I spent last week in Montreal, Quebec Canada at Virus Bulletin 2006, which, as the name implies, is run by Virus Bulletin magazine, the anti-virus industry’s trade journal. Despite having worked in the anti-virus industry from 1989-1995 and now from 2005 onwards, this is the first time I had ever attended this event, which made it, well, special, to me. Interestingly enough, what we define as a "classical" computer virus, a parasitic, replicating computer program, account for well under 10% of the threats we see and protect against these days, but there is little agreement within the industry about the definitions for Trojan horses, spyware, adware, dual-use tools which can be used for criminal purposes and so forth, that it is easier to say "virus." Besides, malicious software just doesn’t sound as sexy.
This was also the first time I had travelled outside the United States since 9-11, and while I had visions of things like endless lines, overzealous customs officials going through my luggage and ripping it to pieces and being interrogated by border guards under bright lights, I have to say it was totally uneventful and didn’t take long at all to go through customs in either direction. All the agents were nice and professional and I think the most I waited in a line was about five or ten minutes.
While I had been to British Columbia and the Yukon when growing up and have fond memories of Vancouver and Victoria, this was the first time I had visited a province that wasn’t on the west coast and I wasn’t sure what to expect. I have heard many horror stories about tourists and non-French speakers getting ignored by locals in Quebec and especially in Montreal, and was expecting I might even have some trouble getting around town, but everyone I spoke to was fluent in English and very helpful to boot. Also, while I had most of my meals in the hotel, the food we had about town was excellent. One night we went for dinner at Cafe Alexandre, and while I am not very familiar with French cuisine, it was excellent. There was also a restaurant we went to that served Czechoslovakian (or perhaps it was Czech and Slovak) food one night that was wonderful as well.
But, if you are reading this, it is not because you are interested in my travelogue of Montreal (which, alas, I did not see much of anyway), but because you are interested in the happenings at VB2006. As much as I do not want to keep you in suspense, though, that will need to wait until a future blog entry.