Clickety, clack. Clickety, clack. The rhythmic sounds of fingers tapping away at keyboards are coming from Eugene Kaspersky's "woodpeckers," who make up a virus-hunting crew responsible for tracking computer threats in real time and who work around the clock to write and ship virus definition updates to millions of computer users. This is Kaspersky Lab's secret sauce, the ability to ship anti-virus signatures every hour on the hour, seven days a week, 365 days a year.
"We're losing this game with computer criminals. There are just too many criminals active on the Internet underground, in China, in Latin America, right here in Russia. We have to work all day and all night just to keep up," Kaspersky said in an interview with eWEEK during an international press tour of his company's headquarters. Kaspersky, a talkative man who founded the company in 1997 and managed its expansion into markets in the United States, Europe and Asia, is banking heavily on quick response time and added layers of protection to help this 700-employee outfit survive the entrance of Microsoft—and an aggressive push by bigger incumbents—into its bread-and-butter business. He dismissed talk that security improvements in Windows Vista will make anti-virus software redundant, but was willing to concede that malicious hackers have defeated the stand-alone, signature-based approach to protection.