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Professor Robert McMillen, MBA Microsoft Certified Trainer and Solutions Expert

Saturday, April 7, 2012

Eugene Kaspersky: “I’m afraid, but resolute”

Eugene Kaspersky: “I’m afraid, but resolute”

By Robert McMillen, Koin’s Tech Guru
Ola’ from the Dominican Republic! This week I had the privilege of being invited to the Kaspersky Security Conference for the Americas in Punta Cana. Now don’t hate me because I’m in a warm climate with an ocean view from my hotel room. (Although I wouldn’t blame you.)
Kaspersky Labs is the largest privately held antivirus and anti malware security company in the world, and soon to be the third largest overall in market share. Their growth has been phenomenal, and even with the recession, they still grew over 30% last year.
Now comes the part that should concern all of us. If Eugene Kaspersky is afraid, you should be terrified.
So why is Eugene Kaspersky afraid?  We first met after he just got through with a meeting with the leader of Singapore. He was in a great mood, and was amazingly surprised that they were not only listening to him, but also planning on taking his advice on computer security. Despite his company growing to an estimated $600 million in sales for 2010, Eugene is still a big (genius) kid at heart, and more humble than anyone would expect.
 His name is so respected in Asia that refrigerators, stoves, and other products bear his name and logo without his authorization in China. It would be like putting the name or logo of CBS on a car, or a box or cereal. It doesn’t make sense to us, but brand name recognition of a product held in high esteem is hard to come by in certain places, and unscrupulous vendors will try to exploit that. 
 During the conference, in a segment entitled “Eugene Unplugged”, Kaspersky talked about his company’s phenomenal growth, and how he got started in the industry. He also joked that he never would have named his product as he did had he known how big the company was going to be. He never counted on being a brand name.
 When the MC asked him how viruses and Malware have changed over the years, and what’s in store for us in the future, Kaspersky’s face changed in an instant. The normally gregarious Eugene Kaspersky showed such emotion that he had to think very hard on how to respond in this very public setting.
 He said “I don’t really want to bring this wonderful crowd down. This is a time for happiness and celebration.” But the MC pushed on a little further, unknowingly backing Kaspersky into a corner where he had to respond.
Kaspersky said “There was a time when the people who wrote viruses were doing it just to prove they could bring down millions of computers. They’re motivation may have been mischief or political. But now it’s all about the money. And the people who write malware programs that now infect over half of the world’s computers will stop at nothing to achieve their goals.”
With the weight of the world seemingly on Kaspersky’s shoulders he went on to say that Kaspersky Labs had analyzed over 35 million pieces of malware. Even I didn’t know how pervasive malware (aka viruses worms, Trojans etc.) had become, and I work in this arena every day.
The US is no longer the spam capital of the world. Kaspersky says that now the crown belongs to Brazil. They sent out over 7.7 trillion pieces of spam last year. Almost all of them were designed to lure people into clicking on their links or attachments so their identities and their money could be stolen.
 Other executives came on to elaborate on what Kaspersky was speaking of earlier. One of the more interesting analogies is that we are taught to not take candy from strangers from the time we are able to speak, but we do this every day we click on a link or attachment in an email. Sometimes these strangers dress up as people we know and usually trust, like a bank or credit card company. But these emails are almost always a wolf in sheep’s clothing. No legitimate bank or other financial company will have you enter your password from a link in an email. Do the right thing and call the organization that supposedly sent you the email before clicking on it.
 The Kaspersky product has only been in the US for about five years, but their market share is growing rapidly.
With the bad guys finding new and scarier ways to steal our money online, I’m glad we have Eugene Kaspersky to do all the worrying for us. It may keep him up at night, but we’ll all sleep much better for it.

For great tips, check back here each week and listen to me on the All Tech Radio show at  9:00 Sunday mornings on AM 1360 KUIK, or listen online at http://alltechradio.com.
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 If you would like your technical question answered here, just email rmcmillen@koin.com. Even if it doesn’t get answered in the column, I will always answer by email.

Published Tuesday, February 16, 2010 1:34 PM by Katatkoin