Blood of the Earth

Search engines will lead you to sites claiming that the “blood of the Earth” is oil. Don’t believe a word of it. The blood of the Earth in fact looks like this:

tolbachik-eruption-volcano-lava-kamchatka0

Here we are, April, on the Kamchatka Peninsula, checking out the Tolbachik volcano erupting – on a long-weekend trip. It’s a long way to go for a long weekend, but for me and crew – it sure was worth it.

More: A lifetime experience…

Californian elephant seals – best avoided.

And so, the last of my Californian trips (one, two)…

Today I am taking the westernmost section of the coast road, from Half Moon Bay, via Pescadero, and on to Santa Cruz and Monterey (map).

First off – what you do not need to see here. The colony of elephant seals. They are the most hideous, stupid (according to the local rangers), and lazy of beasts, and totally incompetent on land. Mind you, they dive well – down to one and a half kilometers.

CaliforniaOne word: ugly
More: The rest of the route was almost non-stop delights…

Flickr photostream

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INTERPOL drop inter KL.

A few days ago our first – ah, no, second! – ever A-list guests dropped by our new office to see us. Ronald Noble, the Secretary General of INTERPOL, and our good acquaintance Noboru Nakatani, the head of INTERPOL’s new cyber division in Singapore, came to see us on a friendly visit that resulted in the official announcement of our cooperation to more effectively fight cybercrime on a global level.

interpol-kaspersky-team-fight-cybercrime-international-level1

More: Calling all cyberswine – watch out!…

New viruses from Chelyabinsk so advanced they blow the mind.

Every day our valiant antivirus lab processes hundreds of thousands of files. Each single day! Admittedly, some of them turn out to be clean and honest files, or just broken code, innocent scripts, assorted scraps of data, etc., etc., etc., but mostly it’s maliciousness – a lot of which is analyzed and processed automatically (as I’ve already mentioned on these cyberpages).

But every now and again we come across some reeeaaal unusual items – something totally new and unexpected. Something that activates the little grey cells, makes the heart beat faster, and gets the adrenaline pumping. I mean things like Stuxnet, Flame, Gauss and Red October.

Anyway, it looks like we’ve found something else in this original-oddity category…

Yes, we’ve detected another malware-monster – a worm originating from the cyberstreets of the Russian Internet. What we were able to say straight off was that it surpasses in sophistication by a long way not only all known malicious programs today – including professional cyberspies and cyberweapons – but also any other known software – judging by the logic of the algorithms and the finesse of their coding.

Yes folks, this is big!

We’ve never come across such a level of complexity and perplexity of machine code with program logic like this. Analyzing the most complicated worms and Trojans normally takes several weeks – whereas this baby looked like it’d take years! Maybe several years!!! It’s just so darn elaborate and convoluted.

I don’t know a single software company that would have been able to develop such a beast. Nor any cybercriminals with their mostly primitive malware. Nor any of the secret services assumed to be behind the more artful malware that’s appeared in recent years. No. This new find simply cannot be the work of any of those three.

So… Are you sitting down? No? Change that.

I’d say it’s theoretically impossible to say that this code was written by a human being (glad to be seated now?).

This code is so infernally intricate that I fear this newly-discovered worm must have extraterrestrial origins.

Hohoho

But wait – there’s more…

Securing Mother-SCADA.

Hi all!

We’re always assessing the state of the world of computers by prodding it with various hi-tech instruments in different places, taking measurements from different Internet sensors, and studying “information noise”. From the information we glean from all this, plus data from other sources, we constantly evaluate the overall body temperature and blood pressure of the computer world, and carefully monitor the main risk areas. And what we’re seeing at the mo – that’s what I’ll tell you about in this post.

To many, it seems that the most diseased elements of the digital world are home computers, tablets, cellphones and corporate networks – that is, the computer world that most folks know about – be it of a work or home/consumer coloring. But they’d be wrong. Despite the fact that the majority of cyberattacks occur in “traditional” cyberspace (cyberespionage, cybercrime, etc.), they don’t represent the main threat. In actual fact, what should be feared most of all are computer attacks on telecommunications (Internet, mobile networks) and ICS (automated Industrial Control Systems).

One particular investigation of ours, conducted as part of our ongoing secure OS project, detected a seriously low level of “computer immunity” for control systems of critically important infrastructure. ICS, including SCADA, all of which is made up of software and computerized hardware, is responsible for controlling – and the smooth, uninterrupted running of – tech-processes in practically every sector of industry, be it the power industry, transportation, the mass media, and so on. Computer systems control critical aspects of all modern cars, airplanes and trains; every power station and waterworks, every factory, and even every modern office building (lifts, electricity and water supply, emergency systems like smoke alarms and sprinklers, air conditioning, etc.). SCADA and other ICS – it’s all imperceptible, working in the background in some corner or other nobody takes any notice of… but a whole lot around us depends on it.

Alas, as with any other computer systems, SCADA & Co. can be exposed to malware and hacker attacks, as was clearly demonstrated by the Stuxnet worm in 2010. Therefore, protection of critically important systems has become one of the main strategic priorities of computer security in most developed countries of the world, while in response to cyberattacks on critical infrastructure some countries are ready to go to war – real tanks-and-bombs war (if they can find out which country is responsible). So indeed, the situation’s sure hotting up.

Of course, we’re on the case with SCADA security, and have been for a while. Over the last several years we’ve been conducting detailed analysis of ICS, been establishing the fundamental principles of SCADA security, and also developing a prototype solution for guaranteed SCADA protection from malware threats – based on traditional endpoint security and our secure OS. Products fit for consumption aren’t ready just yet, but active work is currently underway – so they should be soon…

Now, while continuing our usual analysis of SCADA security, earlier today we stumbled upon one heck of a big surprise: we came across “Mother-SCADA”, the chief, predominant, all-powerful ICS of the whole world, on whose smooth and uninterrupted operation relies literally everything on the planet: from how breakfast tastes and the size of annual bonuses, to the hours of night and day time and how fast the sun and the stars move across the skies.

Yep, we’ve gone and found the SCADA that manages all the technological processes in the Matrix!

Mother SCADA admin panel

More: Mother SCADA controls your annual bonus!…

King of the trees

I’d long wanted to return to California’s oldest giant redwood park. I was first here in something like 1997, 15 years ago – and have cherished the experience ever since. And here I am again! Back in the Big Basin Redwoods State Park. The brain struggles to take in the size of these trees, the biggest in the world. They’re bigger than… Atlas – supporting the sky on their branches… Forgive me for getting all mythologically romantic and lyrical, but there’s no other way to convey my emotions.

California Big Basin Redwoods State Park

As touched upon in the recent Golden State & Golden Gate post, the giant redwood– otherwise known as Sequoia sempervirens, coast redwood or Califiornia redwood – can live (with a bit of luck) for more than two thousand years! The tops of these trees are waaaay up somewhere in the sky – more than 100 meters above the ground! One of the fallen giants has been cut into cross sections and different epoch’s rings are indicated show when and where major historical events occurred.

More: Enormous trees that witnessed the history…

Golden Gate & Golden State.

Hi everyone!

I’d always dreamed of one day walking across the Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco – and recently, I’m glad to report, that that dream came true! Traversing the Bay took about an hour (with plenty of stops to soak up the views and take some photos) – from south to north (where I met my fellow frequent travel partner T.T., who was also in a rental car).

Golden Gate, San Francisco

More: Coming next – Muir Woods & Point Reyes..

Coffee with the US Ambassador.

Hi all!

Earlier today a very special visitor dropped by our office. The US Ambassador to Russia, the Honorable Michael A. McFaul, called in for an informal meeting – to chat among other things about US-Russian relations and the success of several Russian companies in the USA. He also took in the great, currently very snowy, panoramic view from my office window.

I found the Ambassador to be a charming individual, easy to talk to, and most pleasant to have an interesting conversation with. Our chat ended with our agreeing to continue friendly relations.

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King of the castle: triple crown turns from yellow to green.

In astrology – squares are bad news. They represent conflict. (How or why I might know this I’ll not share with you here. Cough.) But in IT-industry analysis – squares are good. Real good! To get into one of four squares – ok, they like to call them quadrants – and especially the best of the four (leader/visionary) is no mean feat, so breaking and entering a square – especially leader/visionary – is all the more fantastic.

We are now in three such quadrants (actually, one quadrant, one “scape”, and one wave) – those of Gartner, IDC, and Forrester. All three have unanimously made us “leaders” in the class of corporate endpoint security! But this isn’t just the usual round of yet more medals being fastened to the old KL lapel. Oh no. We’ve received the honored “triple crown” from the three most respected international analytical agencies. Incidentally, this crown has only ever been worn by one other – our competitor with the soft spot for all things yellow. Well, now the triple crown is a nice shade of green.

IDC MarketScape (*)

IS01V MarketScape Graphic

More: see you in quadrants!… ->