Quito’s volcano: we couldn’t say no.

Since Ecuador itself and also its Galapagos Islands are both crammed with snowy-peaked volcanism, you might have expected that, after a full two-week expedition there, we’d have been to the top of at least some volcanoes. Well, I guess I would have expected the same too. However, we were on a take-it-easy, contemplative/meditative trip – not a high-octane, stamina-stretching, intense, head-down, onward-and-upward marching one. And one other not unimportant reason – actually, more important than the one just given – is the fact that the snow-capped peaks here are all almost stratospheric – clocking in mostly above five, and sometimes even six thousand meters high. And as any keen volcanist knows – that means acclimatization needs taking very seriously and lots of specialized kit is required; but, like I said – we were in chill-mode throughout the whole expedition, not serious-mode.

However, we did get one teenie-weenie bit of volcanism in – up the ‘easy’ volcano that shrouds Quito: Pichincha. Here are some pics therefrom:

Read on…

New transparency and data centers – in Madrid!

Hola, amigos!

Toward the end of last year we opened our first Transparency Center and a Data Center in Zurich, Switzerland, dedicated to processing data for our customers in Europe. Though that’s just short of five months ago, it’s become clear that this large-scale project reflects perfectly the current concerns regarding the cybersecurity industry in today’s geopolitical climate.

Both the business community and government agencies are reeeaaaal keen on one thing at the moment: crystal clear transparency. And no wonder! In times when any company can be accused at the highest official level of whatever digressions can be thought up – with zero evidence (are you following the Huawei saga?) – both business and state regulators all over the world are left with no other option than to conduct their own analysis and seek out the actual facts (and also use something that is alarming lacking of late: common sense).

It was for this reason that our first Transparency Center has turned out to be both very timely and very useful: it’s visited regularly by our partners and European officials. And I’m very pleased that we’ve become pioneers in the cybersecurity industry with our global openness initiative.

And on the back of the early successes of our Zurich centers, to continue the meet the needs of the market we’re opening another Transparency Center – in Madrid. Hola, amigos! Besides, by the end of the year we’ll open yet another – in Asia.

The function of the new centers will be the same: accessing both our source code and updates. And in Spain colleagues will be on hand to tell visitors about the finer details of our technologies, products and services – in the showroom there.

So, soon, expect to see the pics from the grand opening – right here on this blog. Stay tuned!

Kaspersky Lab’s Data Center in Zurich

And just in, some more news on the theme of ‘demolishing myths’…

We’re publishing some research findings of a respected independent expert on Russian legal matters – Prof. Dr. Kaj Hobér of Uppsala University, Sweden. The professor has been studying the intricacies of the Russian legal system now for more than 30 years. He started this back when Russia was still in the Soviet Union, having lived for several years in Moscow. And he’s been an arbiter in over 400 arbitration cases. In short, a very impressive CV and a very impressive individual, whose utmost professionalism it’d be hard to doubt.

His research concerns three Russian laws relating to the processing and storage of data. Now, some ‘experts’ and journalists often make reference to these laws when they write about KL. But doing so is just soooo off the mark! This independent analysis proves how we (KL) aren’t bound by any of the three laws – for one simple reason: we aren’t an internet service provider or mobile phone company! For it’s only internet providers and mobile operators that are bound by the three laws. We aren’t. And that’s that! So, let’s take, say, the Yarovaya law: it’s not our headache at all, as it doesn’t affect us at all!

So please, dear experts and journalists and bloggers, please base your judgements on facts, logic, and now independent irrefutable expert analysis – not on the country a company may hail from or on the sensationalist false allegations serving the current geopolitical agenda.

 

Flickr photostream

Instagram photostream

Ecuador-2019: Cotacachi/Cuicocha, Otavalo, Puertolago.

Our tour of the Galapagos was over. All that was left to do was fit in our traditional few days of ‘decompression’ after the extreme part of our expedition before we were to head back home. This was to take place back on mainland Ecuador…

…So much for the ‘decompression’ bit: for our next Ecua-dish on the menu was… volcanism ). Yes, we headed over to Cotacachi Volcano and its lovely caldera/lake called Cuicochahere – around two hours drive from Quito.

The height of the caldera differs depending on whom you ask – among locals, various internets, and our own GPS locators. Our locators gave us figures which tallied with what the locals told us: from 3100 to 3450 meters, making the lake around 3km above sea level! And it all looks something like this:

A fairly easy path runs the full way round the lake, which takes around four or five hours if walking at a gentle pace (decompression, remember?:) – or six or seven hours if non-stop-stopping for snapping the super scenery, which is of course what we did. It’s a wonderful day’s walking, and the path is helpfully dotted with clear signs:

Read on…

Enter your email address to subscribe to this blog

The anatomy of modern fake news: Latvian version.

“… it is established that the information in the published article – the subject matter of these proceedings – is unsubstantiated. Therefore, the court recognizes the lawsuit to be reasonable, and hereby rules to oblige the respondent to apologize in written form to the plaintiff, and publish, at his own expense, … the full text of the apology.”

That’s an extract from the recent Riga court decision on our lawsuit against the Latvian politician Krišjānis Feldmans, which lawsuit sought the protection of our business reputation. And I do hope it will make others think twice about blindly copy-pasting the lies of a handful of U.S. media based on politically-motivated anonymous official-agency sources in the interests of the current geopolitical agenda. But I’m getting ahead of myself. Let me go back to the beginning of this tale…

Source

Read on…

GALÁPA-GOSH – PT. 9: Now you’ve seen it all.

Our oh-my-Galápa-gosh adventure was fast drawing to a close; just one day, one night and a morning, and we’d be heading home. Though this unwelcome end to the trip loomed heavy on our minds, inevitable Ecuad-awesomenesses still lied ahead for us…

Next stop: the northernmost point of Rábida Islandhere. Dark brown-red beaches and rock, and lots of fur seals. Sure, they lazed around on the beach alongside tourists also lazing about on the beach, but we were used to that already. No, here there was a bonus – a very special, unforgettable bonus – which also served as the day’s Ecuad-awesomeness: they’d swim together with us in the ocean!

Swimming with fur seals is insanely fun. They twist and spin and turn around you for a while, then go off and do the same around another tourist, then come back for a repeat performance, perhaps with the addition of some crazy acrobatic somersaults – and it goes on like that forever! They never stop!

And we even got them on video:

Ahh. So much fun and positive vibes.

And ashore – all that Martian redness: fairly monumental:

And of course, lots and lots of cacti, which turned out to be Opuntia. Sure – I’d seen cactuses shaped like that on windowsills back home, but it was only when we got up close to them here did we realize just how massive they are here:

Suddenly, mommy pelican feeding her little one. Oh my gastroscopy!

Peek-a-boo, we see you!

More boobies in their brightly-colored boots:

A fine feathered species all on his lonesome looking out to sea. Looking for his dinner, maybe?

And the icing on the cake, or – rather – the dessert to our whole Galapagos trip – a beach that goes by the name of Espumilla on Santiago Island, aka San Salvador – here. We strolled along it, our mood still a little low since this would be the last beach of our expedition.

The definition of ‘easy pickings’? These here pelicans gobbling up these here fish that washed up on the beach with some waves!

Btw – I used the right metaphor when I mentioned ‘dessert’, for it turns out that ‘espumilla‘ is a popular dessert in Ecuador! I don’t know what it tastes like, but if it’s as nice as this beach – I want some ).

The following morning was a corker: beautiful weather and………. SEX!…

Tortoise sex, that is ).

Yes, that’s what those frisky tortoises get up to – at Black Turtle Cove – here. And why not? Only natural wanting to propagate one’s species. Perhaps we shouldn’t have taken pics; how would we have liked that? )

Not only did we take pornographic photos, we also learned all the ins and outs of the mating process here from our guide. Apparently it takes a full six (6!!) hours. And the poor female there is underwater for a lot of that time. Well she needs to come up for air occasionally – like in the following pic. Or, sometimes they swim/copulate on their sides so there’s no need to come up for air )).

Occasionally other males swim up to the action hoping to get in on it. Oh my gosh. What? Tortoises doing threesomes? Or more? Tortoise orgies? Well. Now I – and you – have seen it all )).

Meanwhile – check out the pesky voyeurs:

And on that jolly note, I end this Galapa-gosh series. Here was the day’s schedule:

Next up for us – ship, airport (for our morning flight)…

Next morning at the airport, we fancied a drink of water from the empty café in the corner. Some of us wanted just hot water, and found out it cost a full two (2!) US dollars. What?! Maybe that’s why the place was empty? )

As if to make up for the hot water extortion racket in the airport, the plane that awaited us on the apron was brand new, and it was a new-to-me airline too – Avianca:

We flew over Guayaquil once more, checking out both its poorer and richer parts, and further onward we flew…

…And back to Quito.

Now, some aromatic bitters I think, to help the digestion of all those dishes of Galapagos. And there’s no better digestive aid than… reading maps, as you’ll know ).

But first, we need to get to grips with the local place names on maps of this part of the world. See, theses islands were discovered by the Spanish, then the English, then again the Spanish, and each time (almost) every island earned itself a new name!

So, herewith, the various names of the islands we visited (going form north to south and from west to east:

Manage to digest all that?!

So totting those up – that comes to eight islands we visited.

Now for the particular places on the islands we disembarked at:

  • On Santiago: Espumilla beach / Buccaneer Cove
  • On Bartolomé: too small for place names
  • On Rábida: ditto
  • On Baltra: airport
  • On Santa Cruz: Los Gemelos / Pit Craters / Twin Craters; Cerro Dragon / Dragon Hill; Caleta Tortuga Negro / Black Turtle Cove!
  • On San Cristóbal: Cerro Brujo / Witch Hill; Punta Pitt / Pitt Point
  • On Floreana: Post Office Bay and Cormorant Point – no Spanish names
  • On Española: Suarez Point / Punta Suarez; Gardner Bay

Ok. Now, finally – the cognac and cigar! – bring out the route map!

So there you have it folks, the Galapagos Islands – from top to bottom. Highly recommended, it goes without saying. They’re a pain to get to, the whole trip ain’t cheap, and the boat rocks a bit too much for comfort for some; but the raptures, the impressions, the emotions, and the future memories – I think they more than compensate for all that. But don’t take make word for it – have a go yourself! You wont’ regret it.

Over and out from the Galapagos folks!

All the Ecuador pics are here.

Florentine cultural overdose.

I tend to travel a lot: all around the world (including its more exotic locations), often, and mostly at a fast pace. I’m very lucky in that respect as I love traveling (surprisingly, not everyone does after doing it years!). I’ve been to most of the must-sees of this world, and taken plenty of pics while doing so and uploaded them to this here blog for well over a decade already. That includes both the North and South Poles, the Himalayas, the Sahara, Greenland, and a great many volcanoes. However, it turns out that some places not all that far away from home for some odd reason haven’t ever been investigated by Yours Truly. Indeed, I keep a short list of these special-yet-unvisited destinations with the hope of whittling it down to – hopefully – nothing sooner or later. Well, said list has just been shortened by one place: for I’ve finally, after so many years wanting to get there, been to… Florence!

Yep, though I’d been to Italy sooooo many times before, I never made it here! I’d been to Rome a zillion times since our first office was opened there (in 2008); also Milan, Naples, Venice, Bologna, Maranello, Syracuse and even Palermo. In short – everywhere but Florence! Well, I had briefly stopped at Florence on a train en route to somewhere else, I’d driven around part of its outer ring road, and I’d flown over it plenty of times, but never visited it properly. Until now…

So what can I say? I’ll say Florence is a magical city. Briefly, here’s why:

Read on…

Industry, infrastructure and IoT – we protect the lot.

Hi people!

Many folks still think we’re just an anti-malware company. Wrong!

Many folks think we’re an anti-malware company that protects their computers and smartphones from any and all kinds of cyber-evil better than anyone else. Right!

Thing is, we’re not just an anti-malware company anymore; far from it. For years already we’ve been providing broader cybersecurity faced with the broader and broader spectrum of cyber-bad that the world is coming up against. This includes protection against: cyberattacks on both the Internet of Things and industrial facilities.

We’ve been warning about the potential for cyberattacks on industrial objects and critical infrastructure for more years than I can remember now. We were banging on about it even before Hollywood got wind of this alarming potential, and that was in the mid-2000s. And we weren’t just banging on about it either; we were busy at work on serious protection technologies to fight it. I’ve mentioned these before, but, briefly: industrial cybersecurity, transportation cybersecurity, IoT protection, and our own secure operating system. And you won’t find many cybersecurity companies around the world that offer a range of products and technologies as wide as that.

All the same, still, today – in 2019! – we’re ‘that anti-malware company’ to a great many. However, very slowly, how we are perceived is changing. And that’s not just what I see myself – there are figures that prove it. Example: global sales of our industrial infrastructure solutions (KICS – industrial ‘antivirus’ :) ) grew in 2018 by 162%! And such growth was seen across nearly all regions – Europe, Latin America, the Middle East and Africa, Asia-Pacific, and Russia. We’ve already completed 80+ projects worldwide for a wide range of industries from power generation, mining and oil refinery, to beverage production.

Both the scale and complexity of threats in the industrial sphere are on the up; what’s more, at stake here is critically important infrastructure like… nuclear power plants. I’m sure I don’t have to tell you how serious that is. On the brighter side, thankfully, our industrial/infrastructure customers understand that protecting their kit requires an individual, tailored approach to each facility and each of its automated industrial control systems (ICS).

Btw, in 2018 our KICS was given as an example in four subsections of multifaceted ‘Operational Technology Security’ in a study by Gartner, the global research and advisory company. To me this shows one thing: that we’re the recognized leaders in the industrial cybersecurity market. Ahhh, that feels satisfying. All that work and investment hasn’t been for nothing!

But besides cutting-edge industrial security, we also have other new services and products. For example, Blockchain Security; specifically, Crypto-Exchange Security and ICO Security (ICO being ‘initial coin offering‘; like an IPO, only with cryptocurrencies, and mostly for startup companies). And we already have some successful projects under out belt! Which is nice to know since Gartner reckons that the blockchain market, come 2030, will be worth more than… three trillion dollars! Already today crypto-exchange turnover comes to more than 300 billion dollars, out of which around 1.2 billion was stolen… in just 11 hacker attacks. Looks like we’ve got our work cut out for us. Oh well. No rest for the wicked awesome ).

So what else have we in our box of tricks? Ah yes…

Now, you’ll know how the whole world these days buys, sells, and generally does business mostly online, right? What you may not know about is our solution to protect all that online business – our Fraud Prevention. It’s made up of all sorts of very cool security technologies, including behavioral biometry and machine learning (details here and here).

Another must-have for business is our DDoS Protection. This uses special sensor software that gets installed on a company’s server. It monitors traffic to collect data for behavioral analysis; it builds up this data to continually improve its ability to detect even the most subtle of behavior anomalies that are characteristic of the start of a DDoS attack. The service is full-on all-inclusive too: notifications are sent immediately about possible attacks, and there’s an option for all the traffic of a company to be redirected to KL’s Cleaning Centers and for only ‘clean’ traffic to be returned to the company. And after an attack a full report on its detailed analysis is sent to the company.

It’s all very well having all this super-duper cyber-tech, but what good is it if the human element isn’t taken into account? In crisis situations, often the PR people of an attacked company take by far not the best decisions, since they don’t really know what’s going on or what to do. Instead of minimizing damage, they make it worse with ill-advised announcements or – worse – not announcing anything to customers/the public. Therefore, we have KACIC – a set of anti-crisis communications tools backed by the whiz kids in our PR team, who understand better than most all the reputational risks of an attack on IT infrastructure. Forewarned is forearmed!

As the Fourth Industrial Revolution continues to develop and the IoT market grows and grows to change every sector of the economy (manufacturing, agriculture, commerce, urban infrastructure, transportation…), we’re putting lots of time and investment into transportation cybersecurity and protection of IoT devices; so much so I think our next breakthrough tech solutions will be in these fields. That time and investment runs parallel with my frequent calls for a thing I call ‘cyber-immunity’, which needs to replace what we have now – ‘cybersecurity’. This means a protective layer at the very core of system architecture, not placing one on top of essentially un-secure systems based on outdated technologies. We’ve already learned how to do this for IoT gadgets; next up – well, the sky is the limit!…

All quiet on the Milanese front.

After my quick trip up to Karelia, I was home a mere few days before I was off again on my travels – this time to (southern) western Europe: Milan, Italy. Here’s the view out of my window on the plane thereto:

The weather here was a far cry from up in northwestern Russia – snowless, windless, sunny, blue sky, perfect temperature… aka – spring! Ok, there is some snow here, but only on the horizon – covering the peaks of the Alps.

Read on…

Up to my waist in Karelian snow.

Of late you’ve been getting nothing but tropical-equatorial-EcuadorianGalapagosian dispatches from me. Which is hopefully just what you need if it still feels like winter where you are. However, this post, as the title gives away, is a typically wintery post, just for a bit of variation…

So, without further ado, here we have…: snow. Lots of:

But why am I lying down like that in the snow? Simple: if I tried to stand up, I’d sink into that snow up to my waist!

But… why is the ice in the below pic green? Actually, it’s not the ice itself that’s green, but I’ll get to that in a bit. But green is our corporate color, so it suited us just fine.

Read on…

Finally, SAS in Singapore – the venue it couldn’t ignore!

Hi folks!

You’ll no doubt already know – but just in case, here’s me telling you – that each year we put on a mega international cybersecurity conference – SAS (Security Analyst Summit) – every late-winter/early-spring. Well, it’s spring already (though there was snow again last night in Moscow!) once again, so let me tell you about this year’s event… – woah – which is only three weeks away!…

This event is unique in a full three ways:

First, it’s at SAS where both KL’s top experts plus our world-renowned expert-guests report on their latest investigations, newest findings, and most curious other cyber-news.

Second, SAS always avoids the typical / typically boring hotels or conference centers in world capitals, instead always opting for totally non-boring exotic resort venues with lots of sun, sea, sand, surf, sangria… Singapore Slings, etc.

Third, there’s always one thing that can be counted on every year at SAS – the event is overflowing with fun, despite the seriousness of the cybersecurity theme!

SAS-2018 (Cancun)

It’s fair to say that SAS is best-known for the hot – often sensational – investigative reports shared at the event. Sometimes some folks don’t like this: they think we select findings based on geography or on possible attribution, or they’d prefer if we didn’t publicize such scandalous and potentially embarrassing findings (indicating probable government financing, cyber-espionage, cyber-sabotage, etc.) and should just sweep them under the rug instead. Er, nope. That’s not going to happen. Just in case you missed the memo: we share details of any cybercrime we find. Where it may originate from or what language it may speak: it doesn’t matter. Publicizing details of large cyber-incidents and targeted attacks is the only way to make the cyberworld – and that means the world itself – safer. It’s for this reason that SAS was the platform used to divulge findings on ‘Stuxnet’s cousin’ Duqu (which secretly collected information on European industrial systems), Red October (a cyber-spy carrying out espionage on diplomatic missions in Europe, the U.S., and former Soviet republics), and OlympicDestroyer (a sophisticated APT that attempted to sabotage the Olympic Games in South Korea in 2018). And I know that this year’s SAS won’t be any different: cyber-buzz causing a huge stir – coming right up!…

SAS-2016 (Tenerife)

SAS has been put on in Croatia, Cyprus, Malaga, Cancun, Tenerife, Puerto Rico, the Dominican Republic and Saint Martin (i.e., including some repeats at our fave venues).

This year, seeing that SAS is all grown-up (this will be the 11th event), we thought a few organizational adjustments might be appropriate, and here they are:

First, this year SAS will be put on… in a metropolis! But it’s not your dull city in any way: it’s still beside the seaside and it happens to be a ‘garden city’, no less . Yep, this year it’ll be in Singapore folks. Yeh! I’m very happy about that. I have a more than just a soft-spot for Singapore ).

Second, we’ve decided to open up SAS to a wider audience than usual. Normally it’s an invite-only, exclusive world-cyber-expert get-together. This time though – in line with our transparency drive – we’re making part of the conference open to anybody who may wish to participate. And we call it SAS Unplugged. Like MTV Unplugged – only SAS ).

Presentations, training sessions, workshops from leading experts – all included. So students, cybersecurity rookies, in fact – cybersecurity old-hands too – anyone who has a great interest in fighting cyberbaddies – get registering! And be quick about it – already some of the training sessions are fully booked up.

PS: I’ve been permitted to give you a teaser about one of the confirmed presentations. It’s by one of our own experts, Sergey Lozhkin, and it’s for sure going to be a corker. Curiously, it’s about one of the oldest forms of cybercrime, but old doesn’t mean irrelevant. Just the opposite. For the crooks engaging in it today are earning billions of dollars a year from it! What is it? Financial fraud, plain and simple – actually, not so simple, as Sergey will tell us. He’ll also tell us how it has evolved over the years, what digital identity theft is, how much a digital identity costs on the Darknet, what a ‘carder’ is, and more…

PPS: I can’t wait. I enjoyed last year’s SAS ever so much. So here’s looking forward to an even better SAS this year!

Welcome to SAS-2019!…