Benchmarking Without Weightings: Like a Burger Without a Bun.

Hi everyone!

With the help of my colleagues I’ve been slowly but surely getting up and running a series of posts (here and here) about key technologies – to introduce them to the public, judge the reaction, and then gather ideas. But besides singing the praises here, I’d also like to give you my opinions on comparative tests – those that inform the public how efficient these technologies are. Alas, there are not that many tests I trust and can recommend.

There are just too many shortcomings in today’s testing methodologies, meaning the tests provide only a snapshot of the tested products and miss the whole picture. But it precisely the whole picture that is what customers need. Unfortunately, the majority of tests still employ old testing practices (like on-demand testing with outdated malware collections), which don’t reflect current real-life user scenarios.

And so now let me say a few words about PassMark. This is a very respected organization and I really admire the job it does. However, its recent anti-virus performance test has at least one significant flaw, which could mislead readers and cause them to make purchases based on faulty comparisons.

See more > Performance tests revisited …

Anti-virus and Mac.

We’ve recently participated in IFA 2011 in Berlin, Europe’s biggest trade fair for consumer electronics. It was the second time we’ve exhibited – after last year’s successful event. According to the official figures, nearly a quarter of a million visitors attended the show this year, with 1,441 companies exhibiting their products.

IFA 2011

It’s not exactly our target audience – we were the only IT security company there – but we are fans of unorthodox marketing and original approaches to things. The very fact that none of our competitors were taking part we actually took as a plus when taking the decision to go to IFA.

See more > Some good reasons to have an anti-virus on your Mac …

Flickr photostream

Instagram photostream

Features You’d Normally Never Hear About – Part Two.

Hi everyone!

In this post we continue to bring to light different tasty technological morsels from the lesser known nooks and crannies of our products (the first is here). Today we’ll get into the nitty-gritty of a thing we call Safe Run.

But first let me say a bit more about this whole idea of thematic posts about features before we get too far into them. Some well-intentioned folks here at KL came up with so many ideas for posts that it soon became clear that they should be organized in the form of a series or, rather, a season – in the TV sense: they will run on for a long time. Indeed, a bit like a season of The Office or 30 Rock, there’ll be many short, sharp, to-the-point installments, and no clutter.

And for those for whom this post may be their first, let me repeat that, as you’ll have guessed already by the title, they’re about the kinds of things you may never know existed, but which are in fact very useful and make life easier and better! And of course safer.

Actually choosing which features to write about first out of the multitude was pretty darn tricky – since there are that many of them. In the end I’ve gone for the “best of the best” useful features first. So, after System Watcher last time, here we are with another premium feature – Safe Run.

Kaspersky Labs Safe Run

So, what’s the nature of this beast? And does it come with rice or French fries?  Maybe couscous?

See more > An easy way to do risky things …

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Features You’d Normally Never Hear About.

For different reasons, announcements of new products often never go into the finer details of those products, and leave out info on the slightly less significant though still immensely useful features that go towards making a product complete. However, thanks to our press releases and press conferences, we get the chance to delve into the tasty, lesser-known, more introverted features that might normally pass you by.

First up out of these small but irreplaceable vita-features is System Watcher, whose main function is monitoring applications’ activity on a computer.

Kaspersky Labs System Watcher

See more > What’s common between System Watcher and House M.D.?

Gaming Needs to Be Secure Too!

Hi everyone,

As you know, we take part in many different exhibitions and similar events around the world. Of course not everyone can attend them all, so follow-up reports prepared by those who were there are what’s called for. They help me keep track of all the events and activities too.

One such event was gamescom Expo, a major European trade fair dedicated to gaming, which took place on 17-21 August in Cologne. This year it was attended by 275,000 visitors and 557 participants from 40 countries. Details can be found here and here.

Gaming has to be secure as well! And that’s why we had a stand at the expo, with both animated and unanimated fun content. Photos of this content were sent to me, and that was how I got to know about this event and our stand at it. And this is how this post came about.

Thus – to the photos…

Kaspersky at Gamescom Expo

See more > Striking stats for online gamers

Great GReAT Guys: Aleks Gostev in the Spotlight.

I’m glad the first part of our In-the-Spotlight series featuring Costin G. Raiu received so much attention and positive feedback on both Twitter and Facebook.

My special guest today is Aleks Gostev, Chief Security Expert at KL and highly valued member of the company’s Global Research & Analysis Team (GReAT).

Aleks is a unique multi-disciplinary infosec guy – one of the world’s most prominent security experts, who regularly appears in the mass media in interviews or writing op-eds. He became involved in anti-malware research in 1996 when he founded an anti-virus expertise center in the Komi Republic – a large territory in the North-West of Russia. Since 1998 he’s been Project Coordinator of Wildlist Russia – an initiative aimed at collecting and analyzing data about malware outbreaks in the country.

We first met in 2002, and I recall I felt he was the right guy for the company from the word go. Our first chat went something like:

– Married?
– Yes.
– Birth date?
– Mine or the wife’s?

Nice! That convinced me to give him a job tout de suite, and frankly speaking I’ve never regretted it. Aleks’ first big assignment was dealing with the notorious Slammer (Helkern) worm, which caused a major Internet outage in South Korea and infected hundreds of thousands of computers worldwide. He managed the case perfectly: we were one of the first AV companies to report the outbreak and provide protection.

Aleks GostevShort Bio

Aleks founded and led the Global Research & Analysis Team (GReAT) from 2008 before moving to his current position as Chief Security Expert with the team in 2010. Aleks analyzes all aspects of information security, with a focus on new threats and global outbreaks. His responsibilities include deep investigation of new malware and expert positioning of Kaspersky Lab. He is also editor-in-chief of Securelist. Before joining the company in 2002 he held various IT and security related positions in both public and private organizations.

You can follow Aleks on Twitter (@codelancer) and read his personal blog at Securelist.

He also does lots of rock climbing, traveling and extreme sports:

Aleks Gostev at the South Pole

However, in this spotlight piece we will concentrate on Aleks’ expertise in cloud security.

Read more > The message to iCloud users

Hybrids Are Cool. Hybrids Are Awesome. But What about Hybrid Protection?

There’s been a lot talk for quite a while now surrounding how cloud technologies can help increase protection against malware. One tendency is to fall into the trap of considering the cloud as a silver bullet that can effectively solve all security related issues at once.

I agree that cloud-based protection certainly brings many advantages – both to end users and security vendors. Yes, it permits us to detect new threats much faster and deliver necessary updates to users. However, I don’t share the euphoria that is promoting this approach as a self-sufficient technique capable of tackling security threats by itself.

Protection needs to be multi-layered, with each layer complimenting the others, contributing to the overall security level and shielding computers in any environment – and in a well-balanced manner so as to maintain top computer performance.

Kaspersky cloud protection

There are three main issues that significantly limit the scope of cloud protection being used on its own.

Read more > The three key issues

Shady RAT: Shoddy RAT.

Earlier last week Congresswoman Mary Bono Mack (CA-45), Chairman of the House Subcommittee on Commerce, Manufacturing and Trade, sent a letter to Dmitri Alperovitch, Vice President of Threat Research at McAfee, requesting further information on his recently published report “Revealed: Operation Shady RAT.” We conducted detailed analysis of the Shady RAT botnet and its related malware, and can conclude that the reality of the matter (especially the technical specifics) differs greatly from the conclusions made by Mr. Alperovitch …

More: Shady RAT: Shoddy RAT.. . .

Facebook Doomsday on November 5?

The recent announcement by the Anonymous hacker group to take down Facebook on November 5 – Bonfire Night – has resulted in a series of online publications and sparked much hot debate.

The story surrounding this announcement seems to create more questions than provide answers.

First of all, the announcement is not all that recent. It went online a month ago, but surprisingly surfaced prominently in the media just earlier this week. However, the reason for this delay is not that important.

More interesting is whether this is a genuine announcement coming from Anonymous. Is it from some hackers pretending to be part of Anonymous? Or from some Anonymous members who are planning an operation of their own? Or is it just a hoax coming from an unknown party using the highly-publicized image of the hacker group for their own goals?

Too many questions – yeah, I know.

And here are the answers >

The Third Wave.

A little on the business.

It just so happened (how else?!) that our product line and business generally developed in a series of “waves”.

First, from 1997 to the early 2000s, came the “anti-virus engine licensing” wave. Since breaking out into the international market with our products was at first very difficult (affected by our being largely unknown and by prejudices related to our country of origin), we licensed our AV engine to IT security companies  (and did rather well at this!).

The income from our technology sales was spent in the main on development and promotion of our personal products (less attention was paid to the development of corporate products back then) – and this was the second wave (by the end of the 2000s-).

Then, the retail business and and online sales simply “blown up”. Since then,and bringing us up to the current era, the corporate business has finally begun to take off. And this is our third wave.

And now, ladies and gentlemen! Especially those who’ve long been waiting for our new breakthrough in the corporate segment.

Read more > beta-testing in progress