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…

Flickr photostream

Instagram photostream

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…

Enter your email address to subscribe to this blog

Introducing – the new us.

I’ve heard it said that “Life needs shaking up more often than not, so it doesn’t turn sour.”

Well, no chance we could ever let things go sour here at KL — not in the industry we’re in, which is constantly and rapidly changing. Still, sometimes it is useful to stop, take a look at yourself as if through someone else’s eyes, think about what’s around the corner, and make a few changes to the look and feel of the company accordingly. And so it is with this lyrical introduction that I want to formally announce our rebranding and explain why we’ve done it.

We were born in the 90s. Back when we founded the company in 1997, we had just one simple goal: to make the best antivirus in the world. There was no talk of positioning, image, or brand philosophy. But that was then; this is now. It’s been 22 years, and everything’s changed.

We now employ more than 4,000 people and protect hundreds of millions of individuals and businesses around the world. The very concept of antivirus, our original cornerstone, has become obsolete. The world has become so dependent on cyber-everything that no sphere of modern life has been left untouched by it. And we’re ready to protect all of it, from home users on the internet to large corporations, governments, industry, and infrastructure. One thing has remained the same, however, since the beginning: we produce the very best security solutions on the market.

With so much having changed, it was high time we thought about how we looked to folks on the outside — to see if that, too, might need some shaking up. After all, our logo was designed back in 1997, when the company was just taking its first steps. In that logo we used the Greek alphabet with lots of fine detail, but 22 years on, much of that has lost its relevance.

So, after lots of work behind the scenes, today we’re formally updating our logo! The new logo employs geometric, mathematically precise letter forms representing the values that define us: for example, the highest standards of engineering. Another noticeable innovation is that we’ve removed the word Lab. That change has been on the cards for years; we’re often referred to simply as My Surname around the world anyway — and always have been, for the sake of convenience, simplicity, brevity, or plain lack of need for the Lab. Well now we’re just Kaspersky officially too: shorter, simpler, clearer, more utilitarian, easier, more memorable (I could go on at length here).

But if you dig a little deeper, you’ll see we’re not just changing our logo. The whole company’s changing.

In recent years, our approach to business, to our products, and to ourselves — not to mention, our vision of the future — has changed. All these years we’ve been saving the world, fighting cyber-sin in its many incarnations, but, as I mentioned above, we’ve been changing too as we grew (I should have been a poet). Now, we feel know it’s within our power not only to save the world, but also to build a more protected, safer world from the ground up. I firmly believe that the concept of cybersecurity will soon become obsolete, and cyber-immunity will take its place.

Information systems should be designed and built secure; they should not require add-ons in the form of (never quite fully secure) security solutions. That is the future we’re working on: a real, tangible future in which life will be simpler, more convenient, and more interesting — not some flowery, imagined future straight out of science fiction. And this world is taking shape little by little, day by day. I’m sure that in this safer world we’re helping create, technologies will no longer be a source of constant threat, but instead provide tons of new possibilities, opportunities, and discoveries.

So there you have it, the new … K!?! (What? No more KL, as I like to abbreviate us to? Oh well, progress always requires some sacrifice!)

Why old-school sci-fi is more relevant now than ever.

April was a busy month for me, with lots of flying. And lots of flying means lots of movie-watching or reading or both. Herewith, a quick review of some highlights and some discussion thereof…

On one flight I re-watched Tarkovsky’s Solaris for the umpteenth time. IMHO, it’s aged well. Sure, there aren’t today’s special effects, but that doesn’t matter. And anyway, the Hollywood version from 2002 is apparently low on effects too. Indeed, this is no Star Wars or Matrix or some other sci-fi blockbuster. This is the thinking person’s drama-mystery sci-fi flick. And anyway (again!), I haven’t seen the 2002 version with Amal Clooney’s husband starring ). I wonder what it’s like. I guess the dialog may be the same so it’s surely worth a watch. It’ll differ perhaps only in that there’ll be no smoking indoors (on space ships!), and there won’t be a VCR in sight ).

Not seen the original Solaris, and you’re a thinking Homo sapiens? Then you really must. Why? Many reasons (e.g., the question: ‘is it better than ‘2001: A Space Odyssey’?’:) but here’s a very ‘current’ one: AI.

For Solaris, nearly 50 years ago, was already telling us that artificial intelligence could become more human than, er, humans themselves. In the film, a higher intelligence – the Solaris Ocean – is the one doing the experiments on humans – not the other way round. But that’s by-the-by. The central theme is a questioning of what it is to be human, of identity, of our ‘reality’. By way of example, here’s a quote from the film: an interaction with an artificial person – one being a clone of the human lead character’s long-dead wife, created by the Ocean:

We have no interest in conquering any cosmos. We want to extend the Earth to the borders of the cosmos. We don’t know what to do with other worlds. We don’t need other worlds. We need a mirror. We struggle for contact, but we’ll never find it. We’re in the foolish human predicament of striving for a goal that he fears, that he has no need for.

[…]

I think that Kris Kelvin is more consistent than both of you. In inhuman conditions, he has behaved humanely. And you act as if none of this concerns you, and consider your guests – it seems that’s what you call us – something external, a hindrance. But it’s a part of you. It’s your conscience. And Kris loves me. Maybe it’s not me he loves, but he’s simply protecting himself. He wants me alive. That’s not the point. It doesn’t matter why man loves. It’s different for everyone. It’s not Kris. It’s you. I hate you all.

I would ask you… Please don’t interrupt me. I’m a woman, after all. You’re not a woman and you’re not a human being. Understand that, if you’re capable of understanding anything. There is no Hari. She’s dead. You’re just a reproduction, a mechanical reproduction. A copy. A matrix.

Hmmm. And talking of a matrix – one could say the film’s a forerunner of the Hollywood blockbuster starring Keanu Reeves (at a stretch). But I digress…

Not only did I re-watch a classic sci-fi movie, I also re-read a classic sci-fi novel – H.G. Wells’ Time Machine – perhaps the perfect complement to Solaris, for it, too, is about tragic contact between Homo sapiens and non-Homo sapiens.

Btw – it was, I think, Wells who first came up with the idea of folks traveling through time not by magic but through the use of technology. He also introduced the idea of the fourth dimension – space time. And when you think this book was written nearly 125 years ago (!!), you have to take the proverbial hat off to Mr. Wells ).

There’s a bonus when reading books as old as this. There are words in them that are alien to newer generations – like ‘ink’, for example. So there are history lessons dotted throughout such books, and that’s important, for, as we all know, if you don’t know the past, you won’t know the present, never mind the future…

Another btw: it was Wells who guessed that stars, at the end of their lives, turn into red giants. Science hadn’t worked it out back then; Wells imagined it – scientists later confirmed it ).

After watching and reading two retro-futuristic masterpieces, I was inspired to re-read a third – the book on which the film Solaris is based: Stanislaw Lem’s – 1961! – novel of the same name. So I did. And I highly recommend you do too!

That’s all for today folks. Back soon!…

 

 

 

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…

The anatomy of modern fake news: Latvian version.

“… it is established that the information in the published article – the subject matter of these proceedings – is unsubstantiated. Therefore, the court recognizes the lawsuit to be reasonable, and hereby rules to oblige the respondent to apologize in written form to the plaintiff, and publish, at his own expense, … the full text of the apology.”

That’s an extract from the recent Riga court decision on our lawsuit against the Latvian politician Krišjānis Feldmans, which lawsuit sought the protection of our business reputation. And I do hope it will make others think twice about blindly copy-pasting the lies of a handful of U.S. media based on politically-motivated anonymous official-agency sources in the interests of the current geopolitical agenda. But I’m getting ahead of myself. Let me go back to the beginning of this tale…

Source

Read on…

KL-2018: still growing, no matter what.

Hi folks!

The time has come to share our financial results for 2018. It can’t be denied that it was a tough year for us: the aftershock from the geopolitical turbulence that affected us which peaked in 2017 for sure caught up with us. But this is where it gets interesting…

You could be forgiven for thinking that everything’s reeeaaal bad for us and we’ve nothing at all to feel good about regarding 2018. But you’d be wrong. Because users still ‘voted’ for us with their dollars, euros and the rest: our business… continued to grow! The company’s global IFRS revenue for 2018 was 726 million dollars, 4% higher than in 2017*.

You could also be forgiven for thinking that, what with the unfair, coordinated informational campaign waged against us, we might have eased off a bit, gotten back into the trenches as it were, lain low for a while. You’d be wrong again! Just the opposite: we’ve continued to develop new products, new technologies, and new services of a kind our competitors can only dream!

So what did the best? Well, just like in the previous year we saw the highest growth in business based on promising new solutions and technologies that provide protection against the most complex of cyberthreats – the so-called ‘non-endpoint’ segment (+55%). Corporate segment sales also were up – by an impressive 16%; while online sales grew 4%.

Geographically, the greatest growth in sales (27%) was to be found in the META region (Middle East, Turkey, and Africa). Then (by some freak coincidence), the three regions of (i) Russia, Central Asia and the CIS**; (ii) APAC (Asia-Pacific); and (iii), Europe – achieved 6% growth in sales each.

A fall in sales occurred in Latin American (-11%), but that in large part can be put down to devaluations of national currencies in the region. And as could only have been expected, sales in North America fell – by 25%. All the same, North American users are good at reading between the lines when it comes to what their media tells them. How else can an increase of 8% in online sales of new licenses in the U.S. be explained? I’m often asked if we plan to close our offices in the U.S. and exit the market. No way! Actually, just the opposite: we’re planning on getting back to growth and developing the market.

So, why is it folks trust us? Maybe it’s because over the last year we’ve become the most transparent cybersecurity company in the world? We’ve opened up our source code and its updates, and in essence we’ve established new standards of transparency for the whole industry. And no matter how much nonsense they write about us in the press, still no one has provided even just a shred of technical evidence about any wrongdoing on our part (spoiler alert! They won’t provide any: none exists!). My life is set out before you right here on these here blog pages practically every day. I’ve nothing to hide; my company has nothing to hide! Folks see, think, understand, and vote with their money.

Finally, as per tradition, I simply must thank our users and partners who believe us – and believe in us! And of course all the KL employees, thanks to whom our products and services for many years now have remained the very best. Well done everyone! Now… back to work!

* Unaudited IFRS revenue data. The given revenue figure was rounded up to the nearest million. Actual revenue: $725.6 million.

** The Central Asia and CIS region is made up of: Azerbaijan, Armenia, Belarus, Georgia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Mongolia, Russia, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, and Uzbekistan.

Je m’appelle Eugene.

Bonjour folks!

A quick official interlude…

The other week it was time to roll out the red carpet again at KL HQ – this time for the French ambassador to Russia, Sylvie Bermann.

Our meet went very well: cordial, interesting, enjoyable. The ambassador and her aides showed great interest in cybersecurity matters, and clearly had a solid professional awareness of all things digital in this modern day. We told them all about our work and achievements in France and French-speaking countries, and shared our plans for development of new technologies and of cooperation with French companies and state bodies. Other topics included our vision of further development of digital technologies in industrial systems, and about possible cyberthreats to industrial infrastructure and how we can fight them together.

So yes, it went swimmingly. Our esteemed guests left us satisfied and certain of our shared cyber-tomorrow.

Btw, the ambassador was driven here in a Citroën C6. You don’t see many of those in Moscow. In fact [as curious as ever and looking it up on the net], you don’t see a great many of them anywhere: there were apparently only 23,384 ever produced, between 2005 and 2012. Nice car. And rather exclusive ).

Sapiens: spot-on on Homo; way-off on viruses.

Hi folks!

The other day I finished reading the book Sapiens: A Brief History of Humankind, by Israeli historian Yuval Noah Harari: an accessible and at times blunt and cynically portrayed history of mankind. It starts with the appearance of our biological species, its spread across the world, its complex journey through all kinds of pan-human revolutions (cognitive, agrarian, and various technological ones), and ends in the current era. At first the book appears to be a solid popular-science work on a par with Guns, Germs, and Steel or The Journey of Man: A Genetic Odyssey. However, as you progress through the pages, nagging doubts start to form in your mind; then at times comes amazement at some of the inconsistencies; then it gets like… totally… WHAT? But I’ll get to that in due course…

source

Actually, a lot of the facts given in the book have been known for ages. Some we learned in school, others in books we’ve read, yet others in anthropological documentaries or news from archeological digs. However, for me, up until now all that seemed to be stored in my brain in separate bits. Only after reading this book has it all come together as one. So respect is at least due there.

Now, everyone’s heard of Neanderthal man and Cro-Magnon man (our ancient ancestors), and that they lived around the same time and often on neighboring territories. But there were also other Homo species. For example, the Denisova hominins, and the hobbit-like Homo floresiensis (Flores Man) from the Indonesian island of Flores. And there will have been many more, no doubt, which have yet to be discovered. Curiously, many of them disappeared relatively recently: Flores Man, for example, lived around 12,000–13,000 years ago; Neanderthals – between 30,000 and 40,000 years ago.

This means that the definition of homo, or ‘human’, in actual fact doesn’t refer to just folks like you and me. It turns out there are a dozen other biological species that add to that full definition, all of which died out; and Wikipedia agrees with this. We (Homo sapiens) lived together with these other human species at the same time and in the same geographical areas on the planet, and we even crossbred with them (as confirmed by genetic research). Then those other species disappeared, while we stayed. That is, Homo sapiens overcame all its ‘competitor-relatives’ – completely destroying them at the very roots, all to free up for itself an ecological niche to provide for its own sustenance, propagation and further expansion.

But it wasn’t just other human species Homo sapiens wiped out.

Read on…