April 29, 2008 8:27 AM
Eugene Kaspersky – rock 'n' roll thaws Russia
The Eugene and Natalya Kaspersky show made it to London’s Infosecurity show last week, complete with prosperous-looking Kaspersky Lab stand, and the chance to meet one – or both - both of what has become security’s greatest man-and-wife double act.
Unfortunately, the famously undressy and informal Eugene failed to show, his representatives citing “difficulties” with his UK visa. A great shame, all in all. Hacks (that’s writing not computing) take care to turn up looking conservatively scruffy and it would have been amusing to see who won the battle of the clothes crumple.
We are told that his wife Natalya had no problem making it to the show’s second day, so we can put to bed the notion that he might have been the latest victim of the ice-age that has chilled UK-Russian relations of late. But I still quite like the notion of the non-corporate Kaspersky being frozen out for his ‘Russianness’. A less conventionally Russian guy it’s hard to imagine.
Stand visitors who expressed enough disappointment at the missing Eugene were handed something almost as good in compensation, a bright red t-shirt with his face on it in a direct visual quote of a famous 1970’s wall poster of Che Guevara. “Viruses no pasaran!” said the shirt, ludicrously.
That’s something else you wouldn’t associate with Russians. A sense of humour.
This is what surprises people about Kaspersky; he seems to understand world culture, a handy knack for a security founder and CEO who fancies running a global business. I’ve heard it said in seriousness that there are only 20 interesting people in the whole of the security industry. I’ve still not met Eugene Kaspersky, but make that 21. I will don my garish new t-shirt in hope.
But here's a final thought apropos the show itself. Why *are* computer show giveaways normally so bloody dull? Landfills full of gray plastic balls nobody wants to bounce, mugs out which no tea or coffee will ever be drunk, and crappy pens that are never used by keyboard-chained techies because 'who in the hell writes things down now anyway'?
(Hold that thought while I put some awful beardie Russian rock music, circa 1992, on my Polish-made vinyl player.)