Tag Archives: london

Mission Impossible 5 – in KLondon!

I’ve been known to have a pop at the quality of Hollywood blockbuster movies released in recent years. But there’s a new film that bucks the trend, which I recommend everyone sees at the soonest! (But then I would say that)…

This impossibly incredible film I’m talking about is Mission Impossible 5.

So what’s so great about it that it gets a whole EK blogpost dedicated to it? Can’t you guess?…

…Yep, a scene in the movie was shot in one of our offices – our UK one in central London! Specifically, an interrogation scene in the ‘CIA’s London post’ was filmed in the building our office is in in Paddington, some of it on our floor.

Left to right: Alec Baldwin plays Hunley and Simon Pegg plays Benji in Mission: Impossible - Rogue Nation from Paramount Pictures and Skydance Productions.Left to right: Alec Baldwin plays Hunley and Simon Pegg plays Benji in Mission: Impossible – Rogue Nation from Paramount Pictures and Skydance Productions

What struck me as curious at first was that we didn’t solicit any filming – in fact we didn’t do anything.

All that happened was the director liked the look of our office building. Apparently they looked all over central London for a suitable backdrop for a particular scene, and eventually settled for our new office. Can’t say I blame them: our EU business operations headquarters look impressively spanking and swanky. They’re also very conveniently located: right next to Paddington Station – with a connection to the airport via the Heathrow Express that takes just half an hour. It’s just a shame all the KL logos – plus even all the Ferrari kit and paraphernalia – had to be taken down.

Witnesses gave the following account of glimpses of the proceedings:

The shooting took place on October 11-12, 2014. Though it was a weekend, all the people invited to the filming were at their desks. Everything started at 6.30am and finished at 6pm. For all that time they were shooting and reshooting a scene that lasted only 20 seconds in the final film. That’s show business!

In all 400 folks took part in the making of that 20-second footage, including Tom Cruise, Alec Baldwin, Simon Pegg, Jeremy Renner, and… our KLers! Here they are, the beauts:


As you’ll have guessed, they were extras milling about in the background. I can’t wait to see the actual scene and find out who made it into the final cut. If you’ve seen it – let me know in the comments! I promise a nice surprise for the first to do so :).

Btw, the fee we received from the production company was donated to a foundation for the protection of kiddies from cybercrime.

And this (and this) is what our office looks like on a regular workday when Hollywood A-listers aren’t paying a visit.

Hotel to cathedral.

I’d been wanting to get to Scotland for ages, and just recently I finally made it. But it was only for two days in St Andrews, and although those were a super two days, they hardly equaled ‘doing’ Scotland. Far too short a stay. A proper trip to Scotland requires several days touring the country, driving around lochs, walking in the mountains. Oh yes, Scotland has plenty of mountains. When the plane took off I could clearly see the snow-clad peaks far away to the north. Alas, they’ll have to wait for next time.

Scottish scenery – it’s just crying out to be your desktop wallpaper. Have a look!:


Read on: I don’t need to say much here – the photos tell the story…

Encrypted communications and real-world security: finding a balance

The latest debate that followed David Cameron’s proposal to ban encrypted personal communications in the UK has raised several very important issues.

The proposal would include a ban on messaging services like WhatsApp, iMessage or Snapchat in the UK. Technically this is possible to do, however such a ban on using all encrypted communication channels is not easy to enforce.

And I doubt that it will actually bring significantly more security to offline UK.

The mandate of the security services and law enforcement agencies is to keep the general public safe from criminals, terrorists and all sort of other threats. It seems that the security services want to be able to access our communications in order to be able to stop and prevent illegal activities and, ultimately, better protect people.

Encryption is vital for cybersecurity; it’s used first and foremost to keep communications safe from hackers and cybercriminals.
Do we need to give up the protection of our our data and online communications in order to improve real-world security? I seriously doubt we should.

I think that, if implemented, a ban on the use of encryption in online communication will not tangibly increase offline security. But it will definitely damage the state of cybersecurity and ultimately expose ordinary users as well as businesses to all sorts of cyberattacks, hacks and espionage.

Governments have made attempts to compromise cybersecurity to gain intelligence. For example, we have already seen government-grade malware, such as Flame, exploiting legitimate software, such as Microsoft Update, among other things.

I don’t know the value of the intelligence they obtained during this operation, but the existence of such malware did not contribute positively to global cybersecurity.

I think the real problem here is that global leaders and security services apparently see a contradiction between security and cybersecurity; while the latter should in fact be an integral and valuable part of the former.

Ham yard, salad roof.

What ho, folks! Here I am in the center of London, in Soho, the area of London that seems to have just about everything – from the salubrious to the seedy, and from the chic to the cheeky. I’m staying in the outstandingly original Ham Yard hotel. I wasn’t expecting unexpectedness here – but then I didn’t look it up beforehand – we just needed a place in Soho as I’d a few engagements nearby, so it was booked on the fly. This hotel is however full of surprises, the most astonishing of which was up on the roof…we found there a huge vegetable garden covering the whole rooftop! In the center of a megalopolis!

Ham Yard Hotel London

Read on: no fuddy-duddy old hotel for old fuddy-duddies…

A capital that’s become truly capital.

The more I keep coming back to London, the more I like it…

I was first here in the Smoke in 1992. But back then and for the following several years I was never too impressed with the city, never feeling quite at ease here. Severe and imposing imperial architecture, the interminably awful traffic, far too many folks on the sidewalks, the dirty Thames… ugh – not nice.

But then I started to see the city change – bit by bit, year by year. They largely solved the problem of city center traffic congestion – helped by the introduction of a bike-sharing scheme (‘Boris Bikes‘). They tidied up the embankments, cleaned up the Thames, and added a Gherkin, Cheesegrater, Walkie-talkie and Shard among other progressive architectural delights. Then there was the London Eye, then the Olympics… Two decades ago the place was completely different: somber, bleak and wearisome. Now it’s just the opposite: cheerful, accomodating and lively!

Of course, the addition of our finally up and running new office makes the place even more of a hit. Around 150 KLers will be based here furthering the struggle to maintain a secure and peaceful cyberspace. Have to say I envy them a bit – they’ve got everything: great city, great office, great work :).

Read on:…

Locks, new office block, and 60 mysterious stones.

What-ho, peeps!

How many times I’ve been to London I lost track of long ago. How many miles I’ve walked in parks, along river banks and down side streets I couldn’t even give a ball-park figure for. But a stroll along London’s Industrial Revolution-era canals – no, that was a first.

London canal strollLocks, water stock and two trees

I really recommend checking out this somewhat lesser well-known side to the UK’s capital. It’s a network of mini-canals, which connected London with the rest of the country so Industrial Revolution-era raw materials and goods could be ferried about.

Read on: thousands of miles of canals …

London in June: lots to see and seas of folks.

Good day everyone – from London!

I don’t think I’ve ever been in London in summer. Fall, winter, spring – many times, but never summer, for some strange reason.

And so I was unaware, perhaps naively, that in summer London is at its most touristy. Along the bank of the river Thames (my favorite route for a stroll – easy to locate, easy to navigate, and you get to see plenty) we found ourselves having to shuffle our way through heaving crowds. The line – queue! – for the London Eye was just bonkers long (reminding me of the absurdly long lines for passport control at JFK!). Then there were all the street shows, musicians and cyclists, and yet more lines – for ice cream.

london-summer1London aye? Nay, thanks

More: Crowds, crowds, crowds and… a gravity challenge!

Two London Oscars.

Last night in London this year’s SC Awards ceremony took place.

The SC Awards are a bit like the Oscars for European IT-Sec, and I normally find myself in attendance most years to pick up an award, for example – last April. But last night was the first time we received two of the most prestigious London Oscars in one night. Hurray!

And they’re not just any old awards:

  • Information Security Vendor of the Year; and
  • Information Security Team of the Year (for our GReAT (Global Research and Analysis) team.

Nice. Thank you to my agent, Mum, Dad, cat, God, etc., etc.; but mainly – thanks to the KLers who made this all poss :).


More: A well-deserved drink or three…