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Five minutes with David Preston

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Kaspersky Academy launches its new project  “Five minutes with…” that will see our partners and renowned university professors answering the Academy’s questions.
The next interlocutor is David Preston. He is an accomplished marketing director,
Kaspersky Lab Europe, with expertise in strategy, business development, the management of change and has worked across USA, Europe and Asia. He has held a wide range of senior management positions in his career from the blue chip IBM to 40-employees startups.An insightful, creative thinker, David is adept at linking strategy to operational excellence and was responsible for global events marketing management at IBM in its Armonk, N.Y., headquarters. David’s passion for enhancing the customer experience with the appropriate use of technology is born out of his background in electro-mechanical engineering from Surrey University, England and combined with being a Fellow of the Chartered Institute of Marketing. At ease on either side of the Atlantic, David maintains homes in Wiltshire, England and Vermont, USA.


1) Some people involved in the academic sphere claim that IT security is not a science that can or should be included in university curricula. How would you respond to them?

These academic people are mistaken. To understand the solutions required in the world of internet security, we need the best brains in the industry and not only computer science but other fields of psychology, behavioral science and many other subjects, because our enemies are really smart nowadays… this is about business not just IT and they want to make money and we have to try and be one step ahead of them… ignore this field of study at your peril, Mr Academia.

2) Who is most interested in enhancing knowledge in areas such as IT security? All branches of government? Intelligence services? Business? Science? Members of the general public? Legal authorities?

All of the above actually, although unfortunately the general public are least interested… our product in their minds is like an insurance policy… I know I need to have it but I actually never want to know I have it.. it just needs to be there, doing its job, in the background. The challenge with the other groups is that no single body is really responsible and therefore in most cases, each one is waiting for the other to take the lead.

3) Is it true that he rules information, rules the world?

In today’s world, this is becoming increasingly true… someone said to me just the other day that 90% of the worlds data was created in the last 3 years. Our ability to collect data is around us all the time, from every keystroke on a device to where we are tracked and seen on video surveillance, to every conversation we have over an electronic device. Thank goodness there is no one entity that is collecting and processing all this data… that would be scary. Think of the villain and media mogul, Eric Carver in the James Bond movie Tomorrow Never Dies.

4) In the 18th century the doctrine “Back to nature!” was born, calling on mankind to reject technological progress… Is life without computers, cell phones and Internet possible in the 21st century? Yes of course it’s possible but how boring would that be?

Technology has enabled us to connect with more people in more countries around the world, shrinking it… the 1940 hypothesis of 6 Degrees of separation, where you can find anyone in the world because you now someone, who knows someone etc, is said to have been reduced to 4.7 mostly due to technology, be that online or through travel. It is good to turn off sometime and get back to nature but you still need Google Maps to know where in the wilderness you are 

5) Science fiction writers predicted planes, submarines, atomic bombs and video phones – but none of them predicted the appearance of the Internet. What is the reason for that?

Well I suppose because it is not physical… you can’t pick it up, look at it, turn it around and change it. Seriously, I think the internet wasn’t really invented by one person or group of scientist and therefore similarly no one writer saw an emerging technology and wrote about it in fiction. The internet was an evolution of numerous different technologies, who happened to converge at a point in time… yes it is said that Tim Berners-Lee invented the web but it was the sudden explosion communication technology that actually enabled the web… Bill Gates famously said in the late ’90 that ‘the internet was a fad and wouldn’t last.’…how wrong was he?

6) What do you think of predictions that soon the most effective – and therefore only – way to wage war will be to hack the enemy’s computer networks, while tanks, missiles and aircraft carriers will become museum exhibits?

This is a while off yet because not everyone has the capability to wage war like this but almost anyone can pick up a gun and fire it. I think cyber warfare will become an increasing part of modern day times and will supplement it like un-manned drones are already today.
7) If a Noble Prize was also awarded for IT security, who would be the first winner?

Eugene Kaspersky of course… who else is there??

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