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.

I am doing a Reddit AMA.

During the course of a business trip, I tend to meet a lot of people. These can be anyone to people in the street to conference attendees to reporters or partners of the company. In meeting this many people, I also get asked a lot of interesting questions.

Most times I am able to give quick answers or offer some insight into the state of cybersecurity, what airports to avoid or best places in the world to spend a holiday. But there are also times where I have to be quick and head to the next meeting or connecting flight.

When you add up the years that I have spent travelling and growing the business over the last 20 years, these missed connections start to add up. So many people left with burning questions.

If you are one of these people that have missed your chance in the past, I have got some good news for you. On Thursday May 11th at 9:00 am EDT, you can literally ask me anything.

Seriously, this is not a joke boys and girls. I will be hopping on Reddit for a 2-hour Ask Me Anything where you can ask anything that you want and I will answer as many as I can. We will also be sharing the link to the AMA a bit before on our social media channels in case you can’t make the chat.

So what will you ask me?

Christmas Sales – a Climatic-Origin Version.

Once upon a time, a long, long time ago, somewhere in London – quite possibly in the British Museum – I recall beholding a painting called something like ‘The Market on the Thames’. ‘Whoah!’ I thought to myself, naturally. The River Thames completely freezing over to the extent that not only could you walk around on its surface, but also have a large winter marketplace on it too?! Crikey, as they say in London.

I’m not sure this was the painting I saw; it could have been this, or even this one.

Straight away this got me thinking – about man-made global warming in particular…

So, the Thames hasn’t frozen over for more than 200 years. This means that the full force of the Industrial Revolution didn’t make the climate any warmer at all – since the Industrial Revolution’s full force was felt around the same time as when the Thames would freeze over (it was so cold around then (16th to 19th centuries) they’ve even called the period the Little Ice Age).

Ok, that could be countered with: ‘it hasn’t frozen over for 200 years precisely because of the man-made global warming caused by the Industrial Revolution!’ Hmmm. Ok folks, over to you. Your thoughts? :).

Read on: Sounds familiar…