50 There and Backs in 2011.

Last week I took my 50th flight of the year. I won’t reach my record for a year, of course, but this achievement nevertheless ain’t a bad one. I got my record last year – 100 flights.

The jubilee flight this year was on the route Moscow-Beijing in an Air China plane. Not to be confused with China Airlines! The former is based in Beijing (with a red dragon on its planes’ fins); the latter is based in Taiwan (with a pink flower on its fins).

Air China plane

I just didn’t feel like flying Air China again.

Read more > My preference for flying Moscow-Beijing

Shady RAT: Shoddy RAT.

Earlier last week Congresswoman Mary Bono Mack (CA-45), Chairman of the House Subcommittee on Commerce, Manufacturing and Trade, sent a letter to Dmitri Alperovitch, Vice President of Threat Research at McAfee, requesting further information on his recently published report “Revealed: Operation Shady RAT.” We conducted detailed analysis of the Shady RAT botnet and its related malware, and can conclude that the reality of the matter (especially the technical specifics) differs greatly from the conclusions made by Mr. Alperovitch …

More: Shady RAT: Shoddy RAT.. . .

A Blast from the Past. Part IV – The Very First International Partner Conference.

Here we are with the fourth installment of sentimental stories covering the history of our company.

Each time I write a post of this series what never ceases to amaze me is the journey we’ve made from a small niche player to one of the largest security vendors in the world. And I’ve nothing but admiration for all our users and partners and also the journalists and analysts who’ve supported us all along, giving us the impetus to keep going and do the job we do well.

One thing I’m pretty sure about is that we would never have succeeded without our partners. We started the business with a clear idea of building a truly dedicated and efficient partner network. We never tried to play the game in the different regional markets ourselves without knowing the rules.

Instead, from the very beginning, we relied on our partners: companies and individuals that know the rules inside out and understand all the little things that a software business – no matter how good its product – must get firmly on top of to get its product into the market effectively.

Read more > The first international partner conference in details

Facebook Doomsday on November 5?

The recent announcement by the Anonymous hacker group to take down Facebook on November 5 – Bonfire Night – has resulted in a series of online publications and sparked much hot debate.

The story surrounding this announcement seems to create more questions than provide answers.

First of all, the announcement is not all that recent. It went online a month ago, but surprisingly surfaced prominently in the media just earlier this week. However, the reason for this delay is not that important.

More interesting is whether this is a genuine announcement coming from Anonymous. Is it from some hackers pretending to be part of Anonymous? Or from some Anonymous members who are planning an operation of their own? Or is it just a hoax coming from an unknown party using the highly-publicized image of the hacker group for their own goals?

Too many questions – yeah, I know.

And here are the answers >

Home Sweet Home!

Just wanted to share some good news with you.

At the end of 2012 we’ll be moving to new office premises in the “Оlympia Park” business center located in the North-West part of Moscow. It’s not far from the Vodny Stadion metro station, sits on the bank of the Khimky reservoir, and is 15 minutes drive from Sheremetevo airport (that is of course with no traffic jams). Neighboring are a yacht club, hotel and other good stuff to help an international business along. Almost 30,000 square meters (~326,000 sq.ft.). Straight away a fantasy kicked in on where we’d install everything!

Olympia is still under construction, but already I just know that we’re going to like it there – a lot!

Here are a few photos from the building site:

Kaspersky Labs new building site

More sweet home photos >

Ni Hao Compulsory Internet IDs.

Innovations at Beijing airport (Terminal 2)

1. To get a log-in and password for Wi-Fi, you need to put your passport (or Chinese ID if you have one) into a special machine, which scans the main page, determines the full name of the owner and document number, and then prints out a user name and password. Looks like a forerunner to compulsory Internet IDs.

Here is a photo of the Wi-Fi vending machine

Wi-Fi vending machine in Beijing

Wi-Fi permission and two more innovations >

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