Great GReAT Guys: Costin G. Raiu in the Spotlight.

During my career I’ve given thousands of interviews. Really! There’ve been times when I’ve even had like a dozen or so interviews in a single day (and this still happens when I’m at CeBIT or taking part in our press tours) – enough chattering in a day to make one hoarse.

Not that I’m complaining. I love talking to journalists. I find they always give me the opportunity to think more and in slightly different ways about the things I considered to be all thought out already.

From the business perspective interviews are something that raises public awareness. But I always pursue the plain and simple goal of educating users about cyber threats and trying to spread the word on best practices of how to protect their computers.

The journalists don’t let me trick you: I avoid pushing products and instead talk exclusively about trends and countermeasures. Remember our motto, “We’re here to save the world”. Money is not an end in itself. We strive to do a great job protecting customers. Money is something that comes to you when you succeed in doing a great job.

Anyway, I’ve decided to indulge myself by being on the other side of the interview. I’ll start a series of posts interviewing key people at KL.

Today I have the pleasure of asking Costin Raiu all about the many interesting things in his life, his professional experience, and about his hobbies and other stuff, presenting him to the public in a very informal way.

Costin Raiu

Short bio

Costin joined Kaspersky Lab in the year 2000 as a leading antivirus researcher.

Since 2010 he has been leading the Global Research & Analysis Team (GReAT) – one of the company’s most important technological assets comprised of top-notch security researchers around the globe constantly analyzing new cyber threats and developing protection.

Prior to becoming Director of GReAT, Costin held the position of Chief Security Expert, overseeing research efforts in the EEMEA region. Costin specializes in malicious websites, browser security and exploits, e-banking malware, enterprise-level security and Web 2.0 threats.

Costin has extensive experience in antivirus technologies and security research. He is a member of the Virus Bulletin Technical Advisory Board, a member of the Computer AntiVirus Researchers’ Organization (CARO), and a reporter for Wildlist Organization International. Prior to joining Kaspersky Lab, Costin worked for GeCAD as one of their chief researchers and as a data security expert with the RAV antivirus developers group.

His hobbies include playing chess, high precision arithmetic, cryptography, chemistry, photography and science fiction literature.

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

Read more > How Costin became a security analyst

台风

I get to dash around the globe quite a lot, and there are always lots of interesting things in different parts of the world worth looking at. Since I’ve always got my camera with me, I naturally tend to take some snaps…

After a series of busy events – SAS 2011, Kozmodemyansk and the Macau conference – I decided to take some time out and chill on a beach for a while near Macao. And it turns out we got the timing just perfect for a bit of excitement – at exactly the time when the Nock-ten hurricane hit (a quick lesson in Chinese: 台风 – hurricane, (literally – strong wind)). I say the timing was ideal as thankfully we were able to observe the typhoon from the safety of the hotel room balcony – how the wind became stronger and stronger, the sea whiter and whiter, and how the coconuts only just managed to stay attached to the palm trees.

Nock-ten hurricane

More photos >

A Blast from the Past. Part III – Back to the Future – a Virus Remake.

A long time ago in a galaxy far, far away…

Er, no. It wasn’t all that long ago, not all that far away, and was in no way connected with Star Wars. As Tony Montana once said, shall we “walk in and start over?”

Ok: Once – ten years ago – in the not-so-far-away city of Prague, the British antivirus magazine Virus Bulletin held its annual conference. In early 2001 the event was going through all the usual planning stages a conference of its sort needs to, and all was going to plan when, suddenly…

… suddenly Helen Martin, the editor-in-chief of the magazine, writes to me and unexpectedly suggests I speak at the conference, and not just to say a few words about this or that, but to give a full-blown keynote presentation. That is, to open the conference in front of an audience of 300+ delegates, made up of some of the brightest minds in the antivirus industry. Well, the renown of Virus Bulletin was quite something even back then. A mention on one of its pages was considered either good luck or good work, but a presentation at one of their gigs – that was simply an honor!

Photo by Iulian Ursu via Flickr

Read more > What the

Las Macau

Hi everyone! Here we are with a where, what, and why.

Macau. One of the two pretty much autonomous Special Administrative Regions of China, the other being Hong Kong.

Here they have their own laws and rules and their own currency, but in casinos it seems they only accept Hong Kong dollars. Talking of casinos… Macau really is the Chinese Las Vegas. It even looks like Vegas – skyscraper luxury hotels, countless garish casinos, where nothing ever closes. Put another way, a concentration of depravity!

To get there, first you need to get to Hong Kong. From there it’s straight from the airport with no passport check 45 minutes on the ferry. Once in Macau it’s 100 yuan ($15) for your visa, and off you go…

Since I got to see nothing there apart from the hotel (we were having a partner conference there), I was able to only take a few photos.

Read more > Macau by night

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

Kozmodemyansk Ethno-blogging Expedition.

Between June 30 and July 3 we organized our second annual conference bringing together the Russian press, bloggers, government and IT vendors to discuss current topics on the development of the Russian IT and telecoms industries. The focus of the discussions was Internet security issues, and they sparked plenty of heated debate among the participants.

A special feature of this event was its format. Just like last year, when we held the first conference of this type, we decided to go outside the traditional box and not gather folk in a five-star hotel, wear suits and ties, talk formally and pretend to be people we aren’t.

Kozmodemyansk Ethno-blogging Expedition

Read more > Kozmo what?

7 Things Facebook Should Do To Increase Security.

Many Facebook users lack knowledge and experience about how to protect themselves in the social networking environment, which has made the situation worse. Facebook appeals to new Internet users who often lack the computer savvy to identify online threats, and the most vulnerable segment of the audience — kids — have little life experience required to make reasonable decisions. Because of this, I believe Facebook needs to enhance the security and privacy features of its site so the problems don’t escalate out of control. With the help of my colleagues, here are seven key recommendations I believe will make Facebook a safer place

More: 7 Things Facebook Should Do To Increase Security.. . .

Megafail: Russian Mobile Operator Leaks Users’ SMS Histories.

News of the day: SMS histories of subscribers of Megafon, one of the largest Russian mobile operators with a 57 million+ user database, have been leaked. Thousands of messages are now available online, causing a major nationwide scandal. Another company that may have been involved in the scandal is Yandex, the largest national search engine, which may have indexed either some classified stored items or SMS messages sent from users’ computers. Update: Yandex has already removed the link to the leaked SMS histories from their search queries …

More: Megafail: Russian Mobile Operator Leaks Users’ SMS Histories.. . .

Italy Is Known for Its Supercars, Russia – Its Chess Players.

Italy is famous for (among other things, hmm, let’s see… pasta, scooters, diving footballers, fiery women…!) its supercars, while Russia is famous (besides vodka and bears in the street, of course) for its chess players. Therefore, in Italy we sponsor Scuderia Ferrari, while in Russia we have taken under our guardianship the young (born 1997) and extremely promising chess player Mikhail Antipov. He travels all around the world to take part in tournaments, and this of course entails visas, flights, hotels, etc., which his parents’ resources can’t fully stretch to. So we decided to step in and help out.

Mikhail Antipov

Read more > Chess and rugby

Law-abiding Cyber-folk of the World – Unite!

All-righty! Here we are with the latest news.

What we have been for ages talking about, explaining, and encouraging, at last is finally showing some signs of actually being put into practice.

A new body – the International Cyber Security Protection Alliance (ICSPA) (news, site)  – has been founded in London: an international non-commercial organization that brings together “governments, international business and law enforcement bodies, including Europol”. The aim of the new organization is simple: to tackle nationalistic narrow-mindedness, unite parochial strengths, and fight cyber-crime on a global level – together.

This is what we’ve been been advocating constantly for more than ten years. It’s impossible to tackle international criminals with traditional methods alone, when every country just thinks of itself, covers its own backside, and the rest of the world can go whistle.

Read more > United we stand