Sunny Melbourne.

Melbourne is a really great city – especially when the sun’s out. But just the other day it was overcast, wet and miserable – not what you associate with one of Australia’s main cities. My hotel room was up on the 46th floor of a skyscraper, so I had a good panoramic view of the city, and I would have taken a few snaps of this conspicuously present bad weather, but they’d stuck some kind of transparent film onto the windows, which made the whole scene horrendously ugly and certainly not worthy of its picture being taken. But I digress…

A day later – it was back to business-as-usual: a shining sun in a clear blue sky with just the odd white fluffy cloud here and there. Yes, the Australian summer unhurriedly merging into the Australian fall in March: not a bad time of year to be here.

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A word about jetlag.

Herewith, a few words on the experience known as jetlag, which I am often asked about, and of which I have plenty of experience.

First. When asked if I suffer from jetlag, I sometimes answer no: I travel around the world too fast for it to catch up with me. Alas, that’s a bit of a benign porky pie. Of course I suffer from jetlag – just like everyone else (to differing degrees). However, according to my long-running observations of this phenomenon, I’ve learned how to endure it a little easier than most. As a wise man once said, you can get used to anything – especially if it happens a lot. Well, my decade-plus of practically non-stop globetrotting – that’s a lot of jetlag. I’ve just gotten used to it, I think. And these days my body and mind have no trouble at all getting over any degree of jetlag in just one or two days.

Second. Despite my oft-uttered little white lies, the worst kind of jetlag is in fact the one that can’t catch you up. Wait. Or is it the other way round – you can’t keep up with real time? What I mean is, when you continent-hop non-stop for weeks, spending just two or three days in each place, your body clock gets just completely out of whack as it has no idea whatsoever whether it’s day or night, morning or evening, whether it’s time for breakfast or supper, and on and on.

For example: Sydney – Cyprus – Tokyo – Paris (a segment of a world tour that springs to mind if we’re talking extreme jetlag disorientation). One’s circadian rhythm gets so confused that when you do manage to get some shut-eye (whenever that may be), it’s never a deep sleep, and so when awake one’s eye’s blink out of sync. It’s like – your sleep is only 70% effective, so your waking hours are only 70% effective. That can’t be too healthy. Not recommended!

Another tough scenario: flights east (and this has been scientifically proven. Worst of all: a flight taking you +9 time zones around the world. Like New York – Moscow, or Moscow – Kamchatka. Or my recent Budapest – Melbourne. You sleep poorly on the night flight, you arrive in the morning with a full day’s business ahead of you, and all you want to do is hit the sack for a full night’s kip!

This time though it was a day flight. We arrived in Melbourne (via Dubai) at 10pm local time after flying 13 hours, around six of which I slept, which is more than sufficient. But time for bed again! No worries though – that’s sure doable. A couple of melatonins (must-haves for any frequent long-haul flyer) and I was out like a light again at 2am local time (4pm body-clock time, set in Hungary). Then, at 6am (10pm body-clock time) we were up and at ’em like troopers, zero jetlag!

Plus there’s a bonus getting up so early in Oz:

Note to self: more day-flights – especially when flying east – than red-eyes.

Now, where was I. Oh yes…

Third. The best jetlag, if there ever can be such a thing, is that that comes with flying west: say, the same nine hours but going back in time. What you get is simply a very long day, at the end of which you fall into a coma-resembling deep sleep. You find yourself waking up at four or five in the morning local time, fully refreshed and back at ’em!

PS: Two or three hours’ time difference between Western and Eastern Europe? Please. That’s not jetlag. That’s… a blip, nothing more :). Feeling a bit funny mood-wise? It’s not due to the time change; it’s something else. My prescription for phantom jetlag? Get to Kamchatka or Indonesia, where you set off up volcano treks literally in the middle of the night. That should cure any blypo-chondria!

All righty, my extra early-morning energy here in Melbourne duly expended on this here post during the extra few hours to kill before the business world wakes up in Australia, here we go again – for the third time in this post, back at ’em!…

White Budapest.

Budapest is a very beautiful city – especially from the Pest side. The city currently has a light coating of snow over most of it (where they haven’t cleared it), which adds a certain wintry charm to the place.

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Фэбruaяy 45, 2018.

I love Russian winters. Everything coated in spotless (at least on my balcony at the office) driven snow, and when the sun comes out, the beauty of the serene scene is multiplied several fold:

But wait. Typo, surely, no? Russian winter? But we’re 16 days into spring already. At least, that’s what I thought. What’s going on here?!!

Read on…

10 years of sensational SAS.

Many different cyber-professional events take place around the world every year. Out of all of them I have one special favorite – our own special one for cybersecurity analysts: SAS (Security Analyst Summit). And every year they just get better and better and bigger and bigger. This time we had 320 guests from 30+ countries – mostly from the Americas and Europe, but also seven experts from Australia, and participants from Singapore, Japan, Taiwan, Malaysia and Saudi Arabia. Representatives of large companies were in strong attendance as usual (from Microsoft, Google, Apple, Cisco, Sony, Honeywell, Cloudflare, Pfizer, SWIFT, Chevron, Citibank and others), but there were also folks from the cyber-police of different countries, plus government agencies and departments from the UK, Netherlands, Canada, France, China, South Korea, Switzerland, Austria, Romania and Kazakhstan. There were non-commercial and educational organizations (like, among others, the Electronic Frontier Foundation and the University of Texas, respectively). And a big thanks to our conference partners and sponsors, namely: Qintel, Avast, Telstra, Microsoft, ThreatBook, Talos, Security Week and Threatpost. In short, folks from all over and from diverse fields, demonstrating the degree of trust in and respect for our company.

Like me, SAS likes to travel the world, avoiding the large Congress centers of big boring cities, preferring instead stunning exotic locations with a warm climate and in the immediate vicinity of warm ocean.

SAS has been held in Croatia, Cyprus and Malaga on the Mediterranean; in Mexico’s Cancun in 2012 and 2015; on the Spanish island of Tenerife; and the Dominican Republic, Puerto Rico and St. Maarten in the Caribbean. And here we are once again back in Cancun for this, our 10th SAS! Hooray!

It all began in the year 2009. 60 guests – 55 of which were KL staff! – each sharing their notes on research and experience in cybersecurity. Those humble beginnings quickly grew into large-scale industry events with more than 300 high-level delegates (only ~30% of which were from KL). This year’s event was extra special because of the jubilee, and the participants didn’t seem disappointed…

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Mexico Secreto.

Hi folks!

Cenotes. Gotta love ’em.

What’s a cenote, you ask? A cenote is “a natural pit, or sinkhole, resulting from the collapse of limestone bedrock that exposes groundwater underneath. Especially associated with the Yucatán Peninsula of Mexico, cenotes were sometimes used by the ancient Maya for sacrificial offerings.”Wikipedia.

Cenotes of the Yucatán Peninsula – gotta love ’em especially. For these aren’t just pretty lakes somewhere deep down below in huge pits (like Ik Kil); these are rivers and pools that are completely underground – invisible from the surface. Yucatán’s climate is well and truly tropical, meaning there’s plenty of rain too; all the same, on the surface there are practically no rivers at all to be seen. Why? Before the limestone bedrock collapses the rivers run underneath it. When a collapse does eventually take place, only then do the rivers show their faces rapids to the world once again after millennia underground.

Btw, you aren’t allowed to take camera/video equipment into the cenotes; accordingly, none of the pics here are mine.

Here are a few pics I found on the net: oh my grotto!…

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From Russia (to Belgium) with… Steel.

I’m a curious chap. Example: I’ve long wondered what the differences are between European and Russian… steel works! Ok, not quite everyone else in the world is wondering about such a thing, but, then, you don’t follow this blog for more on what everyone else is thinking, right? ).

So wonder I did. Past tense. Today – no more wondering, for now I know…

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The mystery of the Aldabra giant tortoise.

I first set eyes on these incredible creatures last year in 2017. Just a year later and I was back for more, and since then I haven’t been able to stop wondering: where did they come from and how did they manage to survive? Wikipedia gave me part of the answers, which in this instance I trust completely: the Aldabra giant tortoise is endemic to the island of the Aldabra atoll in Seychelles.

// Endemic, btw, refers to species – not individuals. So, let’s say you live and don’t ever venture far from a single address/location, you aren’t endemic to that place; you’re just lazy – or a hikikomori, if in Japan! :)

But how? This question keeps me up at night…

Read on…