Tag Archives: people

Brainteasers – August 26, 2014.

In July, KL turned 17! The occasion was marked in typical fanfare style, and gave us the chance to see in the last full year of our adolescence – by playing to our hearts’ content.

There were many high points throughout the all-dayer, but one that stood out for me was a KL-customized version of famed Russian TV intellectual quiz show ‘What? Where? When’, with the show’s very own presenter, renowned quiz-whizz Maxim Potashyov. Some of the questions were so darn hard even Wikipedia would have trouble coming up with the answers.

Yep, it was a real good bit of exercise for the brain.

BTW, we’ve just launched our Global Think Test. Its Brain Training Zone contains dozens of verbal, numerical and logic challenges, which were created together with Mensa, the world’s oldest high IQ society.

So get on over there and put your calculation and reasoning skills to the test!

So let’s see how you fare with some of Mr. Potashyov’s questions…. Here are 10 toughies. Answers will come later…

Maxim Potashyov's brainteaser

1. In a New York restaurant a diner is offered a ‘Russian cocktail’. The barman mixes it from three ingredients. First he takes 75 grams of vodka, then he adds 25 grams of the second ingredient and 50 grams of the third, and then he gives the concoction a thorough shake. What are the second and third ingredients of the cocktail?

Read on: 9 more brainteasers…

Wowed by cloud.

Privyet everyone!

There are fascinating, beautiful sights to behold in the furthest corners of the globe, quite a few of which I tend to mention on this here blog from time to time. But sometimes spellbinding beauty can be found right on your doorstep…

Just the other day for example, towards evening the most amazing assortment of clouds appeared over the reservoir next to our Moscow HQ office. First there were pure white fluffy clouds basking in the bright sun, and then a thick thatch of dark and angry low cloud came along as if pushing the fluffy cumulus out of the way. Alas, by the time I’d fetched my camera most of the particularly unusual dark cloud had passed, but I did still manage to snap some of the proceedings…

Little Fluffy Clouds

Read on: Little Fluffy Clouds…

INTERPOL drop inter KL.

A few days ago our first – ah, no, second! – ever A-list guests dropped by our new office to see us. Ronald Noble, the Secretary General of INTERPOL, and our good acquaintance Noboru Nakatani, the head of INTERPOL’s new cyber division in Singapore, came to see us on a friendly visit that resulted in the official announcement of our cooperation to more effectively fight cybercrime on a global level.


More: Calling all cyberswine – watch out!…

Coffee with the US Ambassador.

Hi all!

Earlier today a very special visitor dropped by our office. The US Ambassador to Russia, the Honorable Michael A. McFaul, called in for an informal meeting – to chat among other things about US-Russian relations and the success of several Russian companies in the USA. He also took in the great, currently very snowy, panoramic view from my office window.

I found the Ambassador to be a charming individual, easy to talk to, and most pleasant to have an interesting conversation with. Our chat ended with our agreeing to continue friendly relations.


Is Microsoft Planning to Take Over the Security Market with Its New Windows 8 Features? – Alexey Polyakov in the Spotlight

Windows 8 is coming! In line with its tendency to introduce high-profile security features in each new version of its operating system, Microsoft is unleashing some pretty interesting new protection technologies with its next OS release. In fact, some of them may dramatically change the cyber threat landscape and bring the security industry a set of very handy tools for protecting users against sophisticated threats like rootkits.

Alexey PolyakovToday my “in the Spotlight” guest is Alexey Polyakov, the Head of KL’s Global Emergency Response Team, our consulting service that assists enterprises in investigating security incidents, and auditing and improving corporate security policy.

Ever since graduating from Moscow State University with an M.Sc. in Physics, Alexey’s been working in the IT security industry – now for 15 years – with a résumé featuring positions at McAfee, IBM, Symantec and Microsoft.

Prior to joining us at KL Alexey worked as a senior security program manager at Microsoft, where he became the proud founder of the Microsoft Security Response Team and was one of the key members of the company’s security development. He’s authored and co-authored security technologies protected by 12 patents, and one such technology was Secure Boot – perhaps the most ambitious advance in Windows 8 in terms of security.

So, let’s see what our man can tell us about what to expect from Windows 8 from the security standpoint, and how this might change the security market.

Microsoft’s recent ‘Build’ conference made rather a splash in the industry by announcing many useful features in its upcoming Windows 8. While mostly addressing the new user interface, performance issues and multi-platform support, the company also presented a number of security innovations.

What do you think about Microsoft’s products’ security in general?

More > Some nice tools to make cyber criminals’ life harder…

The Man Who Found Stuxnet – Sergey Ulasen in the Spotlight

I’m very excited about today’s guest. Very few industry experts know him by name, even though he’s the guy who first discovered the notorious Stuxnet worm in 2010. His name is Sergey Ulasen.

Sergey UlasenFirst, a few background words about Sergey. I’m happy to say that he joined the company in August 2011, immediately starting to contribute to the ever growing expertise of our malware analysis team, which now consists of more than 100 experts around the world. He’s a very professional and high spirited man, possessing the expert knowledge and experience for tackling even the most sophisticated threats.

Sergey graduated in 2006 from the Belorussian State Technical University with a B.Sc. in software development. He began his professional career with local anti-virus vendor VirusBlokAda as a programmer. Later Sergey joined the team that engineered the company’s anti-virus engine, and in 2008 he became the team leader. He was also involved in developing anti-rootkit and system rescue technologies, and helped with solving the most sophisticated malware incidents.

Then he joined KL. Me very happy.

Sergey, let’s go back to the moment when your team first discovered the Stuxnet sample. How did it all come about?

See more > Ten questions casting light on Stuxnet’s discovery …

Steve’s Magic Formula – a Lot of Hard Work and Patience: Stephen Orenberg in the Spotlight

I am really excited about interviewing my guest today – Stephen Orenberg. This is a special man I both very much respect and admire for his business talent, besides being the perfect gentleman, of course. Steve performed nothing less than a miracle for the company’s U.S. operations, transforming the business from a lesser-known start up into one of the major players in a mature and crowded market.

Stephen OrenbergActually, this is the third company in the security industry he has worked for. Steve started U.S. operations for Dr Solomon’s Software in 1995 (later the company was acquired by McAfee), and just prior to joining Kaspersky Lab he held a similar role at Sophos.

When he came to the company in 2004 it was to start the business in the U.S. and get it up and running. Now, more than six years later, as Chief Sales Officer Steve is responsible for all sales and business development activities in North America and Western Europe. He has also been a member of the Kaspersky Lab board of directors since 2007.

As Chief Sales Officer, he now has the ambitious goals of, first, launching corporate solutions in the company’s two key markets, and second, contributing substantially to strengthening our global market positions so we can become the world’s #1 anti-virus vendor. And I have honestly no doubt we can do this. Just wait and see!

Steve, it’s been quite a long time we’ve been working together. Please remind me of how we first met and what your first impression of the company was.

See more > How we made our way to No.1 in U.S. retail?

A Sudden Career Change that Started a New Generation of KL Products: Nikolay Grebennikov in the Spotlight.

My special guest today is Nikolay Grebennikov, the company’s Chief Technology Officer.

He is probably the most illustrative example of how a hard-working, results-driven professional can wind up in a fast-growing business environment. Indeed, his career path resembles somewhat the classic search for and reaching of the American Dream, since he’s achieved a breathtaking career rise. A significant step in this rise at KL came in the form of an unexpected job change – to go and run the company’s software development department – which resulted in the rolling out of a new generation of security products that became the foundation of our tremendous success on the global market.

Judge for yourself: a typical 33-year old yuppie who barely made his way through KL HR in the first round, but who quickly proved himself and gained weight in the company, proving his ability to lead the most sophisticated of projects, and ultimately going on to lead the R&D department – our largest unit – comprised of more than 830 employees.

He’s certainly a workaholic – but only in the positive sense of this word. At first I was rather pleasantly surprised to come across him working in the office at weekends. After a while I realized he was working seven days a week all the time! Not long ago he changed this overdoing-it habit and now works the standard five working days – but still late into the nights.

Nikolay doesn’t really do banter, so when circumstances force him to engage in small talk in the back of his mind I’m sure he thinks about how he could be making better, more productive use of his time. He’s a man of action and efficiency (can’t complain there!). When speaking he is very concise, specific and to-the-point. This is something you’ll surely notice in this interview.

Short Bio

Nikolay GrebennikovNikolay joined the company in 2003 as a systems analyst for the Kaspersky Anti-Virus for Windows Workstation 5.0 project team, and within six months was heading the Kaspersky Anti-Virus 6.0 team.

He was then appointed Deputy Director of Innovative Technologies in charge of all new research, including proactive defense, heuristic detection, and defense against data leaks, keyloggers and rootkits.

From 2009 Nikolay has been Chief Technology Officer, managing the company’s research and development.

Before joining Kaspersky Lab, Nikolay worked as a device driver developer, database programmer, general software programmer, and project manager for several IT companies based in Moscow.

He has a Ph.D. in Computer Science from Bauman Moscow State Technical University based on his work on information security. He was recently shortlisted as one of the world’s top 100 most influential voices in IT security. Nikolay is a passionate chess player and was the only person in KL who drew with Anatoly Karpov in a multiplayer game during the recent Security Analyst Summit.

You can learn more about him here.

So Nikolay, how did you get to start working at the company?

I responded to an ad in the paper and came for an interview. At first they didn’t want to employ me!

See more > Career, family and chess

Great GReAT Guys: Aleks Gostev in the Spotlight.

I’m glad the first part of our In-the-Spotlight series featuring Costin G. Raiu received so much attention and positive feedback on both Twitter and Facebook.

My special guest today is Aleks Gostev, Chief Security Expert at KL and highly valued member of the company’s Global Research & Analysis Team (GReAT).

Aleks is a unique multi-disciplinary infosec guy – one of the world’s most prominent security experts, who regularly appears in the mass media in interviews or writing op-eds. He became involved in anti-malware research in 1996 when he founded an anti-virus expertise center in the Komi Republic – a large territory in the North-West of Russia. Since 1998 he’s been Project Coordinator of Wildlist Russia – an initiative aimed at collecting and analyzing data about malware outbreaks in the country.

We first met in 2002, and I recall I felt he was the right guy for the company from the word go. Our first chat went something like:

– Married?
– Yes.
– Birth date?
– Mine or the wife’s?

Nice! That convinced me to give him a job tout de suite, and frankly speaking I’ve never regretted it. Aleks’ first big assignment was dealing with the notorious Slammer (Helkern) worm, which caused a major Internet outage in South Korea and infected hundreds of thousands of computers worldwide. He managed the case perfectly: we were one of the first AV companies to report the outbreak and provide protection.

Aleks GostevShort Bio

Aleks founded and led the Global Research & Analysis Team (GReAT) from 2008 before moving to his current position as Chief Security Expert with the team in 2010. Aleks analyzes all aspects of information security, with a focus on new threats and global outbreaks. His responsibilities include deep investigation of new malware and expert positioning of Kaspersky Lab. He is also editor-in-chief of Securelist. Before joining the company in 2002 he held various IT and security related positions in both public and private organizations.

You can follow Aleks on Twitter (@codelancer) and read his personal blog at Securelist.

He also does lots of rock climbing, traveling and extreme sports:

Aleks Gostev at the South Pole

However, in this spotlight piece we will concentrate on Aleks’ expertise in cloud security.

Read more > The message to iCloud users

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