Digital 2018 – pt. 2

Hi folks!

Quite a bit of motivation is needed to solve interesting brainteasers. Thankfully I’ve never had any trouble mustering motivation. But more about that in a bit…

First up, as per the requests of many, two brainteasers that don’t require a calculator or computer – it’s quicker using a trusty old pencil and pad. All righty…

Brainteaser No. 1

There exists a really beautiful 10-digit number. The first (left-most) digit in it is the overall quantity of 0s in this number. The second digit – the quantity of 1s. The third – 2s. And so on. The last digit is the quantity of 9s. What is that digit?

It’s not as hard as it may at first seem. To solve it you need merely (i) a head, (ii) a brain inside it, and (iii) the ability to use it. So good luck!

The second riddle is a little more difficult. Even if you have a head, a brain and ability, not everyone will get it. This one’s solving is probably reserved for arithmetic geniuses – the sort that are able to multiply large numbers in their heads. Let’s see…

Brainteaserdestroyer No. 2

Does there exist a natural (whole, nonzero, positive) number that gives upon multiplication by 2018 a result that consists of a number made up of 10 1s and/or 0s? (everyone’s a programmer here: it’s all about the 0s and 1s:). In other words, is it possible to multiply 2018 by something whole and positive so that the result of the multiplication only has 0s and 1s in it – and is 10 digits long? If yes – let’s see it! If there are many – which is the smallest, and by how much? If there are none, explain the reason why.

Ok all you smart alecks, and Alexandras, thinking caps on! For the best/funniest answers – prizes!

And now a bit on how last week’s riddle was solved:

Digital 2018 – pt. 1

How to get 2018 out of the sequence 10-9-8-7-6-5-4-3-2-1 and its truncations: 9-…-1, 8-…-1 and so on?

Here’s how:

Read on…

Digital 2018 – pt. 1.

Boys and girls!

December’s here again already. Over the next few weeks there’ll be the usual Christmassy-New-Year good vibes, then there’ll be the presents, fireworks, champagne, mistletoe, more champagne, and then the clock will strike midnight and we’ll have a +1 to the eternal yearly calendar. Then, for perhaps the first few weeks of January we’ll all still be saying and writing the date as day/Jan/the year 2017; oops, 2018! We all do it! I think ).

Twenty-eighteen. It has a ring to it; yes – a nice, round number. And each numeral that makes up the date is an even number… What? You’re not sure about 1? Come on! 1 is 2 to the power of zero. Kinda :). But wait! There’s more even-ness in this number: each digit of 2018 is a power of two. But what don’t you like about zero? Well, think of an artificial number, raising it to the power of which two gives zero – what, difficult? Now think of an imaginary ‘i’, the square of which gives -1. Come on: such a sexy number as 2018 is just crying out for working a sweat up about :).

Ok, ok; agreed. We won’t spoil arithmetic with all kinds of unnecessary chimeras, to the power of which each decent two turns into an empty zero. But then, as per Chinese tradition, eight means wealth! So get ready – 2018 should be blessed with prosperity; there’s no chance of avoiding it!

Sooo. It’s time to stretch and warm up for what is bound to be an infinitely interesting – and perfectly prosperous – year. So let’s get stuck into some 2018-related arithmetic. And what comes to mind first? Yes: evenness.

2018 = 2*1009

1009 is a prime number. A bit like 2017. Last year I promised that 2017 would be a simple, straightforward year. And look how in the end it turned out! Now we need to get ready for an extra-simple/straightforward year, aka – a minus plus a minus gives a plus.

What else? The sum of all the numerals in 2018 is 11: a most photogenic number from any angle, and one that’s dear to me for technical reasons: the product of all nonzero numerals = 16, which can’t not raise the spirits of any programmer on the planet.

Ok, enough. Warm-up over. Let’s move onto our already traditional New Year arithmetic exercise. Here we go…

Given figures: 10, 9, 8, 7, 6, 5, 4, 3, 2, 1. Using only ‘+’, ‘-‘, ‘*’ and ‘/’, plus ‘(…)’, all in any quantity, and also using exclusively these figures only once and only in that order… – how do you get 2018?

For example:

((10 + 9 – 8) * 7) + (6 + 5) * (4 – 3 + 2) + 1 = 111

Here we get 111. But we need to get 2018!

Marks, get set, go! Who’ll do it first to become the champ?

10 9 8 7 6 5 4 3 2 1 = 2018

Once you solve it, you go to level two: Get 2018 from the same figures minus the 10.

9 8 7 6 5 4 3 2 1 = 2018

Got it? > Level 3…:

8 7 6 5 4 3 2 1 = 2018

I managed these without a calculator – and without peeking at last year’s brainteaser – in around 20 minutes in Shanghai waiting for my flight to Moscow. My attempt at the next one was interrupted of course by the inevitable ‘turn off your devices’ nonsense on the plane, but once the ‘seatbelts fastened’ light went off, I carried on where I’d left off:

7 6 5 4 3 2 1 = 2018

This one is impossible without a factorial. I think we could allow here powers and roots too.

6 5 4 3 2 1 = 2018

Here I needed a multifactorial.

All righty. From ten figures to six: done. We’re half way there. Next up will be the second part of the brainteaser: from five and down. But we’ll save that for next time. For now, I’ve a party to get to!…

Cheers!

 

52++.

Hi folks!

What is 52?

EK52 = the Munich-Dubai flight on Emirates
52=4*13=2*2*13
B-52 – the name of a shot-cocktail I love (not keen on the band; not keen on the bomber either)

Also:

Today’s my birthday! Oh my word, how time flies!…

It was nature that first wished me a happy birthday this year. For this is what it had in store for me when I opened the curtains:

Read on: Oh my gorgeous!…

Chronicles of a very long week.

What a week! A working week, I mean – and one that included both weekends each end of it.

It started on Saturday, September 9, and finished nine days later on Monday, September 18. It was long and it was tough – so quite typical really – and it went like this…

On the Saturday I needed to be in St. Pete – so I off I popped. As I’ve said before on these here pages, I don’t get one bit the bad rep St. Petersburg has in terms of weather. I’m sure it’s an anti-St.P rumor-based conspiracy. Why? Because when I come here the sun’s always shining and the Petersburgers are strolling about all leisurely and tanned – some even wearing shorts. It’s in Moscow where the bad weather’s at – all murky and sticky and blustery and rainy. Meanwhile in Leningrad…

When in St. Petersburg – have a Belgian craft burger ).

Read more: Good news!..

The best defense is attack – and that now includes when fighting patent trolls.

Hi folks!

What better way to start the day than with champagne? For that’s just what we should all be pouring ourselves after our latest victory in the ongoing war with patent trolls!

And it’s not just any old victory; it’s truly a landmark one. Indeed, our shooing off Wetro Lan with its tail between its legs will go down in the annals of patent law as a crucial precedent, since no one before has ever secured a victory like we just have: we not only forced the troll to withdraw its lawsuit; we also got it to pay us compensation! Ok, so the compensation was merely symbolic – it covered only a tiny fraction of our costs for defending ourselves – but, well, you know what they say: the first blow is half the battle…

Ok. Here’s how it went down:

Read on: Meanwhile in the rural district of Texas…

Then and Now. 20 Years In-between – All Uphill.

20 years in business – is that a long time, or no time at all? Or how about 25 years of continuous development of new technologies and products (including the five years pre-KL)?

To answer that properly we need to ask how old the industry – cybersecurity – is itself. Well, the very first antivirus programs appeared just a few years before 25 years ago.

So that means we’re one of a handful of developers that created cybersecurity! Indeed, we’ve been in the industry since its infancy (when on-demand signature scanners were all the rage), and are still here today (in the new age of big data and machine learning). And that’s 20+ years in the cutting-edge avant garde. Oh yes. And no: modesty isn’t forbidding – it’s our birthday, after all :).

More immodesty: just think of all the cyber-nastiness we’ve been destroying in all those 20 years!

Of course, there’s never just one way of interpreting history. And Kaspersky Lab’s history is no exception.

On the one hand, we could look at old pics from our halcyon days of 20 years ago, recall the naive mistakes and missteps we made with a cringe, then also look in the mirror at our graying hair and deepening lines on our faces and get all melancholic! Sure – that’s possible…

But on the other hand – looking at the very same pics of those halcyon days of 20 years ago – we could simply smile instead, and say something like: ‘Not a bad first two decades, but we’re only just warming up!’ It’s all just perception: you gonna concentrate on the problems and difficulties, or the successes and achievements? Well, no prizes for guessing which perception we’re going for in this here post; yep the latter: ’cause that’s how we do it KL – we stay positive. In this business – you have to! And we hope we’ll inspire you, dear readers, to do the same.

Everything changed in 20 years? Actually – not quite. At least one thing hasn’t: work hard and think big

So, in the run-up to KL’s birthday, we had a long hard think about how we could most graphically and strongly arouse inspiration, while keeping true to historical faithfulness (and observing norms of decency:). And this is what we came up with: let’s have a quick look at some of the more curious and fun aspects of the company over the years – how it was in the ‘good old days’, how it looks now, and how it’ll be in the future.

I’ll start with the office.

If we go right back to the beginning – the early 1990s, we’ve moved offices a whopping six times!

Here, for example, is what the epicenter of development of one of the best antiviruses in the world looked like in 1994. That was our whole office! Ok, so registering as ‘Me Lab’ came three years later, but still – it was our office. It was actually part of the KAMI company, which produced software and hardware solutions in the 90s.

Btw, it was in this year (1994) that we took part in Hamburg University‘s AV tests for the first time – and unexpectedly won (by a mile) on quality of protection. In the pic above I think the smiles were breaking through the exhaustion after hearing about our win.

Read on: Think big and have a toast!…

Happy Birthday to Us – 20 Years Old – to the Day!

Whoosh!

What was that?

That, boys and girls, was the history of cybersecurity passing by!

28 years ago, somewhere around the fall of 1989, my Olivetti M24 was attacked by a virus. That fateful event changed my – and many others’! – lives. If only that virus had known precisely whose comp it attacked that day, and how many malicious descendants would be wiped out over the next decades both by my hand and later by the hands of KLers, I’m pretty sure it’d have about-turned in a jiffy and gotten the hell out of there!

26 years ago, in the summer of 1991, a group of like-minded computer geeks enthusiasts launched the great grandfather of what is today one of the top antiviruses in the world.

Precisely 20 years ago today – on June 26, 1997 – ‘Me Lab‘ was founded.

But it’s fairly quiet in the office today. No party, no champagne, no nothing. On our 20th birthday? Don’t worry – we’ll get to that. We’ll be celebrating, in usual crazy fashion, but just a little later. Today it’s business as usual. All the same, tonight – NOW!, if you’d raise a glass of something tasty and utter a few kind words, please do. You will be repaid in good vibes and positive karma or some such – for sure!

Whoah – we just received congrats from Scuderia. Grazie mille! (the photos arrived with a note: ‘Kimi is smiling!’ Well, so are we:).

The icing on the cake birthday cake:

Now back to those drinkies :)…

 

Russian Grand Prix in Sunny Sochi.

Sorry folks for the tardiness of this post; been up to my neck with work of late. Better late than never though…

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again – it’s great watching F1 in the flesh at the racetrack. But it’s best of all watching it from the garage, if you’re lucky enough to have access thereto. It’s in the garage where the team sits, where the pressure is through the roof, where the adrenaline is pumping the most, and where the emotions run amok. And the garage experience is even more thrilling if your team is in pole position – like we were the other weekend (the first time since 2008!). But enough talk – no time for that. They’re on the starting grid!…

It doesn’t matter that we can’t see the cars themselves – we sure can hear them (the starting line’s a mere 30-40 meters away!), and seeing them on the big TV screens is more than enough.

And they’re off!…

Oh my grid. Valtteri Bottas jumped two positions ahead right from the off, and that was actually how things ended today. I’m afraid not a great deal else interesting happened today. No intrigue, nothing! Sometimes it goes like that, F1. In fact, it all resembled more a column of soldiers doing a march. Who would have thought F1 could be dull? :).

A storm cloud looked like it could have put a literal dampener on things, but it decided to stay put up in the mountains and not descend to the sea.

Read on: Familiar faces on the roof …

They Asked Me… Everything!

Hi folks!

Yesterday, I hosted an ‘Ask Me Anything’ (AMA) on Reddit. I wanted to take a moment to thank the attendees for all of their questions – especially the challenging ones. So here goes: thank you everyone for the great Q&A session! It sure was wide-ranging – with questions on the security of smartphones to Formula 1 and… my favorite food and drink, plus of course the obligatory queries about how to pronounce my surname and… Star Wars. In fact, you guys asked so many questions that I couldn’t answer them all in the time. But I encourage you to read the full thread here – maybe some of my replies there answer your questions too; if not – feel free to drop some more as I may have a future blogpost responding to them or answer them directly on Reddit.

Simultaneously with the AMA there was a hearing taking place in Washington, D.C., where concerns were being raised about Kaspersky Lab. This is nothing new for us: false allegations are something we’ve gotten used to. Still, let us address some of the questions that were raised there and which also happened to find their way to the Reddit community:

Is your company subject to SORM given you operate servers in Russia?

No, SORM is for ISPs and telecom companies, and we are not them. EDIT: The same goes to PRISM or similar systems. (AMA thread)

 

The US Senate Intel committee is currently interviewing the heads of the intelligence community. They were just asked whether they would be comfortable running Kaspersky software on their computers. The answer was unanimous: No.
Thoughts?

I respectfully disagree with their opinion, and I’m very sorry these gentlemen can’t use the best software on the market because of political reasons. (AMA thread)

 

What is your reaction to the Intelligence Committee’s (CIA Director Mike Pompeo, Acting FBI Director Andrew McCabe, DNI Director Dan Coats, National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency Director Robert Cardillo, and Defense Intelligence Agency Director Lt. General Vincent Steward) universal statement of a lack of confidence in Kaspersky Labs software on their systems?

Once again, I think that due to political reasons, these gentlemen don’t have an option, and are deprived from the opportunity to use the best endpoint security on the market without any real reason or evidence of wrongdoing from our side. I would be very happy to testify in front of the Senate, to participate in the hearings and to answer any questions they would decide to ask me. (AMA thread)

 

Is there a backdoor built into your software?

Our software is designed to protect our customers, not to breach into their devices. There is no hidden functionality in our products, including backdoors. (AMA thread)

 

On our relationship with Michael Flynn

To clarify things: We paid a speaker fee for DC public conference. Nothing scandalous here, he was a good speaker. (AMA thread)

 

On the inevitable KGB questions and misinformation: Is the statement “Once KGB Agent, Always a KGB Agent” true?

Really can’t say, I haven’t been by a KGB agent / employee for a second. (AMA thread)

 

On allegations that we help governments commit cybercrime

Kaspersky Lab has no ties to any government, and the company has never helped, nor will help, any government in the world with its cyberespionage efforts. (full statement)

In closing, we weren’t asked to participate in any hearings or investigations. As mentioned earlier, we are always happy to assist in investigations where our expertise could benefit the greater good or to meet with a congressional panel with questions into the work of my company.