Capital talk: Passcode to online safety

The internet economy has created several new jobs and concepts. One such concept is hacking, a profession that is only now gradually making its way to the mainstream, where people are running companies that offer solutions aimed at securing an organisation’s entire online infrastructure and data.

At its very best, hacking is breaking codes that govern the running of a software and then ensuring that it cannot be broken again by people who would actually want to misuse the cracked code for illegal and undeserved personal gain — akin to theft or burglary. So, motive is critical, but hacking is slowly gaining positive currency.

However, even as users like you and me get increasingly enmeshed into the internet due to its increasing importance in our everyday life and work, there is very little that we do to ensure that our location and security are not comprised.

Businesses, however, cannot afford the luxury of being casual about the loopholes in their cyber security, as any breach could lead to a scandal around data leakage, compromising of confidential business plans, misuse of valuable research and theft of intellectual property.

To tackle this headache, we now have companies that offer services in the field of what is, technically, called Vulnerability Assessment and Penetration Testing (VAPT).

In plain English, this means allowing a hacker (the term, in today’s world has a positive connotation) access to the structure and code of the website or any other online presence that you run and asking him/her to suggest and implement moves that improve the security of your online presence.

“Hacking is always ethical. We always access anything after being asked to do so by the corporation,” says Trishneet Arora, 21, a Ludhiana-based tech expert, the founder of TAC Security Solutions, a cyber security company.

Arora, who claims to have worked with Reliance Industries, the Central Bureau of Investigation, the Punjab Police and the Gujarat Police to help tackle instances of cyber crime and cases where a phone is the vital evidence, adds that with the increased use of smart phones, the cyber environment has suddenly become a node of information that is unusually difficult to secure or manage.

“In hacking, the idea is to not just point out faults in a code or a programme that runs your operation. It is also getting down to protection and ensuring all bugs are removed,” adds Arora, who has written three books on cyber security, the most recent being ‘Hacking with smart phones’, where he explains the ways one could actually take small steps towards securing the smart phones.

Besides other tips, the slim write-up even gives ways to controlling any smart phone remotely and traces it when lost.

The young hacker, who claims that his company’s turnover could soon touch `2-crore with a team of 10 people, says he has learnt the art — now his profession — through extensive research and tinkering, on his own since he was 10.

Perhaps, in recognition of the importance of tinkering and appreciating the costs that cyber careless can entail, the Modi government appointed Ankit Fadia, a well-known professional in the field of ‘hacking ethically’ as one of the four brand ambassadors of its Digital India programme launched in June.


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