Tag Archives: event

Sochny Sochi, and lots of toastski.

Oh my grueling! The other week was reeeaaal high-pressure. Geographically, it went like this:

Moscow > Sochi > St. Petersburg > Moscow. Five days, three cities, two events, five hours in planes, and around 10 hours in cars.

So, like, why?…

First, there was our traditional global conference I had to get to. A quick bit of background to begin with:

A long time ago, when we were just a wee company, we started to gradually grow the number of partners we had all around the world. And when visiting one such technology partner, we saw how it put on yearly international partner conferences. ‘Great idea!’, we thought, and soon later – we put on one of our own: in 1999 we organized our first ever global partner conference, which took place in Moscow and which was attended by 15 guests from Europe, the U.S. and Mexico.

The following year, we spread our wings just a little further – with our partner conference taking place up in St. Petersburg. The year after that – Cyprus (attended for the first time by partners from Asia and Australia); after that – Barcelona; after that – Malta; next – Antaliya, Turkey; Portugal; Athens, Greece. It was when it came to Italy’s turn to host our partner conference that we realized that, for sure, we simply could not fit any longer into the regular conference halls in large hotels. And so it came to pass – we were all grown-up all of a sudden. Like with all children eventually – it was time for a bigger room ).

Thing is, we really didn’t want to bump the format up to expo-center level; therefore, from 2008, we decided to split the large global events into smaller, regional ones: North America, Latin America (sometimes together with North), Europe (including some sub-regional conferences), Russia (held in the Russian language), APAC (Asia & Oceania), and Japan (which had its own for a while). And everything was hunky-dory.

Later, having another think about all this, we figured we should have a special international get-together for our favorite, most successful partners. Thus – what goes around comes around – the international partner conference was back, albeit in a different format.

So, two years ago (in 2017), our first global ‘greatest hits’ partner conference took place – much like our first ‘demo tape’ did back in 1999 – closer to at home, in Moscow (I didn’t write anything then about it as June 2017 was fraught with other pressing business). The following year, again, we chose St. Petersburg as the host city, and that time I did manage to write a few words thereon.

Then, this year (the third year), we traveled a little futher from home (like to Cyprus in 2001)… to sochni (‘juicy’ in Russian) Sochi on the Black Sea in Southwestern Russia! Yes, where the Winter Olympics were held in 2014 – that Sochi ).

We’d thought long and hard about where this year’s global partner conference should be. Eventually, remembering that June is the perfect month to visit Sochi – not too hot, the Black Sea is refreshing but bathable (yep, we had a frolic therein), and up in the mountains above the city it’s pleasantly cool – Sochi got the most votes. And why not? Why not show our visitors this wonderful, unique city? So in everyone flew – all 140 of us, including 98 guests from abroad – from 35 countries, and all in order to talk business and its development.

Of course, Sochi isn’t the most convenient of locations to get to for everyone – especially those coming from America, Australia or Africa. Most folks needed more than one connecting flight, with some journeys taking 40 hours! But it was worth it: the infrastructure put in place for the Olympics is all still there, and can easily impress even the most sophisticated of international guest. And for a boost in immunity – especially cyber-immunity – at this time of year there’s no better place in Russia!

The event took place in the Hyatt Regency:

Woah. Hold on – deja-vu!…

Read on…

The museum in Baku – hard to out-do.

Hi folks!

After Hannover – we were headed southeast – over to Baku, the capital of Azerbaijan, for a conference for our partners from the Middle East, Africa and Southern Asia. Quick report: everything was just great (as usual). Everyone went home with new knowledge, better motivated, fully sated, content and happy. The event took place in one of the three swish Flame Towers, and the views therefrom were very impressive, as could be expected:

Now for some touristy stuff, since we’d scheduled several hours free in the city. We opted for the Heydar Aliyev Center, which fairly amazed us with its design and exhibitions.

First – the shape: Oh my Guggenheim! And what’s best is that its shape changes as you look at it from different angles ).

Read on…

Flickr photostream

Instagram photostream

SAS-2019: a lot more – in Singapore.

Hi folks!

My April journeying continues. It’s already seen me visit such charming cities as Hanover, Baku and Dubai (reports thereon coming soon). Next stop – Singapore. The garden city, the island wonder – one of my fave cities on the planet, if not the fave. But oh it’s hot. And, oh, it’s humid. But it still remains the city of the future. Maybe that’s why I like it so much?…

First, a few ok pics (mine), and some really good pics (not mine; I still need practice) of this wonder-city – by day, by night, of the ships waiting in line for access to the port:

So why was I here (as if I needed a reason)? Because the annual Security Analyst Summit was being held here – the eleventh! And it was… hmmm – I’ll get to that in a bit…

First – how does one go about gauging the success of a SAS? How do you measure it? Was it totally awesome, or just so-so, or something else? Well, IMHO, you can tell if it was totally awesome if, afterward, you have a strange, somewhat paradoxical feeling: on the one hand you have nothing but positive emotions – a euphoric aftershock that just won’t go away. On the other – you’re already aware that something’s sadly lacking in your life, and will stay lacking for another year – the buzz of a SAS! And on the other – third?! – hand, you feel a little… afraid – when you wonder just how on earth next year’s event will be made even better than this year’s! But then you remember how every year after a SAS you think the same thing – and the following year’s event does turn out even better, and you start to feel better again. All these psychological symptoms together should really be called ‘post-event syndrome’. Must remember that term for next time…

Oops. I’ve digressed. Let me get back to ‘was it good?’. It was, as I hope the previous paragraph indicates. But also – have a look at all the comments, links, likes…

If you’re a new reader here, and maybe SAS is new to you too, briefly, SAS is: an annual event bringing together experts (and the press, bloggers) from all over the world to basically talk to each other, in an informal setting, all about cybersecurity. Announcements, presentations, achievements, challenges, industrial CTF, etc., etc. For a bit more on the SAS template, go here.

Next up: where, why, how, who, from where…

SAS-2019 brought on a ferocious bout of post-event syndrome, whose intensity was all the more acute due to fears that some folks might pull out due to geopolitical reasons. But in the cybersecurity industry folks think with their heads and aren’t swayed by sensational headlines. After all, battling the cyber-baddies is only effective when done together, exchanging information, and telling each other about our victories over the computer underground. Cybercriminals know no borders. And the cyber-goodies shouldn’t be limited by them either. And I’m so glad that our colleagues and competitors in the industry feel the same way.

So, there we were fearing no-shows, but in the end not only did everyone turn up but even more did than we expected! But that figures really – for who doesn’t want to get better acquainted with the company that’s being targeted because it takes a principled stand on protecting users from any cyber-vermin, no matter who may be responsible for it and no matter how much it roils certain very powerful cyberwar-mongers. SAS-2019 broke all its own records: 500+ guests, 100+ contributors, 34 countries represented, ~70 presentations, ~10 workshops and training sessions, and more coverage on social media and in the press than ever before.

Right, where did it all start this year. Ah yes, like every year – it all starts actually months in advance when a countdown clock starts showing the number of days, hours and minutes there are left until the event. Fast forward to the morning of the first day, and those clocks have just minutes left, and the anticipation is hitting fever pitch… All the kit and chairs are in place, microphones fully charged, lighting and visual effects all set up, cameras ready (prepare to flash)…

One minute left…

And we’re off!

After a short welcoming speech, I was pinged to get up on the stage. Of course I obliged, gave a very warm warm-up speech, and also took some pics of the audience from the stage. Why should the audience have all the happy-snapping fun, eh? )

After me it was expert after expert sharing their stories – each one fascinating…

This year the number of presentations was the highest it’s been, as mentioned above, but the diversity of types of presentations was real wide too: some were very technical; others were more business-oriented; there were special training sessions on reverse engineering and other methods for pursuing the cyber-swine; a mini-exhibition; an open presentation room for rooky specialists, and a new feature called SAS Unplugged… As to the best of the best content – that will be coming up shortly in a separate cyber-news-from-the-dark-side post.

This year’s SAS brought us for the first time the following:

  • Separate cybersecurity white-hat hacking streams;
  • A small exhibition of participating companies;
  • Industrial topics;
  • Lots of other stuff, but I can’t quite remember it all.

Come the evening, though everyone was no doubt tired trying to take in all the new information of the day, we all headed to a super seafood restaurant I always visit when in town. Yeh! Yum!

And that was that – almost. Time left only for the final few mega-presentations that are traditionally saved till last. They really were something. If interested – have a search for them on the internet.

Then it was my turn again up on stage. ‘Thank you all for coming’, and the obligatory back-at-you pic:

PS: A big thank-you to Roman Rudakov. His ‘masterpiece button’ provided most of the photos in this post.

PPS: Briefly about where we held this year’s SAS – the Swissotel Stamford, where I’d stayed before, and which I only had negative recollections of. Not that I’m fussy when it comes to hotels. I’m comfortable up a mountainside in the cold and spending the night in a tent, but if a hotel says it’s a 5* hotel on the tin, I expect that’s what’s inside it too. Here, back in 2017 that wasn’t the case. However, this year I was very pleased with the place. Everything seemed to be in fully working order, everything seems to have been renovated, with everything shiny and new somehow. The one thing that they haven’t gotten round to is providing decent Wi-Fi, but that’s all:

Yes, I know – I still use Far Manager! I’m used to it, that’s all ).

Well that’s it for today folks, but I’ll be back with more tomorrow…

All the pics form SAS-2109 are here.

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A party in a dome in Rome.

Ciao folks!

After Munich, I headed almost directly south to Rome for a few days full of intense business activity. For there was a lot going on down there for KL…

First and foremost it was our Italian office’s tenth birthday! What? Already? A decade? Where did that go? So, of course, it was celebration time: we gathered together our partners, favorite customers and old friends for a jubilee jamboree, and it was just great!

Many happy returns KL Italy. Here’s to the next 10 years! Saluti!

Read on…

Peter: Picture-perfect for KL-partner-conf.

St. Petersburg when the sun’s come out to play is to me the best city to be in in Europe. And I’m not alone in declaring such a bold sentiment – I’ve heard it from many others from many different countries too. But why ‘in Europe’? That’s just so as to be able to compare meaningfully. It’s difficult comparing Russia’s second city with, say, Hong Kong or Singapore, as they’re just so different on so many levels. But I digress. So, about StP!…

Read on: nostalgic!…

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…

Read on…

www.luzhniki-2017.

Just last week I went all volcanic with a blogpost, even though I haven’t seen a volcano in the flesh for quite a while. So, why? Well, it was an appetizer, for there’s a spot of volcanism on the horizon. But more on that later. All in good time…

Meanwhile in Moscow…

…And indeed practically all over the planet, preparations are being made for New Year and, for many, Christmas celebrations.

Advent calendar? Check.

Christmas tree up and decorated? Check.

Flashing lights up on a window or two? Check.

Presents bought. Not yet, come on; on the to-do list.

Year-end work party? Check! Already! A little earlier than usual (for example, in 2016, 2015, 2014 and so on:).

(Btw, all these pics: courtesy of Roman Rudakov)

This year has been… different, for one thing. Well our year-end prom was a bit lot different too. Different format, and not one, not two, but a full three headliner bands on!

Usually the format goes like this: (i) our awards ceremony (best crew, best project, etc., etc.); (ii) a big variety show put on by KLers; and (iii) a quick headliner at the end plus a disco. And all sat down at tables (for some of the time:).

This year… not that there was anything wrong with the usual format, but, well, it was our jubilee (20 years!) too, so we just had to do something very different and special this year…

Read on…

XIA – PEK – SVO – LHR – NAS – LHR – PHEW.

I’ve been getting about quite a bit this fall, and practically every day I’ve been as busy as a bee. It’s that slightly disorienting routine I get into every few months or so: each day something new – starting with the hotel room I wake up in.

But the other day it wasn’t a hotel room. Upon waking, my first question to myself was the usual ‘Where am I?’, but the answer this time came ‘in an Airbus!’ Indeed I was, flying Xi-an – Beijing – Moscow – London – the Bahamas – London over several days.

Such continent hopping in a short time with lots on the work agenda forces my happy-snapping habit into its minimalist regime. This isn’t so bad, as the pics that do manage to get taken are normally very much ‘greatest  hits’ and no padding. Thus, this post: ‘Greatest Hits of the Last Several Days’!

First, here’s a masterpiece from Petrovich taken at dawn at Danxia:

Before you ask about the fly, let me make the introductions: please meet our pet fly, whom we carry around the world with us in a jar and sometimes let him out for a walk fly :).

And now for a brief rundown of my recent continent hopping…

Read on: Asia > Europe > North America > Europe…

5th industrial.

Hi folks!

The other week we had our annual conference on industrial security – our fifth: our first jubilee. Hurray!

This year it was a truly international event, with many of the speakers giving their presentations in English (since they knew no Russian:). In all there were ~300 participants from 170 companies! Thanks to all sponsors and partners, especially:

  • SAP – general partner
  • Rostelecom – IoT partner
  • MARSH – cyber-insurance partner

And thanks to everyone else too whose names you can find at the above link.

Read on: Most interesting bits…

An Elevator in the Internet vs. the Internet in an Elevator.

I have a very high opinion of Schindler, the world’s leading manufacturer of elevators and escalators. (Next time you use these modes of transport, take note of the manufacturer’s logo.) In my view, this company deserves lots of respect and its business practices are worthy of study and emulation. However, when I see the company’s booth at an exhibition, replete with slogans like this, it sends a shiver down my spine, I start feeling uncomfortable about the world around me, and my left eye starts to twitch. Why?

There were three slogans that I had a particular problem with:

– How can I turn my elevator into a digital native?
– What is your elevator doing while you sleep?
– Can you meet your elevator online?

If you take a closer look, you can see them in this photo:

It may not bother everyone, but it makes me a little apprehensive. Of course, you understand… An elevator in the Internet is not as dangerous as the Internet in an elevator! OK, that’s tonight’s nightmares taken care of. No, I’m not trying to scare you. And I certainly wouldn’t want anyone to dream about the elevator from this cartoon!

The venue is Hannover Messe, the yearly mega-exhibition of industrial solutions. It’s all about automation, manufacturing, the energy industry, all sorts of robots, the rarest spare parts and other types of modern industrial magic.

Read on: Pretty interesting!…