One Billboard Outside Wellington, New Zealand.

Where does the clock strike midnight first on the planet?…

…Or in fact any minute, or hour, or day, or a New Year, or whatever other unit of time: where, in time, on this orb of ours, does it comes first?

Well, not a lot of people know this but it is… on Kiritimati, aka Christmas Island (the eastern-most of the atolls that make up Kiribati, the island nation) bang in the middle of the Pacific Ocean – half-way between Australia and North America. So, how come? Well, Kiribati happens to have the earliest time zone on the planet – UTC+14:00. So its inhabitants (and anyone visiting the islands) are the ones who first hear a clock strike 12, or the year change from one to the next, and so on; 14 hours earlier than in London, for example (UTC+0)

Why am I telling you this? Well, we needed to get to a spot in the world with the ‘best view of the future’. Why? I’ll get to that in a bit…

So, we needed to get ourselves, ideally, to Christmas Island, with its unquestioned best viewing location for looking to the future – where if you look to the east from its easternmost beach you literally see tomorrow out over the ocean (right?!)! However, Christmas Island isn’t the easiest of places to get to at the best of times, but during a pandemic-lockdown – ouch. So we had to look for the next-best thing…

And we didn’t need to look too far, relatively – just a little to the west and down a bit: to New Zealand, a country close to my heart. Once there, we needed to get ourselves to somewhere on the eastern coastline, and we opted for a place called Castlepoint – precisely here.

So, what is all this looking-to-the-future business? Actually – very much our business. For here at K, we’re pretty darn future-oriented. We have to be – to combat the cyberthreats of tomorrow: always needing to be one step ahead of the cyber-baddies, who are (alas) the embodiment of ‘future-oriented’. I mean look: we have our Safer Tomorrow platform; there’s our Earth 2050 project; there’s our Tomorrow Unlocked; there’s our latest company slogan – Bring on the Future. Heck, we’d trademark the word ‘future’ if we could! So, yes – you get it. ‘Future’ is our business. Accordingly, we needed the best spot in the world for literally looking into the future, which we figured would also be the best spot for future-oriented musing-reflection-meditation. Bring on New Zealand!…

But contemplating the technological progress of tomorrow, and even the future of humankind from the breathtakingly beautiful eastern seaboard of NZ might not come easy to everyone. Plus, of course, there’s getting there in person – hardly practical, right? Well, if you can’t take Castlepoint to Muhammad and everyone else in the world concerned about the future, we’ll just have to take Muhammad and everyone else to Castlepoint! Which is just what we did…

For the whole of February at Castlepoint there’ll be our unique billboard of the future, plus a livestream thereof accessible through your browser anywhere on the planet. As you can see, the right-hand side of the billboard is an empty frame – through which you can get a good look at the future, a rather picturesque one at that. And the left-hand side is a large digital screen with constantly changing predictions about the future of humankind and technology. So keep viewing, keep reading, and be ready for the future!…

Ok. You get that we’re all about the future. But why is it so important?

Read on…

Global warming: finally – the results of the lockdown experiment!

Hi folks!

If you’re a regular reader of this here blog, you’ll have noticed how I occasionally touch upon ecological topics in my posts here: protecting the environment, global warming, and assorted other things like CO2 emissions. Oh, and by the way, before you shout ‘climate change denier!’… for example, those CO2 emissions, they’re most certainly on the rise – fast. No one in their right mind can deny that, from the man in the street through to the states that signed Kyoto Protocol and the Paris Agreement. But when folks become perfectly hysterical paranoid about man’s role in that rise – that’s where I beg to… not quite differ, but at least state that we need to see the larger picture: it may just be possible that industrial and anthropological emissions aren’t the most important factor…

I’ve written somewhere before that:

  • CO2emissions are rising and the climate is warming up. Facts;
  • But putting that down mostly to the activity of human beings is… bothersome. And it does whiff rather of megalomania: is man really that significant and influential to be able to have much effect on what are surely extraordinarily greater, stronger forces of nature?
  • I don’t know the answer to the question just put, but, because I don’t know, I say we need to measure not only emissions of carbon dioxide, but also nature’s intake/usage/absorption thereof. Could CO2 levels be growing not just in and of themselves, but as part of a growing imbalance between emissions and consumption?

Now, those musings, hypotheses, question marks… they’d have stayed musings, hypotheses and question marks, probably, if the corona virus hadn’t become a global pandemic in 2020: quarantine, lockdowns, restricted travel > less emissions from humans and their filthy cars and planes. But, as I wrote in April 2020, how will those lower emissions affect the overall total levels of CO₂ in the atmosphere? 

Here’s my quote from the mentioned post from April:

“Curiously, we’re currently living in… interesting times, and it just so happens that we may be able to get an answer to the second of my two questions here today (‘how will nearly the whole world’s industry coming to a halt affect the growth of CO₂ in the world’s atmosphere?’). 

Indeed, soon we’ll get the results of a unique (if unexpected) global experiment: how the lockdown and the partial halt to world production affects increases in CO₂ in the Earth’s atmosphere. It will also present a good opportunity to check the soundness of several theories about the how much climate is affected by man.

I have to say, it will be somewhat odd if the lockdown makes no difference whatsoever. I mean, among many other things, it would completely cancel out the need for the Kyoto Protocol and the Paris Agreement, while making a mockery of every country that ever signed either; or am I being too harsh there? ‘Mistakes happen’, they’ll say!” 

So what do you think folks? What is the result of this unique global experiment? I ask as, that answer is ready! And here it is!…

Read on…

Flickr photostream

  • KAMAZ
  • KAMAZ
  • KAMAZ
  • KAMAZ

Instagram photostream

Ten years blogging in – English to the day (almost)!

I love numbers (it must be the mathematician in me). Any kind of numbers really, but those that you have to really rack your brains over – they’re the best. Numbers that are particularly round and milestoney – they’re awesome too. And talking of round numbers that are milestoney and awesome, it just so happens that 10 years ago, on November 27, 2010, my first ever blogpost on this here blog you have open in your browser now was published!

Accordingly, on this veritable jubilee, I don’t see why we can’t have a mosey back through those 10 years for some highlights, aka greatest hits, of each one of them, with brief analysis and commentary given the benefit of hindsight regarding how things have worked out for the company, the industry and the world since the posts were originally published.

So what makes a ‘greatest hit’? Simple: the most read and commented on. So we had a quick look over the stats – at both the total number of views and of comments added to the bottom of each – and chose the top-two posts of each year. All righty. Let’s do this!…

2010

As it took a while to get momentum going early on, there were just two posts on this blog in 2010, both of which I’ll mention here.

My first ever blogpost in English was this: 100 in a Year! One of my briefest ever, too. Besides the following avia-route given in it, there was just a bit more text and that was it! Still, the first step is always the hardest, as they say.

Moscow – Novosibirsk – Moscow – Rome – Paris – Santiago – Patriot Hills – the South Pole (New Year) – Patriot Hills – Santiago – Paris – Moscow – Beijing – Singapore – Paris – Rio de Janiero – Lima – Punta Cana (Dominican Republic) – Madrid – Barcelona – Geneva – Paris – Milan – Rome – Munich – Hannover – Hamburg – Berlin – London – Hong Kong – Tokyo – Moscow – Paris – São Paulo – Iguazu Falls (Argentina-Brazil border) – Buenos Aires – Lima – Bogota – Paris – London – Hanoi – Ho Chi Minh City – Frankfurt – Barcelona – Athens – Corfu – Dubai – Sydney – Brisbane – Cairns – Ayers Rock – Sydney – Dubai – Larnaca (Cyprus) – Tokyo – Paris – Moscow – Petropavlovsk-Kamchatsky – Moscow – Beijing – Milan – Moscow – Munich – Singapore – Hong Kong – Istanbul – Nice – Moscow – Paris – Mexico City – Guadalajara – Shanghai – Guangzhou – Tokyo – New York – Chicago – Dallas – Boston – Munich – Moscow – Abu Dhabi – Bali – Moscow

The other post from 2010 was: Mobile OS Market – My Bet.

This is where I stated my predications of the share of the global mobile OS market in the future – in around five years time (2015). And I didn’t do too badly either! My rough forecast went like this:

80% – Android
10% – iOS
10% – all the others

And here’s how things panned out:

Source

Yes, I should maybe think of becoming a fortune-teller ).

Read on…

Enter your email address to subscribe to this blog

Turkish Grand Prix 2020: Very strange F1 in very strange times.

Most everything’s strange this year. A lot’s been cancelled, a lot’s been changed, a lot’s been postponed, some things have been transformed into different formats… And Formula 1 racing hasn’t been spared either; still, at least it hasn’t been canceled this year: it’s still going strong, and still… as incredibly awesome as ever!

I won’t dwell on our team’s poor results. A hundred reasons will always be found for a losing streak – but I’ll leave that to others to discuss. All I’ll say is that this really strange year has been a really strange one for Ferrari too.

The strangest thing of all this year for F1 is that the stands are completely empty, and I really do mean completely! Not a single spectator to be seen the whole season. I should know – I was at the Turkish Grand Prix recently ->

Strange year, strange F1, and here, now – strange post!…

Read on…

11 brave women at the North Pole.

This blogpost could pass as an advertisement, if it were paid for; however, it’s being published entirely voluntarily and gratis. Basically, in it, I’ll be telling you the fascinating story of 11 fearless females on an Arctic expedition up to the North Pole!…

So, what happened was that our good old friend Felicity Aston, the dauntlessly adventuresome (see why we’re good old friends?:) British explorer, whose unique Antarctic expeditions we support and sponsor from time to time (I’ve even been known to piggy-back onto one of her missions (I flew, she skied!) – to see in the New Year at the South Pole!), decided to steel herself to… try something totally different: to write a new book about one of her adventures! And the one she chose was the first international skiing expedition to the North Pole, in which only women took part, with around half of the skiers coming from Arab countries – so the only snow/ice they’d ever seen was the bit you get in the fridge-freezer (ok, maybe also at the skiing attraction in Dubai:).

View this post on Instagram

A SPECIAL POST ABOUT A SPECIAL PERSON. SEE 1ST COMMENT FOR ENGLISH ⏬ . Сегодня будет особенный пост об особенном человеке Фелисити Эстон. Мы знакомы с ней с 2009г., когда помогали женской экспедиции под её руководством дойти на лыжах до Южного полюса. В 2018г. мы снова работали вместе, но уже на противоположном конце мира – другая женская экспедиция дошла на лыжах до Северного полюса. Это неожиданный человек, отличающийся открытостью и женственностью с одной стороны и колоссальной силой и упорством с другой. Такие люди живут мировыми рекордами и неожиданными поступками, заставляющими человечество сначала охать и ахать, а потом радостно аплодировать. В 2011г. она предложила поддержать её трансантарктическую соло-экспедицию через Южный полюс. Вчитайтесь ещё раз: в полном одиночестве, на лыжах, почти 2 месяца и ~1800км. Ага? Вот и мы тогда пытались отговорить, но она поставила нас перед нелёгким выбором: я пойду по-любому, с вашей поддержкой или без. Я до сих пор храню на телефоне её СМС когда всё закончилось: «I did it! I just arrived at the coast having crossed Antarctica! Wanted to let you know myself». Догадываюсь насколько ей там было тяжело, а мне просто за неё было страшно. Первая часть экспедиции как-то вообще не пошла. Ещё в Пунта-Аренас её промариновали несколько дней в ожидании лётной погоды, потом неожиданные торосы по пути, привыкание к одиночеству и особенностям антарктического быта. На полюсе – встреча с людьми, небольшой отдых, подзаправка и дальше в дорогу. Зато второй отрезок прошёл как-то очень быстро и даже незаметно. Ну, Фелисити, что дальше? :)

A post shared by Eugene Kaspersky ⚕️ (@e_kaspersky) on

Officially it was the Euro-Arabian North Pole expedition, which took place back in 2018. But in the book it’s less the official side – more the human side… For it’s not only about conquering the North Pole; it’s also about how the team of women built up comradery and dialogue amid vast expanses of ice and snow, the negotiating of dangerous ice cracks, and also endless daytime where it never gets dark and spending those light nights in cramped tents, and more uniquely ‘polar’ circumstances.

This printed work will be called ‘Polar Exposure’, and just recently Felicity announced the start of its pre-sales. Click here, and you can pre-order a copy!

Now for a bit more detail on the North Pole expedition…

Eleven women took part in the polar expedition, most of whom had no experience whatsoever of anything like it, but under the expert guidance of Felicity they successfully fulfilled their mission: getting to the North Pole on foot and skis only. Some were their countries’ first ever women to set foot on Arctic ice! And despite the extreme temperatures, icy winds and lots of other hardships, the expeditioners completed their tough route in eight days. The expedition, organized by Felicity, and with our full sponsorship-support, showed how much women, no matter where they’re from in the world and regardless of experience, can achieve (given the right guidance) – even to ski across the ice of the Arctic Ocean and to the very top of the planet!

So sure – buy the book, by all means. But also, perhaps – then buy… some skis! Find the right travel agency with experience of Arctic skiing treks, organize yourselves, train, and then follow in the 11 heroes’ footsteps ski tracks – all the way up to the North Pole! Well why not? Life’s too short not to!…

Btw, pre-ordering the book will be possible through November 14. And if there are at least 500 pre-orders, the launch and the distribution of the book will be taken care of by the publisher. And the more pre-orders – the better the distribution terms, the bigger the print-run, and simply the more positivity and drive there’ll be in this world!

Happy reading folks. And then happy polar expeditioning!…

Moscow-to-Mars simulation – to see if you’d last the duration!

The other day I visited a most unusual, unique place – and just down the road too. It’s a space-travel training complex where they do simulations of long missions into space. You may have heard of a small group of volunteers who cut themselves off from the world for a long as it takes to fly to Mars and back? Well, this is the place where that happens…

…In this unassuming building:

…Namely – inside cylindrical chambers like the one in the following pic, whose size is no larger than that of a modern-day space ship. Inside everything’s set up to imitate as closely as possible a space flight: limited space, regeneration of water and oxygen, time delays in communications ‘with Earth’, etc. The only thing that’s not reproduced is weightlessness; oh – and windows through which you can see stars ).

Read on…

From Udomlya with Love – and Fresh Electricity.

There’s a town in Russia that’s situated almost precisely at the mid-point between Moscow and St. Petersburg. It goes by the name of Udomlya. You’ll no doubt not have heard of it. Not many Russians have heard of it; I hadn’t heard of it either until last week when we went there! For I don’t have an encyclopedic memory, and I tend to study geography through personal field visits!

So what were we doing in this little-known town? Well, just to the north of Udomlya there’s a lake of the same name, and on one of its banks is a place to which we paid a visit: the Kalinin Nuclear Power Plant.

// You think Udomlya sounds a little funny/stage in English? It sounds no less funny/strange in Russian! I had a quick look on the net for the etymology, and it claims it comes from the Finno-Ugric, but to me it sounds Slavic. Can any of you, dear readers, confirm the origins?

Now, much as I’d love to show you pics of this fascinating industrial installation, I’m not going to show you one! I didn’t take any! (Blimey: that must be a first.) For this is critical infrastructural object – no photography allowed, not by visitors at least. Some of the nice folks who showed us round – they were permitted to take photos, but even then – only in special designated areas. Accordingly, you’ll just have to settle for their handful of pics (and this here short text of mine)…

Read on…

Cyber-pandemic: the hunt for a vaccine.

Hot off the presses folks – coming up in a matter of minutes (!) – the next in the Hacker:HUNTER series of online documentaries on cybercrime! And timely it is: it’s about how, during the pandemic, hackers have been exploiting the situation to steal ever more data and money more than before. And they’ve been exploiting the fact that most folks have been working from home too. But wait – they go even lower…

Since the pandemic really kicked in, cybercriminals have been hacking and causing all sorts of trouble for medical institutions and research centers. Some cyber-scum having been searching for get-rich-quick schemes (and often finding them), while others – the more sophisticated groups – have been hunting today’s most valuable medical research information. And our new documentary – Hacker:Hunter: Ha(ck)c1ne – Healthcare on the Edge! – is all about this.

The film shows us how, against the backdrop of coronavirus, the devoted, selfless, hardworking folks working to save lives became targets of super-advanced cyberattacks, while those seeking data on vaccines against COVID-19 have been turning to cybercriminals to pilfer it.

The film is the third season of the series of investigative documentaries about cybercrime – Hacker:HUNTER, released as part of our Tomorrow Unlocked online project.

The first was all about the Carbanak cybercriminal group, which several years ago managed to steal a billion dollars from ATMs in different countries around the world.

The second told the story of the infamously awful WannaCry ransomware attack.

The series is getting really good reviews too, with high IMDB ratings. So, if you’ve seen everything worth watching while spending a lot more time at home than usual, here’s something new for you – here!

And the premiere is, like minutes away – 15:00 GMT (16:00 BST – current UK time).

You can watch the film on our YouTube channel.

Meanwhile – trailer! ->

If you’ll have questions at the end, they can be put to the creators and technical experts of the film: Rainer Bock, Head of Production at our Brand Activation Studio; and Costin Raiu, GReAT director and one of the main consultants for the film.

Btw: for the wittiest, most interesting post on the film – a prize of a 100-euro voucher will be awarded! (the post needs to include a link to the YouTube premiere and the hashtag #hackc1ne), while the author of the most popular publication will be awarded a collection of corporate souvenirs!

So – quickly – go get the popcorn in, and then settle down comfortably and enjoy the film! I promise you it’ll be worth it!..

Antimonopoly justice: wheels finally turning, or another flash in the pan?

Business done successfully will always tend toward becoming bigger. C’est la vie.

It often goes like this: In a given field, the big and strong gobble up the small and… smart (exceptions prove the rule). But what also sometimes happens is the big and strong with breakthrough technologies in one field gobble up everyone in different field. Example: once upon a time there was the giant, all-powerful Kodak, but then the era of digital photography came along, and the film-based photography field was wiped out. And this is how scientific-technical revolutions come about, and they’re useful: they help humanity progress.

But there’s another scenario: the big and strong become… so incredibly big and strong that they start dictating rules to all the other players in their industry, they strangle the natural selection of innovative and successful companies, and even try to hamper the development of any allied companies or markets that represent potential danger for their business. And in this case, antimonopoly bodies have to intervene to put a stop to such abuse of power so as to protect progress.

Domination in a market isn’t unlawful under antimonopoly rules. However, companies that dominate have a special responsibility not to abuse their power by limiting competition.

This latter scenario is being played out right now on a (socially-distanced) stage in a suspenseful IT-show whose main characters are Amazon, Apple, Facebook and Google – operators of the world’s largest online platforms – three of which (all bar Facebook) also act as the world’s largest online marketplaces. The other main characters in the show are the U.S. authorities, which are trying to rein in these online platforms – meaning checking they’re not unfairly taking advantage of their powerful positions – including hindering their ability to be judge, jury and executioner in their marketplaces. They are trying to prevent unfair competition – including exertion of pressure on competitors to ease promotion of the marketplaces’ own products. I’ve already written about one such high profile show case like this: the one where Apple has been driving out independent developers of parental control applications from its App Store.

Let me give an analogy here:

A landlord starts to lease out his land to farmers on equal terms and conditions, which suit everyone just fine. But at the same time, the landlord keeps a close watch on the farmers to see which are doing best. The following year, he starts doing what those successful farmers do himself. He also changes the terms and conditions of the leases ‘to protect worms’: now all farmers under those leases aren’t allowed to use spades – they must use trowels, and they should stop using fertilizer. But this rule doesn’t apply to the landlord. It’s like, he’s not actually preventing the farmers from going about their farming business – and he’s declaring worthy intentions – but how on earth can the farmers with trowels compete with the landlord with his spades and the very latest fertilizer?

Sounds all very Middle Ages, right? But a similar thing is happening in 2020 – only not in farming but in the modern digital economy; however, finally, the powers-that-be appear to be waking up to the fact. Or so it seems…

In early 2019, U.S. Senator Elizabeth Warren gave a watershed interview to The Verge, in which she stated that she “would classify any company that runs a marketplace and makes more than $25 billion a year in revenue as a ‘platform utility’, and prohibit those companies from using those platforms from [sic] selling their own products.” Put simpler – incidentally when referring to Apple in particular – she stated: “Either they run the platform or they play in the store”.

And that was that: despite the fact these were Very Big Boys she was talking about, the starting gun was duly fired…

Read on…

Top-5 K-technologies that got us into the Global Top-100 Innovators.

We’ve done it again! For the second time we’re in the Derwent Top 100 Global Innovators – a prestigious list of global companies that’s drawn up based on their patent portfolios. I say prestigious, as on the list we’re rubbing shoulders with companies such as Amazon, Facebook, Google, Microsoft, Oracle, Symantec and Tencent; also – the list isn’t just a selection of seemingly strong companies patents-wise: it’s formed upon the titanic analytical work of Clarivate Analytics, which sees it evaluate more than 14,000 (!) candidate companies on all sorts of criteria, of which the main one is citation rate, aka ‘influence’. And as if that wasn’t tough enough, in five years the threshold requirement for inclusion in the Top-100 on this criterion has risen some 55%:

In a bit more detail, the citation rate is the level of influence of inventions on the innovations of other companies. For us, it’s how often we’re mentioned by other inventors in their patents. And to be formally mentioned in another company’s patent means you’ve come up with something new and genuinely innovative and helpful, which aids their ‘something new and genuinely innovative and helpful’. Of course, such an established system of acknowledging other innovators – it’s no place for those who come up with mere BS patents. And that’s why none of those come anywhere near this Top-100. Meanwhile, we’re straight in there – in among the top 100 global innovator companies that genuinely move technological progress forward.

Wow, that feels good. It’s like a pat on the back for all our hard work: true recognition of the contributions we’ve been making. Hurray!

Still reeling – glowing! – from all this, ever the curious one, I wondered which, say, five, of our patented technologies are the most cited – the most influential. So I had a look. And here’s what I found…

5th place – 160 citations: US8042184B1 – ‘Rapid analysis of data stream for malware presence’.

Read on…