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Kaspersky not just anti-virus app, he’s a Russian bloke coming to Rwanda next month

Kaspersky not just anti-virus app, he’s a Russian bloke coming to Rwanda next month

KASPERSKY is a rich Russian, tech Mogul who founded and owns the software anti-virus app, ‘Kaspersky’. He is coming to Kigali to attend the Transform Africa Summit in Rwanda

If you are an East African technology entrepreneur working on an antiviral program, you may know a lot about Kaspersky and even about its Russian billionaire founder Eugene Kaspersky who will be Kigali next month. But a lot of the over 400m users of Kaspersky round the world know little about the man.

The billionaire founder of Kaspersky antiviral programs will attend and speak at this year’s 5th Transform Africa Summit (TAS) from 14 to 17th May. Eugene Kaspersky attended a “spy”, “espionage” school!

Top and above, Eugene Kaspersky the Russian tech billionaire … in the business of anti-virus protection or cyber-espionage?

Top and above, Eugene Kaspersky the Russian tech billionaire … in the business of anti-virus protection or cyber-espionage?

He graduated from the Higher School of KGB and began creating his first antiviral programs in the early 1990s. Higher School of the KGB is an education and research institution federally chartered to prepare Russian Intelligence personnel for the Federal Security Service in particular and for the Russian Intelligence Community in general. At the Transform Africa Summit, Eugene Kaspersky will be sharing insights on how technology can transform the world of Internet users.

Kaspersky became interested in computer security in 1989 when his computer was infected with the ‘Cascade’ virus. The Cascade virus is a prominent computer virus that was a resident written in assembly language that was widespread in the 1980s and early 1990s. It infected .COM files and had the effect of making text on the screen cascade down and form a heap at the bottom of the screen.

Uganda President Yoweri Museveni (centre) flanked by Rwanda's Paul Kagame (right) at the annual (2013) Transform Africa Summit

Uganda President Yoweri Museveni (centre) flanked by Rwanda’s Paul Kagame (right) at the annual (2013) Transform Africa Summit

The young engineer founded Kaspersky Lab in 1997, with Eugene heading the company’s antivirus research. Over 400 million users now use Kaspersky Lab products to protect their computers.

In this regard, this year’s Transform Africa Summit will give young Rwandan and East and Central African tech entrepreneurs the opportunity to engage with Eugene Kaspersky on how to better set their pace to become successful tech moguls.

Kaspersky was born on 4 October 1965 in Novorossiysk, Russia. He grew up near Moscow, where he moved at age nine. His father was an engineer and his mother a historical archivist. As a child he developed an early interest in math and technology. He spent his free time reading math books and won second place in a math competition at age 14. When he was fourteen, Kaspersky began attending A.N. Kolmogorov boarding school, which is run by and specializes in math. He was also a member of the youth division of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union.

President Paul Kagame speaks at the 2017 Transform Africa Summit in Kigali

President Paul Kagame speaks at the 2017 Transform Africa Summit in Kigali

At the age of 16, Kaspersky entered a five-year program with The Technical Faculty of the KGB Higher School, which prepared intelligence officers for the Russian military and KGB. He graduated in 1987 with a degree in mathematical engineering and computer technology. After graduating college, Kaspersky served the Soviet military intelligence service as a software engineer. He met his first wife Natalya Kaspersky at Severskoye, a KGB vacation resort, in 1987.

As the head of research Kaspersky authored papers on viruses and went to conferences to promote the software. He was often quoted in the technology press as an antivirus expert. He helped establish the company’s Global Research and Expert Analysis Team (GReAT), which helps corporations and governments investigate IT security threats.

Initially he told his team not to discuss cyber-terrorism publicly, to avoid giving governments ideas on how to sabotage their political opponents. After the American film Live Free or Die Hard (AKA Die Hard 4.0) (2007) was released, Kaspersky said the idea was now public. He hired the researcher that identified the Stuxnet worm, which is believed to be the first instance of state-sponsored cyberweapon. Afterwards, the company exposed the Flame virus at the request of the International Telecommunication Union. The virus was believed to have been used for cyber-espionage in Middle-Eastern countries.

Additional reporting by Correspondents and Agencies

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