Obama: patents patently barmy.

A serious issue I’ve been critically writing and talking about for several years now has finally made its way up through the echelons of power to find itself being officially recognized – and condemned – by no less than the President of the USA! Indeed, the day before President’s Day Barack Obama issued a strong rebuke against patent trolls! When asked to comment on the current situation as regards the protection of intellectual property and abuses of patents, he came out with the following gem:

“The folks that you’re talking about [patent trolls] are a classic example; they don’t actually produce anything themselves. They’re just trying to essentially leverage and hijack somebody else’s idea and see if they can extort some money out of them.”

Ye gods. At last some sense from the top! He went on to say that patent trolls (not the term he used!) represent one of the main things very wrong with the current American patent system. Then he commented on his administration’s attempts at patent reform:

“I do think that our efforts at patent reform only went about halfway to where we need to go, and what we need to do is pull together additional stakeholders and see if we can build some additional consensus on smarter patent laws.”

You can read a bit more on Obama’s comments here, or check this video out – from the 16th minute:


More: How to stop feeding these parasites?…

Yukatan: You can tan, while conferencing.

On the news of late I’ve been seeing an awful lot of reports about very woeful wintery weather all around the world. In Moscow they’ve had the heaviest snowfall in something like centuries, and Northeastern USA also got a fair overdose of the pretty white precipitation. I start thinking that it’s all just signals warning of impending doom caused by global warming. But then, who wouldn’t – bar ostriches – after all the freak snow and then looking at the results of ice drillings in Antarctica at the Vostock Station? :( But I digress…

So it seems that everyone from New York, to York, to Yakutsk is suffering big time with loads of weary winteriness. So that leaves me + cohorts + partners feeling… well, a little bit guilt-stricken, to say the least. Why? Because we’re all on the sun drenched, snow-free, profoundly picturesque Yucatán Peninsula.

KL N.American Partner Conference

More: Why conferencing in paradise?…

Flickr photostream

Instagram photostream

A Move in the Right Direction.

Barack Obama signs an executive act regulating cyber security

On Tuesday, President Obama issued a long awaited Executive Order on cyber security intended to expand and deliver more robust information sharing between government and the private sector.  The Executive Order also requires the development of a voluntary cyber framework and standards to improve protection of the U.S. critical infrastructure.  The Executive Order rightly focuses on a risk-based approach.  Resources are limited and prioritization to secure those areas most at risk is smart policy.  The sophistication of threats and targeted attacks on key economic sectors around the world stresses the urgency that action be taken to better secure critical infrastructure.  This effort by President Obama is a positive step to address a real gap in the protection of critical assets necessary to the well being of the United States.

The risk to critical infrastructures is real, and an international challenge that must be addressed by governments and the private sector together.  As we see more threats to the national and economic security of countries, action must be taken to better protect those critical national infrastructures.  Attacks like StuxnetFlameGauss and Shamoon are becoming commonplace and keep growing in sophistication.

I believe this executive order is a move in the right direction as it seeks to increase digital defenses of critical infrastructure, and tries to facilitate the exchange of threat information between the government and private sector.  Better cooperation between governments around the world and their private sectors to improve sharing of timely and relevant cyber threat information is essential. Likewise, operators of the critical infrastructures must work to implement flexible performance based standards to secure their assets.

We are at a critical juncture on cyber security protection, and leadership in the U.S. and around the world is essential.  We hope that other nations and unions will follow this example and take steps to better protect their national critical infrastructures.

We’re ready to support and assist in national and international cyber defense efforts with our research, technologies and people.

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It’s Not All Just Antivirus, You Know. Introducing Kaspersky Security for Business.

It’s been little more than a year since the release of the previous version of our corporate product (Endpoint Security 8), but we’ve already rolled out a new (need I say it – much improved) one. Yesterday, as per tradition in New York, we had our global launch of Kaspersky Endpoint Security for Business (KESB) – a nifty bit of software kit in which all sorts of new stuff comes together – from a flock of new functionality to a new name and a new product line.

This post gives you a peak at all these newbie bits and bobs featured in KESB. But first, as a bit of background to make all the new stuff a little easier to get your head round (I hope), let me give you a historic overview what’s gone on in the past and which has brought us to this year’s culmination: KESB.

More: In the beginning there was antivirus…

All Mouth, No Trouser.

“All animals are equal, but some are more equal than others.” Thus spake Napoleon, the head-hog in Orwell’s dystopian classic.

The genius of this phrase lies in its universality – a small addition turns the truth inside out. Alas, this witty paradox [sic.] is met not only in farmer-revolutionary sagas, but also in such (seemingly very distant) themes as – and you won’t believe this – antivirus tests! Thus, “All published AV-test results are equal, but some are more equal than others.” Indeed, after crafty marketing folk have applied their magic and “processed” the results of third-party comparative AV tests, the final product – test results as published by certain AV companies – can hardly be described as equal in value: they get distorted so much that nothing of true value can be learned from them.

Let’s take an imaginary antivirus company – one that hardly distinguishes itself from its competitors with outstanding technological prowess or quality of protection, but which has ambitions of global proportions and a super-duper sales plan to fulfill them. So, what’s it gonna first do to get nearer its plan for global domination? Improve its antivirus engine, expand its antivirus database, and/or turbo charge its quality and speed of detection? No, no, no. That takes faaaar too much time. And costs faaaar too much money. Well, that is – when you’re in the Premiership of antivirus (getting up to the First Division ain’t that hard). But the nearer the top you get in the Champions League in terms of protection, the more dough is needed to secure every extra hundredth of a real percent of detection, and the more brains it requires.

It’s much cheaper and quicker to take another route – not the technological one, but a marketing one. Thus, insufficient technological mastery and quality of antivirus detection often gets compensated by a cunning informational strategy.

But how?

Indirectly; that’s how…

Now, what’s the best way to evaluate the quality of the protection technologies of an antivirus product? Of course it’s through independent, objective opinion by third parties. Analysts, clients and partners give good input, but their impartiality naturally can’t be guaranteed. Comparative tests conducted by independent, specialized testing labs are where the real deal’s at. However, testers are peculiar beasts: they concentrate purely on their narrow trade – that’ll be testing – which is good, as testing done well – i.e., properly and accurately – is no easy task. But their results can often come across as… slightly dull, and could do with a bit of jazzing up. Which is where testing marketing done by those who order the testing kicks in: cunning manipulation of objective test results – to make the dirty-faced appear as angels, and/or the top-notchers appear as also-rans. It all becomes reminiscent of the ancient Eastern parable about the blind men and the elephant. Only in this case the marketing folk – with perfect eyesight – “perceive” the results deliberately biasedly. The blind men couldn’t help their misperceptions.

blind people and elephant

More: Nine tricks to put the wool over your eyes…

New Zealand: The Kamchatka Challenger. Introduction.

Towards the back end of last year, a group of like-minded souls – yours truly included – suddenly decided to drop everything – well, most things – and carefully study the country that calls itself New Zealand. But why? And who are these like-minded souls? These questions, and others, will be answered right here, right now…

New Zealand

More: 2 x 30+ hour sets of flights, 6000+ km traveled on NZ roads, and 17 days in NZ …

Very fresh electricity.

People can be divided into two groups: those that use electricity (and let’s face it, that’s the vast majority of us), and those that produce electricity (a very small, select group). And that’s why I’d like to congratulate everyone on Energy Day – 22 December. I’m here on the banks of the Yenisei in the village of Cheryomushki at the Sayano–Shushenskaya hydroelectric plant.

Sayano-Shushenskaya Dam

Sayano-Shushenskaya Dam

More: This is a truly beautiful, fascinating place…

A Few Clowns Short of a Circus.

Hi all!

Last Friday, (December 14) we had our traditional New Year’s bash, not all that far from KL HQ – somewhere in among the side streets of northern Moscow, at the huge club Stadium-Live. About 1500 KL employees and guests from all corners of the globe turned up, and a further 50 or so KLers were up on stage taking part in the theatrical-rock-acrobatic-sing-song-mega-show (for which they practiced their tricks and dances and songs almost nightly for two months), accompanied by around 30 professional circus artists.

KL New Year Party

KL New Year Party

More: A long-held dream of mine came true…

Morocco: +1.

Salam folks!

My list of the countries in the world I’ve been to has just had a +1 – Morocco. My total now comes to 72, including Antarctica. Kind of sluggish plusses of late being added to this list, but I guess that’s mathematically unavoidable the longer the list gets, and of course the list takes no account of the multiple repeat trips I make to a handful of countries…

So here I am in Morocco – in the city of Marrakesh (sometimes referred to as Marrakech, but never Marakesh/Marakech!). We had our annual European Partners’ Conference here. We normally have this somewhere on the European shores of the Mediterranean, but this year we fancied having it over the other side of that pond – on African shores. The conference was great – dynamic, fun, useful, interesting and entertaining. And an F1 replica racing car was present for the occasion.

But that’s all you’re getting re the business bit of the trip. Now for the cultural bit…

More: Morocco – a very interesting place …

Super Fly Finale.

Phew. A three-week US tour behind us. It’s been tough. It’s been stamina hammering. But it’s been fun. Shame to be leaving really, but commitments elsewhere beckon. We do leave with a ton of strong impressions and good memories though – and loads of pics. In all we managed to cram a heck of a lot into the allotted time, but made sure we enjoyed ourselves too – stopping to smell the roses and see the sights when we could. Now for the same old “suitcase – taxi – airport…”. Where we’re off to next I’ll tell you later on. But it sure looks like we’re in for a total change of landscape.

Our last day, in New York, turned out to be a pleasantly sassy, super-fly summation: a peachy press conference attended by folks from all over the world – including star participant Fernando Alonso! He’s playing the lead role in the new clip for our Safeguarding Me campaign (if you only knew how we had to guard his special “tomita” (the little Japanese talisman in the vid) during shooting!). Have a look for yourself:

More: Super Fly finale on the 40th floor…