obvious, otherwise “1+1+…+1+0*49” to make any natural number).

UPD2: it’s not permitted to round numbers. Otherwise, that would be simply cheating with roots and factorials.

I wonder if all numbers from 0 to 100 can be derived from such actions. If not – what other knowledge from the school mathematics course needs to be added to the conditions?

Biometrics. Lord of the ring!

It’s now perfectly normal to unlock your phone or computer with a fingerprint – nobody would bat an eyelid. In fact, more and more biometric data is being collected, whether it be facial, voice or iris recognition. This type of authentication appears to be very reliable because every human’s physical and behavioral features are unique. However, very few think of where all that data is stored and how it’s protected. What if somebody gains access to it?

According to our experts, in Q3 2019 alone, 37% of computers used to store and process biometric data faced the risk of a malware infection at least once. Of these, more than 5% were infected with spyware. The main sources of infection were the internet, removable media such as flash drives, and email clients.

When your password is leaked, it’s annoying, but it’s easy to change it. But what do you do if cybercriminals get access to your fingerprints? You don’t have a spare set of fingers! We’ve given the problem some thought … and come up with a solution! :)

In early December in Milan, together with Swedish designer Benjamin Waye, we presented a unique prototype ring used for authentication.

Read on…

Flickr photostream

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Reaping the fruits.

The year is coming to a close, and it’s only natural to sum up the various results of the last 12 months. So here’s a triple whammy of good news:

1) Our business security solution won the Gartner Peer Insights Customers’ Choice in the Endpoint Security Solutions category for the third consecutive year. This year, it scored 4.6 points out of five, based on 1,747 reviews from real users. Gartner Peer Insights is an independent platform where corporate customers can leave positive or negative feedback on the products they use and give them scores. Customer’s Choice is ranked based on the scores vendors receive from users, taking into account both the quality and quantity of feedback. Gartner ensures there are no bots or cheats. We’re constantly improving our products and refining our features. And winning the Gartner rating for the third consecutive year is the best proof that users see it and appreciate it.

Read on…

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Cybernews: If Aramco had our Antidrone…; and honeypots to make IoT malware stop!

Hi folks!

Recently there was a Cyber News from the Dark Side item of oh-my-Gulf proportions. You’ll no doubt have heard about it as it was all over the news for days just recently. It was the drone attack on Saudi Aramco that took out millions of barrels of crude per day and caused hundreds of millions of dollars in damage.

Alas, I’m afraid this is only the beginning. Remember those drones bringing Heathrow – or was it Gatwick? – to a standstill a while back? Well this is just a natural progression. There’ll be more, for sure. In Saudi, the Houthis claimed responsibility, but both Saudi and the US blame Iran; Iran denies responsibility. In short – same old saber-rattling in the Middle East. But that’s not what I want to talk about here – that’s geopolitics, which we don’t do, remember? ) No, what I want to talk about is that, as the finger-pointing continues, in the meantime we’ve come up with a solution to stop drone attacks like this one on Aramco. Soooo, ladies and gents, I hereby introduce to the world… our new Antidrone!

So how does it work?

The device works out the coordinates of a moving object, a neural network determines whether it’s a drone, and if it is, blocks the connection between it and its remote controller. As a result the drone either returns back to where it was launched, or it lands below where it is up in the sky when intercepted. The system can be stationary, or mobile – e.g., for installation on a motor vehicle.

The main focus of our antidrone is protection of critically important infrastructure, airports, industrial objects, and other property. The Saudi Aramco incident highlighted how urgently necessary such technology is in preventing similar cases, and it’s only going to become more so: in 2018 the world market for drones was estimated at $14 billion; by 2024 it’s forecast to be $43 billion!

Clearly the market for protection against maliciously-minded drones is going to grow too – fast. However, at the moment, our Antidrone is the only one on the Russian market that can detect objects by video using neural networks, and the first in the world to use laser scanning for tracking down the location of drones.

Read on…

Guess which company made the ‘Top-100 Global Innovators’!

Hi folks!

Regular readers of my blog will know how I occasionally write about some of our less noticeable – but no less important – business successes: those related to our patents and how they help us fight – incredibly – not just cyber-evil, but also patent trolls who do nothing but hinder technological progress.

I said ‘success’. Well here’s out latest: we’ve become the first Russian company to enter the Derwent Top 100 Global Innovators! Hurray!

Read on…

Please move forward – by one year!

Konichiwa folks!

October 4 has caught up with me again – suddenly, I’m 54 years old! Goodness!

It was as if leading Russian business daily Kommersant knew my b-day was coming up – including me in their 1000 Best Russian Managers – 2019 listing [Russian language]. Nice! Thank you: that was my first birthday present! Am much obliged.

Even nicer was seeing a full four K-bosses in the Top-100/Top-50 rankings in the same newspaper in their respective lines of work:

Hurray! Well done all of you! This just shows: we’re moving in the right direction.

// And I’ve been shown the financial results of our Japanese office for the first three quarters of the year. Very pleasing they are too. Hurray again! That’s another perfect present for me. Thank you! Kanpai!

The St. Petersburg International Forum – despite problems, still awesome.

Hi folks!

As mentioned in my previous post, I was up early down in Sochi after the long toasts the night before, and heading to the airport. Next stop – St. Petersburg; specifically – its International Economic Forum, which I was attending for the first time.

For nearly a quarter of a century SPIEF has been impressing with its scale and the caliber of its participants. Official figures state the number of those taking part this year at more than 19,000 – coming from 145 countries of the world. And that includes CEOs of multinationals, and ministers and presidents of countries – all toing and froing and hobnobbing and speaking up on stages, often with their deputies and press services not far away.

So. SPIEF. Herewith, the plusses:

It’s really convenient: in a short time it’s possible give a presentation in among other heavyweight speakers, give a slew of interviews, and meet and chew the fat with whomever you need to or want to – all under one roof and within two or three days. Indeed, this is the whole reason for forums such as these. Also – St. Pete isn’t far for me, plus it’s always a pleasure having a stroll up and down Nevsky. In short – the plusses are very substantial plusses.

Now – the minuses:

The traffic jams! Not that this is the forum’s fault, but still. From our hotel in Pushkin on the outskirts of the city to the ExpoForum Center it’s just a seven-kilometer drive (and you totally miss out downtown!), but every morning we were more than an hour getting there! First, because they reduced the width of the normally three-lane highway to just one lane; second, because the security checks at the entrance to the complex took so long; third, apparently, because there was a complete and utter – catastrophic – absence of any public transportation serving the event. Organizers: I hope you’re reading. In three words: ‘GET A GRIP’! Don’t let such basic logistics matters spoil an otherwise excellent event!

Wait – there are more minuses!…

The signage and guidance around the ExpoForum Center was idiotic. We twice ended up walking around in circles in trying to follow the signs to get from point A to point B – which were a mere 100 meters apart! Next, the line at lunch was so absurdly long I gave up waiting and went hungry. I don’t have time to waste like that! I’m sure the other participants don’t either. So, what, bring sandwiches next time? Looks like it, given such progressive organization of the catering arrangements.

Read on: The St. Petersburg International Forum – despite problems, still awesome.

Sochny Sochi, and lots of toastski.

Oh my grueling! The other week was reeeaaal high-pressure. Geographically, it went like this:

Moscow > Sochi > St. Petersburg > Moscow. Five days, three cities, two events, five hours in planes, and around 10 hours in cars.

So, like, why?…

First, there was our traditional global conference I had to get to. A quick bit of background to begin with:

A long time ago, when we were just a wee company, we started to gradually grow the number of partners we had all around the world. And when visiting one such technology partner, we saw how it put on yearly international partner conferences. ‘Great idea!’, we thought, and soon later – we put on one of our own: in 1999 we organized our first ever global partner conference, which took place in Moscow and which was attended by 15 guests from Europe, the U.S. and Mexico.

The following year, we spread our wings just a little further – with our partner conference taking place up in St. Petersburg. The year after that – Cyprus (attended for the first time by partners from Asia and Australia); after that – Barcelona; after that – Malta; next – Antaliya, Turkey; Portugal; Athens, Greece. It was when it came to Italy’s turn to host our partner conference that we realized that, for sure, we simply could not fit any longer into the regular conference halls in large hotels. And so it came to pass – we were all grown-up all of a sudden. Like with all children eventually – it was time for a bigger room ).

Thing is, we really didn’t want to bump the format up to expo-center level; therefore, from 2008, we decided to split the large global events into smaller, regional ones: North America, Latin America (sometimes together with North), Europe (including some sub-regional conferences), Russia (held in the Russian language), APAC (Asia & Oceania), and Japan (which had its own for a while). And everything was hunky-dory.

Later, having another think about all this, we figured we should have a special international get-together for our favorite, most successful partners. Thus – what goes around comes around – the international partner conference was back, albeit in a different format.

So, two years ago (in 2017), our first global ‘greatest hits’ partner conference took place – much like our first ‘demo tape’ did back in 1999 – closer to at home, in Moscow (I didn’t write anything then about it as June 2017 was fraught with other pressing business). The following year, again, we chose St. Petersburg as the host city, and that time I did manage to write a few words thereon.

Then, this year (the third year), we traveled a little futher from home (like to Cyprus in 2001)… to sochni (‘juicy’ in Russian) Sochi on the Black Sea in Southwestern Russia! Yes, where the Winter Olympics were held in 2014 – that Sochi ).

We’d thought long and hard about where this year’s global partner conference should be. Eventually, remembering that June is the perfect month to visit Sochi – not too hot, the Black Sea is refreshing but bathable (yep, we had a frolic therein), and up in the mountains above the city it’s pleasantly cool – Sochi got the most votes. And why not? Why not show our visitors this wonderful, unique city? So in everyone flew – all 140 of us, including 98 guests from abroad – from 35 countries, and all in order to talk business and its development.

Of course, Sochi isn’t the most convenient of locations to get to for everyone – especially those coming from America, Australia or Africa. Most folks needed more than one connecting flight, with some journeys taking 40 hours! But it was worth it: the infrastructure put in place for the Olympics is all still there, and can easily impress even the most sophisticated of international guest. And for a boost in immunity – especially cyber-immunity – at this time of year there’s no better place in Russia!

The event took place in the Hyatt Regency:

Woah. Hold on – deja-vu!…

Read on…

Earth 2050: Visions of the future, today.

You may have already heard about the big change at the Kompany last week. However, big changes are nothing new to us! Ever since we began 22 years ago, it’s been non-stop change, change, change — and always for the better, naturally. Change has basically become our profession! Here’s why…

If we don’t understand the direction technology’s developing in, that hardly bodes well for the future. And I don’t mean because nobody will buy our products. Maybe there’ll be no one around to buy them in the first place!

Joke :)

I’m sure everything will work out just fine. Technology’s changing the world for the better. Sure, new possibilities bring new risks, but it’s always been that way.

But our job, accordingly, is to look into the future: to recognize risks, remove them, and prevent them from arising again. Otherwise, defenses will always be a step behind attacks, which is no defense at all. In the cybersecurity industry, you need to be able to anticipate what cybervermin have in mind and set traps in advance. Actually, this ability has always set us apart from our competitors. Remember NotPetya — one of the most infamous global epidemics of recent years? We caught it out proactively, without the need for any updates.

So crucial is this looking into the future, that we decided to launch a social media project based on it, called Earth 2050.

What is Earth 2050? It’s a totally open crowdsourcing (sorry for the trendy jargon) platform for looking into the future. By that I mean it’s a place where anyone at all — be they a minister or a street sweeper — can share their vision of the future, in writing or painting or graphics or whatever. Or, if you’re not into clairvoyance yourself, you can Like and comment on the predictions of folks who are. There’s something for everyone.

Looking into the future is important. Yes, we’ve got that. But why is all this openness so clearly important that it forms the basis of Earth 2050?

Well, the future’s difficult to predict. One person’s attempts have a good chance of turning out to be off the mark — and that’s understandable and natural. But predictions about the future by many people — even if they’re only partly accurate, and even if they’re a bit sketchy or contradictory — add up to a lot more accuracy. It’s a bit like the principle of machine learning. The more a machine learns, the better it’s able to do something — in this case, predict the future.

So far, nearly seven dozen visionaries have uploaded nearly 400 predictions to Earth 2050 — and some reeeaaal interestingly curious ones are in there, I have to say.

Read on…

We got the bronze in powerlifting! 

We’ve more than 4000 K-folks working in the Kompany ). That’s 4000+ folks who either make, sell or support our products, which happen to be the best in their class in the world. And they’re always thinking up new products and improving perfecting existing ones.

Then there are the K-dawgs who protect us with patents and other legal delicacies, who do the books, who organize our conferences and optimize business trips, who… and on and on – and all over the world! I can’t list them all here, but one thing I will say is they’re a bunch of dedicated good eggs!

But out of all those 4000+, there is one in particular I want to mention and congratulate. It is our Masha – which is the diminutive of Maria, btw – who is now the holder of a totally unique prize. She is the world champion (!) bronze medal holder in the sport of powerlifting!!

Here she is, on the top floor of the tower in Tokyo where the championship took place:

Now – the details…

Read on…