Tag Archives: av manufacture

At Last – Not All So Quiet on the Antitrust Front.

Last fall, in our domestic market we turned to the Federal Antimonopoly Service with a complaint against Microsoft regarding its anti-trust legislation violations.

Despite the long silence on the airwaves, the matter was in fact slowly but surely being addressed. And don’t pay any attention to inaccurate reports about not filing similar claims with the EU Commission: that was off the back of an interview I gave in Germany in which it looks like a fact or two went astray – perhaps lost in translation. We are definitely not planning on ‘temporarily backing off’ filing our competition complaint with the EU Commission.

And anyway, instead of reading reports it’s always better hearing it from the horse’s mouth, as they say… So here I am with real news and confirmed details and plans that I can share at the moment compromising neither ethical nor legal norms.

Ok. Let’s begin…

Microsoft took a two-pronged approach: (i) formal denials; (ii) specific practical steps to address the antitrust demands

First off, as was expected, Microsoft disagrees with our claims. ‘We did not create conditions…’, ‘we have not infringed…’, and even: ‘we do not dominate…’ But facts are stubborn things, and despite the formal denials, Microsoft has, in fact, taken a few crucial steps toward rectifying the situation. And it looks like our actions might have helped encourage Microsoft to do so. Of course, there’s still more that needs to be done, but this is at least a good start toward ensuring that consumers have the chance to choose the best cybersecurity solution for them specifically.

It appears Microsoft took a two-pronged approach: (i) formal denials (which is logical); and (ii) specific (although small) practical steps to meet both users and independent software developers half-way.

I’ll leave out the formal denials here, but in this post I want to tell you a bit about those ‘practical steps’ that were recently taken by Microsoft. Let’s have a look at three notable examples thereof:

Example No. 1: The Alarming Windows Defender PC Status Page.

One of the claims we made against Microsoft regarded the misleading Windows Defender PC status page, pictured below:

The good news is that Microsoft has changed the previously displayed status page in a recent update, addressing several of the confusing and misleading elements we described.

So, what was the original status page for and what were our objections?

Read on: the right direction…

A Billion in the Cloud.

Recently, sharp-eyed users congratulated me with a ‘billion’ items in the Kaspersky Security Network. Thank you! Although, I need to explain what that ‘billion’ is.

A billion items in Kaspersky Security Network

First of all, don’t worry. This is not a billion something or other you don’t want on your computer; no, it’s something different, and it’s a little complicated. So let me start with some basic definitions.

Read on: How to get as close as poss to the ideas cybersecurity…

That’s It. I’ve Had Enough!

Hi Folks!

Meet David, the magnificent masterpiece sculpted by Michelangelo at the start of the 16th century. A photo of his face with that curious furrowed brow featured on our very first anti-cyber-vermin security product at the beginning of the 1990s. Some thought the pic was of me! I still don’t see why; I mean, have you EVER seen my face clean-shaven… and as white as a sheet? )

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The choice of David for the retail box was far from random: we found we were kindred spirits – both very much underdogs. KL was a small young company from nowhere throwing down the gauntlet to global cyber-malice in an established international security market; David was the small young guy throwing down the gauntlet to the giant Goliath.

Throughout the years the boxes have changed, but one thing that hasn’t is our… Davidness.

Fate threw plenty of obstacles in our path that could have easily seen us off, but we persevered, hurdled those obstacles – often alone – and became stronger.

To everyone’s amazement we gave users the best protection in the world and became one of the leaders in the global market. We took it on ourselves to fight patent trolls practically alone, and are still successfully fighting them. (Most others prefer to feed them instead.) And despite the rise in parasites and BS-products, we continue to increase investment in true cybersecurity technologies (including true machine learning) for the protection of users from the cyberthreat avant-garde.

Thus, with just a ‘sling and stones’ we slowly but surely keep on killing Goliath ‘saving the world’: regardless of the geopolitical situation, and from any sort of cyberattacks – regardless of their origin or purpose.

And now, fate has brought us a new challenge. And not only us: this is also a challenge for all computer users and the entire ecosystem of independent developers for Windows.

Read on: David vs. Goliath, ver. 2016…

Features You’d Normally Never Hear About – 2017 Reboot.

We’ve been ‘saving the world’ for, hmmm, now let me see, a good 19 years already! Actually it’s several years longer than that, but 19 years ago was when we registered KL as a (UK) company.

Alas, ‘saving the world’ once and for all and forever just ain’t possible: cyberthreats are evolving all the time, with the cyber-miscreants behind them forever finding new attack vendors across the digital landscape, meaning that landscape will never be 100% safe. However, hundreds of millions of folks all around the world, on different devices and in different life situations, each day have the possibility to protect their privacy and data, safely use online stores and banking, and protect their kids from digital filth, cyber-perverts and con-artists.

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And on our side – the ones doing the protecting – there’s plenty of raison d’être for our experts: each photo rescued from ransomware, every blocked phishing site, each shut down botnet, and every cyber-bandit sentenced to prison: each one = cause for professional satisfaction and pride. It means all the hard work wasn’t for nothing; we really are doing good.

In the struggle against cyber-filth, cyber-perverts and cyber-crooks, we’ve got for you a range continually improved tools.

Read on: Sharper than a Valerian steel sword…

The Artificial ‘Artificial Intelligence’ Bubble and the Future of Cybersecurity.

I think the recent article in the New York Times about the boom in ‘artificial intelligence’ in Silicon Valley made many people think hard about the future of cybersecurity – both the near and distant future.

I reckon questions like these will have been pondered on:

  • Where’s the maniacal preoccupation with ‘AI’, which now only exists in the fantasies of futurologists going to lead to?
  • How many more billions will investors put into ventures which, at best, will ‘invent’ what was invented decades ago, at worst – will turn out to be nothing more than inflated marketing… dummies?
  • What are the real opportunities for the development of machine learning cybersecurity technologies?
  • And what will be the role of humans experts in this brave new world?

Sometimes when I hang around with A.I. enthusiasts here in the valley, I feel like an atheist at a convention of evangelicals.

Jerry Kaplan, computer scientist, author, futurist and serial entrepreneur (inc. co-founder of Symantec)

What’s going on now in the field of ‘AI’ resembles a soap bubble. And we all know what happens to soap bubbles eventually if they keep getting blown up by the circus clowns (no pun intended!): they burst.

Now, of course, without bold steps and risky investments a fantastical future will never become a reality. But the problem today is that along with this wave of widespread enthusiasm for ‘AI’ (remember, AI today doesn’t exist; thus the inverted commas), startup-shell-companies have started to appear.

A few start-ups? What’s the big deal, you might ask.

The big deal is that these shell-startups are attracting not millions but billions of dollars in investment – by riding the new wave of euphoria surrounding ‘AI’ machine learning. Thing is, machine learning has been around for decades: it was first defined in 1959, got going in the 70s, flourished in the 90s, and is still flourishing! Fast forward to today and this ‘new’ technology is re-termed ‘artificial intelligence’; it adopts an aura of cutting-edge science; it gets to have the glossiest brochures; it gets to have the most glamorously sophisticated marketing campaigns. And all of that is aimed at the ever-present human weakness for belief in miracles – and in conspiracy theories about so-called ‘traditional’ technologies. And sadly, the cybersecurity field hasn’t escaped this new ‘AI’ bubble…

artificial-intelligence

Read on: Too much AI will kill you…

Artificial Intelligence: Artificial Truth – Here and Now.

Artificial intelligence… Two words which together conjure up so much wonder and awe in the imagination of programmers, sci-fi fans and perhaps just about anyone with an interest in the fate of the world!

Thanks to man’s best friend the dog R2-D2, the evil Skynet, the fantastical 2001: A Space Odyssey, post-apocalyptical androids dreaming of electric sheep, and maybe also Gary Numan, everyone is pretty well familiar with the concept of artificial intelligence (AI). Yep, books, the big screen, comics, er… mashed potato advertisements – AI is in all of them in a big way. It also features heavily in the marketing materials of recently-appearing and exceptionally-ambitious cybersecurity companies. In fact, there’s probably only one place today where you can’t find it. Thing is, that single place happens to cover practically everything that makes up this world and all the life in it: the not-so-insignificant sphere called ‘real everyday life‘.

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It’s common knowledge that since the days of Alan Turing and Norbert Wiener (that is, around the mid-20th century) computers have come on in leaps and bounds. They learned how (rather, they were taught how) to play chess – and better than humans. They fly planes, now also cars on the roads. They write newspaper articles, catch malware and do tons of other useful – and often not so useful – things. They pass the Turing test to prove possession of intelligent behavior equivalent to a human. However, a chatterbot simulating a 13-year-old capable of nothing else – that is just an algorithm plus a collection of libraries. It is not artificial intelligence. Not convinced? Then I advise you simply look up the definition of AI, then that of an algorithm, and then look at the differences between the two. It’s not rocket computer science.

We are currently witnessing yet another wave of interest in AI across the world. Which number this wave is I’ve lost track of…

Read on: People that don’t know what they’re talking about…

Darwinism in IT Security, Pt. 3: Time to Deal with These No-Good Parasites.

Hi all!

On a bit of a roll here on the survival-of-the-fittest-in-IT theme. Wasn’t planning a trilogy… it just kinda happened. Sort of…

…Sort of, as, well, the specific problem of parasites in the IT Security world I’ll be writing about today has been at the back of my mind for a long time already. This Darwinism talk seemed the perfect opportunity to finally let rip. You’ll see what I mean…

Today folks: parasites. But not those we’re fighting against (the ‘very’ bad guys); those who claim are also fighting the very bad guys (philosophical question: who’s worse?).

Infosec parasites practicing detection adoption is killing the industry and indirectly assisting cybercrime

The IT industry today is developing at a galloping pace. Just 10-15 years ago its main themes were desktop antiviruses, firewalls and backups; today there’s a mass of new different security solutions, approaches and ideas. Sometimes we manage to stay ahead of the curve; sometimes we have some catch-up to do. And there are other times we fall into a stupor from astonishment – not from new technologies, innovations or fresh ideas, but from the barefaced brazenness and utter unscrupulousness of our colleagues in the security industry.

But first, let me explain how events have been developing.

There’s a very useful service called the VirusTotal multiscanner. It aggregates around 60 antivirus engines, which it uses to scan files and URLs folks send it for malware checking, and then it returns the verdict.

Example: Joe Bloggs finds a suspicious application or office document on a hard drive/USB stick/the Internet. Joe’s own antivirus software doesn’t flag it as containing a malware, but Joe is the paranoid type; he wants to make really sure it’s not infected. So he heads over to the VirusTotal site, which doesn’t have just one antivirus solution like he does, but ~60. It’s free too, so it’s a no brainer. So Joe uploads the file to VirusTotal and gets instant info on what all the different AVs think about it.

First of all, to clarify: both the folks at VirusTotal and those at VirusTotal’s owners Google are firmly on the ‘good guys’ side. They have no connection with parasites whatsoever. VirusTotal is run by a very professional team, which has for years been fulfilling the task at hand extremely effectively. (Still need convincing? How about VirusTotal winning the MVP award last year at the Security Analyst Summit (SAS)?) Today VirusTotal is one of the most important sources of new malware samples and malicious URLs; and also a very cool archeological tool for researching targeted attacks.

The problem lies with a handful of shady users of the multiscanner who, alas, are becoming more and more unblushingly unabashed in how they conduct themselves.

Read on: Things getting interesting… for wrong reasons

Darwinism in IT Security – Pt. 2: Inoculation from BS.

Hi folks!

As promised, herewith, more on the connection between evolution theory and how protection against cyberthreats develops.

To date, what precisely brings about mutations of living organisms is unknown. Some of the more unconventional experts reckon it’s the work of viruses, which intentionally rearrange genes (yep, there’s who really rules the world!). But whatever the case may be, similar mutation processes also occur in IT Security – sometimes with the help of viruses too.

The market is tired of prophets; these days monetizing ‘panaceas’ requires a lot more investment and marketing efforts

In line with the best traditions of the principle of the struggle for existence, security technologies evolve over time: new categories of products appear, others become extinct, while some products merge with others. Regarding the latter for example, integrity checkers were a major breakthrough in the mid-90s, but nowadays they’re a minor part of endpoint solutions. New market segments and niches appear (for example, Anti-APT) to complement the existing arsenals of protective technologies – this being a normal process of positive symbiosis for good. But all the while nasty parasites crawl out of the woodwork to warm themselves in the sun. C’est la vie – as it’s always been, and there’s nothing you can do about it.

In the struggle for market share in IT Security there regularly appear prophets prophesizing a sudden end to ‘traditional’ technologies and – by happy chance – simultaneous (‘just in time!’) invention of a bullshit product revolutionary panacea (with generous discounts for the first five customers).

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But this isn’t something new: any of you remember anti-spyware? In the early 2000s a huge bubble of products to get rid of spyware grew up from nothing. Much BS was fired the consumer’s way about the inability of ‘traditional antivirus’ to cope with this particular problem, but right from the beginning it was all just made up.

But the market has grown used to and tired of such prophets, and these days monetizing ‘panaceas’ requires a lot more investment and snake oil marketing efforts.

Read on: David and Don Draper Against Goliath…

Darwinism in IT Security: Adapt or Die.

“It is not the strongest of the species that survives but the most adaptable to change.”
– Charles Darwin

It’s been a while since I’ve opined on these here cyber-pages on my favorite topic – the future of IT Security, so here’s making up for that. Get ready for a lot of words – hopefully none too extraneous – on the latest Infosec tech, market and tendencies, with a side dish of assorted facts and reflections. Popcorn at the ready – off we go…

I’ll be writing here about ideal IT Security and how the security industry is evolving towards it (and what’s happening along that evolutionary road towards it), and how all that can be explained with the help of Mr. Darwin’s theory of evolution. How natural selection leads certain species to dominate, while others fall by the wayside – left for the paleontologists in years to come. Oh, and what is symbiosis, and what are parasites.

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I’ll start with some definitions…

Almost-Perfection in an Imperfect World.

Perfect protection – 100% security – is impossible. The IT Security industry can and should of course aim for perfection, in the process creating the best-protected systems possible, but each inching nearer 100% costs exponentially more – so much more that the cost of protection winds up being greater than the cost of potential damage from the harshest of scenarios of a successful attack.

Ideal protection is that where the cost of a successful attack is greater than the gain

Accordingly, it’s logical to give the following definition of realistic (attainable) ideal protection (from the viewpoint of potential victims): Ideal protection is that where the cost to hack our system is greater than the cost of the potential damage that could be caused. Or, looking at it from the other side of the barricades: Ideal protection is that where the cost of a successful attack is greater than the gain attackers would receive.

Of course, there’ll be times when how much an attack may cost doesn’t matter to the attackers; for example, to state-backed cyberwar-mongers. But that doesn’t mean we just give up.

So how do we develop a security system that provides realistic (attainable) ideal (maximum) protection?

Read on: The survival of IT’s fittest…

Best test scores – the fifth year running!

Quicker, more reliable, more techy, and of course the most modest…

… Yep, you guessed it, that’ll be us folks – YET AGAIN!

We’ve just been awarded Product of the Year once more by independent Austrian test lab AV-Comparatives. Scoring top @ AV-C is becoming a yearly January tradition: 2011201220132014, and now 2015! Hurray!

year award 2015 product of the year_CS6

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Now for a bit about how they determine the winner…

Read on: Five main criteria…