This is a guest post from Sami, Product Manager for F-Secure Internet Security.
Some days you will remember forever. In your personal life, these irreplaceable days include the birth of your child, your wedding or visiting a new country. In business, it could be a promotion to new job, meeting an important business partner or speaking at a conference.
Last Tuesday is definitely a day I know I’ll remember forever.
When I woke up at 5am to catch my flight to Berlin, I had a little smile on face. I was heading to a ceremony where F-Secure would be given the prestigious BEST PROTECTION 2012 AWARD from AV-TEST.
Winning feels always great. Working in a software security company, you really don’t concentrate on winning a certain award or nomination. Our focus is on providing best possible product and service to our customers.
We know it’s not easy to select security software to protect your PC. Each vendor claims to provide the best protection, most features and the simplest interface.
Testing security software is not easy either. It’s especially difficult to prove how good protection is against modern, sophisticated malware. It requires deep knowledge of malware and state-of-the-art testing facilities. AV TEST is one of the most respected independent testing organizations in the antivirus industry.
Being recognized by AV-TEST as the best product to protect consumers feels even better than great. It feels awesome.
Of course, this award would not have been possible without huge effort from hundreds individuals within our Labs. It’s their skills, hard work and determination to be the best that has made all this possible. They analyze sophisticated threats, provide detection mechanisms against them and develop new technologies to protect against new, unknown malware.
It’s really they who receive this award. For me, it’s my honor to work with them.
After the award ceremony and photos, AV-TEST arranged for a trolley car tour around Magdeburg, where our guide George gave us a history of the city. A gala dinner followed. It was an excellent time and unique opportunity talk with Andreas Marx, Guido Habicht and Maik Morgenstern about latest trends in computer security.
Tomorrow, I’ll head back to Finland. My colleagues are anxiously waiting to celebrate this award in our own special way. At F-Secure we have a tradition. We take our trophies out on the town and pose them for pictures around Helsinki so we can post them online. And we never forget to get a picture in the sauna.
Great tradition. Great times.
Sami enjoys his freetime with his family and friends. He is a long distance runner who participates in 2-3 marathons every year. He never travels without his running gear.
Black Friday and Cyber Monday are just about to kick off the holiday shopping season. Over the next month, we'll scoop up smartphones and tablets for loved ones, and also cases, covers and bags to shield them from scratches and bumps. But while we'll spend plenty to protect them from physical harm, most of us will leave an even more important area open to exposure. Check out our infographic to see what I mean: Device accessories are hot. But while a fancy leather cover may protect that tablet if you drop it, it won’t do a thing to safeguard your personal data if you’re surfing a poisoned hotspot. This holiday season, don't forget a VPN app, the most important accessory! Shopping mall image courtesy of Benson Kua, flickr.com
We wouldn't be F-Secure without the talented and passionate researchers in our Labs. And today we'd like you to meet one whose inquisitive nature has driven him to become an inventor - and a prolific one at that. In his 14-year career with F-Secure, Jarno Niemelä has racked up an impressive 20 patents to his name and has filed 100 patent applications in total. His achievements recently won the title of "Salaried Inventor of 2014" from a group of Finnish inventors' organizations. I sat down to chat with Jarno about where he gets his ideas, and his advice for others. What area do your inventions focus on? I mostly focus on methods to help detect malware on a system, or methods of preventing malware from entering the system in the first place. How do your ideas come about? Inventions mostly happen in the evening when I'm not at work, and not even trying to think about it. I'll be working on some problem at work, and usually a day or two later, when I'm doing something totally unrelated on my own time, it hits me. I understand the problem and come up with a solution. The gym is a really good place for inventions. What motivates you to keep on inventing new solutions? Inventions just happen, pretty much. Whenever I'm able to define a problem, I'm usually always able to come up with a solution. I am lucky to be researching in areas with problems that others have not yet solved. I'll be honest, I don't really like patents that much personally. The fact is though, that companies without patents would pretty much be at the mercy of the competitors. So in my view, patents are basically company self defense. Patents keep things in balance. Were you curious about things growing up? I've always kind of been inventive. You cannot learn to become an inventor, it's either something that's in your nature or it's not. And then you need to hone the talent and learn how to work within the patent framework. Another thing that is very important is good basic education and knowledge about the field. I owe a lot to Metropolia University of Applied Sciences where I studied for my engineering degree. Do you have any advice for people who have this inventive nature and are interested in filing patents? It all starts from defining and understanding the problem. Without a thorough understanding of the problem, you can't come up with a solution. Also, when it comes to patents, it's important to know what has previously been done in your area, and be clear in exactly how your invention is different from those. Otherwise your patent can be easily rejected by the patent examiner. And finally, patents are a long process so you need patience. It can take three to five years to get a patent approved. So this is not for hasty people. What is that rock you're holding? It's my trophy, a piece of Finnish bedrock! Inventors are the bedrock of new products. Do you have any certain goals for your inventions? Before I retire I would like to have at least 50 patents to my name. - Well, he's off to a great start. Congratulations, Jarno! Follow Jarno on Twitter
The EFF has put together a handy guide on choosing the right VPN -- virtual private network -- that explains in simple terms why you'd want to use this type of software. "It enables a computer to send and receive data across shared or public networks as if it is directly connected to the private network—benefiting from the functionality, security, and management policies of the private network," the guide explains. It goes on to clarify the three reasons people typically encrypt their data. Most people already using a VPN do so for the two reasons: They connect to a corporate network remotely or are attempting avoid Internet censorship in countries like China and Iran. But even if you're not using a VPN for business or digital freedom, there is a simple reason why you'd want to use a VPN. "You can also use a commercial VPN to encrypt your data as it travels over a public network, such as the Wi-Fi in an Internet café or a hotel," the EFF writes. I put together this flow chart that explains whether you're a candidate for this third reason to use a VPN: “A good number of open wi-fi providers take the time to tell you in their T&C that there are inherent risks with wireless communications and suggest using a VPN,” F-Secure Security Advisor Sean Sullivan said after we conducted a public Wi-Fi experiment. “So if you don’t take it from me, take it from them.” And even if you aren't on a public network, you may want a VPN to protect you from ubiquitous tracking elements like a perma-cookie. You can try our super simple Freedome VPN solution -- which also includes tracking protection and the ability to set up virtual locations -- free. [Image via Trevor Cummings | Flickr]