The ex-KGB man stalking the cybercriminals

The founder of Kaspersky Lab, Eugene Kaspersky, sees himself as a modern revolutionary trying to keep us safe from malware authorsNot many software company bosses would have the chutzpah to distribute bright red T-shirts portraying themselves as a latter-day Che Guevara. Not many would take 50 journalists to dinner at a traditional Moscow restaurant and end up doing Cossack dances, or whirling around the ethnically costumed and somewhat embarrassed blonde singer from the balalaika band.But then, not many founders of Russian software houses have built international businesses and become household names. The casually-dressed, bearded and blue-eyed Evgeniy Valentinovich Kasperskiy, a 42-year-old former senior lieutenant in the KGB, has done all that through the success of his antivirus company, Kaspersky Lab. Which is not to suggest he’s some kind of megalomaniac; beer in hand, he’s being one of the lads.He got into the business by accident – he started collecting viruses as a hobby, in 1989, after his PC at the Ministry of Defence became infected with Cascade. By 1991, he’d written an antivirus program to detect and disinfect them, and he co-founded Kaspersky Lab in 1997. The company was named and run for a decade by his ex-wife Natalya after a dispute with a US partner meant they were unable to use their existing product name, AVP. At times, they employed actors to play the Kaspersky figure, but Eugene is too well known for that to work now.

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