Tag Archives: KL history

Then and Now. 20 Years In-between – All Uphill.

20 years in business – is that a long time, or no time at all? Or how about 25 years of continuous development of new technologies and products (including the five years pre-KL)?

To answer that properly we need to ask how old the industry – cybersecurity – is itself. Well, the very first antivirus programs appeared just a few years before 25 years ago.

So that means we’re one of a handful of developers that created cybersecurity! Indeed, we’ve been in the industry since its infancy (when on-demand signature scanners were all the rage), and are still here today (in the new age of big data and machine learning). And that’s 20+ years in the cutting-edge avant garde. Oh yes. And no: modesty isn’t forbidding – it’s our birthday, after all :).

More immodesty: just think of all the cyber-nastiness we’ve been destroying in all those 20 years!

Of course, there’s never just one way of interpreting history. And Kaspersky Lab’s history is no exception.

On the one hand, we could look at old pics from our halcyon days of 20 years ago, recall the naive mistakes and missteps we made with a cringe, then also look in the mirror at our graying hair and deepening lines on our faces and get all melancholic! Sure – that’s possible…

But on the other hand – looking at the very same pics of those halcyon days of 20 years ago – we could simply smile instead, and say something like: ‘Not a bad first two decades, but we’re only just warming up!’ It’s all just perception: you gonna concentrate on the problems and difficulties, or the successes and achievements? Well, no prizes for guessing which perception we’re going for in this here post; yep the latter: ’cause that’s how we do it KL – we stay positive. In this business – you have to! And we hope we’ll inspire you, dear readers, to do the same.

Everything changed in 20 years? Actually – not quite. At least one thing hasn’t: work hard and think big

So, in the run-up to KL’s birthday, we had a long hard think about how we could most graphically and strongly arouse inspiration, while keeping true to historical faithfulness (and observing norms of decency:). And this is what we came up with: let’s have a quick look at some of the more curious and fun aspects of the company over the years – how it was in the ‘good old days’, how it looks now, and how it’ll be in the future.

I’ll start with the office.

If we go right back to the beginning – the early 1990s, we’ve moved offices a whopping six times!

Here, for example, is what the epicenter of development of one of the best antiviruses in the world looked like in 1994. That was our whole office! Ok, so registering as ‘Me Lab’ came three years later, but still – it was our office. It was actually part of the KAMI company, which produced software and hardware solutions in the 90s.

Btw, it was in this year (1994) that we took part in Hamburg University‘s AV tests for the first time – and unexpectedly won (by a mile) on quality of protection. In the pic above I think the smiles were breaking through the exhaustion after hearing about our win.

Read on: Think big and have a toast!…

Happy Birthday to Us – 20 Years Old – to the Day!

Whoosh!

What was that?

That, boys and girls, was the history of cybersecurity passing by!

28 years ago, somewhere around the fall of 1989, my Olivetti M24 was attacked by a virus. That fateful event changed my – and many others’! – lives. If only that virus had known precisely whose comp it attacked that day, and how many malicious descendants would be wiped out over the next decades both by my hand and later by the hands of KLers, I’m pretty sure it’d have about-turned in a jiffy and gotten the hell out of there!

26 years ago, in the summer of 1991, a group of like-minded computer geeks enthusiasts launched the great grandfather of what is today one of the top antiviruses in the world.

Precisely 20 years ago today – on June 26, 1997 – ‘Me Lab‘ was founded.

But it’s fairly quiet in the office today. No party, no champagne, no nothing. On our 20th birthday? Don’t worry – we’ll get to that. We’ll be celebrating, in usual crazy fashion, but just a little later. Today it’s business as usual. All the same, tonight – NOW!, if you’d raise a glass of something tasty and utter a few kind words, please do. You will be repaid in good vibes and positive karma or some such – for sure!

Whoah – we just received congrats from Scuderia. Grazie mille! (the photos arrived with a note: ‘Kimi is smiling!’ Well, so are we:).

The icing on the cake birthday cake:

Now back to those drinkies :)…

 

Flickr photostream

Instagram photostream

Massachusetts snow woe, and a US-AV decade of champions.

I’ve been in the USA countless times.

Usually it’s just for short stays with a few different places to visit, but there’s normally plenty of interesting tales to tell afterwards. Not this time! This time it was business, business, and again business. In this post, alas, there’ll be nothing too riveting for you, dear reader – just a few curious items…

…The first being… SNOW!

Now, you might think there’s no way a Russian could ever be interested in snow in other countries. Coals to Newcastle, right? But you’d be wrong. For this is the first time in my life I’ve ever seen SO MUCH SNOW – right here, in the U. S. of A.! A knee-jerk, subconscious urge was willing me to be offended: ‘How’s it possible? Give us our patented, trademarked snow back!!’ One word: odd. No, one more word: unexpected.

Snow woe

Boston snowA far cry from the Everglades a day earlier :)

Read on: Celebrating 10 years of KL business in US…

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10 years since the first smartphone malware – to the day.

On June 15, 2004, at precisely 19:17 Moscow time something happened that started a new era in computer security. We discovered the first malware created for smartphones.

It was Cabir, which was infecting Symbian-powered Nokia devices by spreading via unsecured Bluetooth connections. With its discovery the world learned that there was now malware not just for computers – which everyone already knew too well about (save for the odd hermit or monk) – but also for smartphones. Yes, many were scratching their heads at first – “viruses infecting my phone? Yeah, pull the other leg” – but the simple truth of the matter did finally sink in sooner (= months) or later (= years a decade!) for most people (some still aren’t aware). Meantime, our analysts made it into the history books!

Why did we christen this malware Cabir? Why was a special screened secure room created at our Moscow HQ? And how did Cabir end up in the pocket of an F-Secure employee? These and other questions were recently put to Aleks Gostev, our chief security expert, in a interview for our Intranet, which I thought I’d share with you here; might as well have it from the horse’s woodpecker’s mouth…

Incidentally, the story started really running when we used these two devices to analyze the malware:

The legendary Symbian-powered Nokia phones we used to analyze Cabir

…but more about those below…

Read on: An unusual file n the inbox…

K(E)L(vis) has left the building.

Ladies and gentlemen!

I’ve got some very good news! Well, at least, for some – particularly KL employees…

Our decade and a half of rented-office-space hopping has officially come to an end. Yep, we’ve finally done it – we’ve gone and bought an office building – rather, three. Well, better late than never, I guess. Anyway, just recently, the last of the last of the departments which were holding out at the old office (at Oktiyabrskoye Pole ([Red] October Field)) in the north-western suburbs of Moscow) have finally left it for good, turning up for work the next day at the new office, as can be seen in this photo – of our corporate admin elite and their favorite rubber plants:

Kaspersky Lab New Moscow Office

Yup, we now have our own small piece of north-west Moscow, housing more than 1500 company HQ employees who’ve voluntarily signed up for careers in the fight against global cyberevil.

More: homes sweet homes…

Yukatan: You can tan, while conferencing.

On the news of late I’ve been seeing an awful lot of reports about very woeful wintery weather all around the world. In Moscow they’ve had the heaviest snowfall in something like centuries, and Northeastern USA also got a fair overdose of the pretty white precipitation. I start thinking that it’s all just signals warning of impending doom caused by global warming. But then, who wouldn’t – bar ostriches – after all the freak snow and then looking at the results of ice drillings in Antarctica at the Vostock Station? :( But I digress…

So it seems that everyone from New York, to York, to Yakutsk is suffering big time with loads of weary winteriness. So that leaves me + cohorts + partners feeling… well, a little bit guilt-stricken, to say the least. Why? Because we’re all on the sun drenched, snow-free, profoundly picturesque Yucatán Peninsula.

KL N.American Partner Conference

More: Why conferencing in paradise?…

KL: 15 Years Old – How Time’s Flown!

Kaspersky Lab is 15! Believe me – that’s a long time. That many years in the IT industry is a whole epoch, no – several epochs.

In 1997 when the company was founded our main enemy was cyber-hooliganism. At the start of the 2000s this was overtaken by organized cybercrime, and our task became considerably more difficult: on the other side of the barricades there wasn’t a bunch of uncoordinated hackers any more; large cross-border cyber-criminal structures had firmly established themselves – illegally earning millions of dollars in profits. Today, cyber-crime been joined by a new and much more fearsome phenomenon – cyber-warfare. Recent cyber-war attacks such as Stuxnet, Duqu and Flame show how it’s not just “business” any more, but politics, with those behind cyber-warfare not in it for the money. They’ve got different objectives. Cyber-warfare activities are also much greater in scale, or rather – reach, so the destructive force of attacks has gone up too. We’ve seen how poorly protected IT infrastructure can be exploited to paralyze whole cities, industries, even countries. Thus we’ve entered an ominous new era – that of cyber-warfare. What we need to do in response is join forces in a worldwide fight for security.

For our company this new era sure is a challenge. The goalposts have moved, but we’re moving with them. We’ve had nothing but moving goalposts now for 15 years! We’ve always had to deal with new threats, so we’ve gotten well used to always being on guard and not letting it down for just a second. So figuratively, but also as a matter of fact, our guys work 24 hours, seven days a week, and 365 days a year in keeping the guard up and maintaining protection from threats. Over our 15 year history we’ve built up a gigantic database, containing more than 94 million samples of malware and around 300 million trusted – whitelisted – files.

Read on: KL: 15 Years Old – How Time’s Flown!

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

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

A Blast from the Past. Part II – the AV Artefact.

And here we are, with the second in the series of nostalgic tales from the history of the company. As promised, in this installment we are taking you on a journey back to the beginning of the 90s – to the era of good old DOS, and the prototype of our anti-virus, which was used on this early operating system.

Generally my first encounter with viruses came in October 1989. (In just a few months it will be 22 years since that fateful event, and I still don’t know how to celebrate this anniversary!). It all started with someone bringing me a floppy disc (when they actually were floppy!) containing a strange program that caused a bizarre effect of falling characters. I had a look at the program, dug into it, felt around, and eventually cured it. This satisfied me greatly and I was most happy with the result. And I enjoyed the process of doing it too.

I began successfully treating other viruses that kept being brought to me, and soon news about my virus cures spread all around the research institute I was studying at the time. It was around this time that I generally became known as the “the guy who gets rid of viruses”. Then folk with viruses started coming from other departments, then other institutes, and then other cities.

Read more > How many viruses I’ve healed?