CHALLENGES OF CYBER SECURITY

From smartphones to personal computers and tablet PCs, data is safe nowhere and no firewall seems to have stopped hackers from data piracy and resultant crimes ranging from petty credit card forgeries to invasion of high-profile national institutions. In recent times, the security of cyberspace has come under the scanner increasingly owing to its use – possible and real – by terrorists to disrupt not just communications but to ravage entire nations in the digital age. Naturally, concerns have been raised over the safety of the Internet and related devices.

 

On 29 July 2012, Delhi hosted an International Hackers’ Conference where, in an irony of sorts, hackers and government security agencies came together to mull over the challenges of cyber security. The objective of the Conference was to provide a common platform to hackers and official experts and policy makers wherein both could showcase their expertise.
The Conference showcased new ideas for cyber security which will help consumers – small and large businesses as well as the government – to manage and secure their information against risks more completely and efficiently than before.
Finding the current scenario as an opportune time to look for new age cyber safety solutions, four cyber security analysts – Jiten Jain, Mohit Kumar, Prabhjot Singh and Kishlay Bhardwaj – organised this International Hackers’ Conference.  It was for the first time ever in India that hackers shared their technical skills and knowledge.
Ann Smith, Executive Editor of the Hacker News, highlighted the various malfeasances that the information in cyberspace is prone to being hacked in today’s world.
The hackers introduced the audience to the world of ‘Graviton’. Many of you might not know that the purpose of ‘Graviton’ is to become, in the cyber world, an artificial creature which can move between the world of Windows and the world of Apple under stealth. As this project grows, security professionals will have a better and deeper understanding of how viruses, Trojans, etc. work, so they can fight and protect themselves against them. They can then create even ‘White Viruses’, to spread in the system and fight against malicious viruses.

The coming together of the two genres of experts of the same field facilitated the recognition of hackers and may lead to harnessing their expertise by cyber crime specialists not only to check crimes but also to generate positive ideas in the field of Internet security.

A unique technical session was from Aneesh Dogra, a 17-year-old whizz-kid and hacker, who loves to hack and make things happen. His interest areas are web development, security research and automating. He mainly codes in C, Python and some PHP. He is the winner of the ‘Google Code-in 2011 Award’ (It is a contest for high school and secondary school students aged between 13 and17 to encourage  youth to participate in open source). Aneesh spoke on how to make a Linux Virus that works on your latest Linux distribution.
Mobile devices such as smartphones and tablet PCs are being widely used globally.
Consequently, we are witnessing a spurt in the variety of apps being offered on the mobile platforms such as iOS, Android, Windows and so on but without proper security implementation. Such insecure mobile applications can cause serious information security and data privacy issues.

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The Organisers of the Hackers
The Conference presented a case of the emerging cyber threats and the current state of cyber warfare in the world:the hackers hacked into several mobiles through a public mobile charging station. The coming together of the two genres of experts of the same field facilitated the recognition of hackers and may lead to harnessing their expertise by cyber crime specialists not only to check crimes but also to generate positive ideas in the field of Internet security.
Aditya Gupta – a well-known mobile security researcher and penetration tester responsible for the discovery of serious vulnerabilities in websites such as Google, Apple, Microsoft, Skype, Adobe, and a variety of other major software technologies, showed how dangerously vulnerable the new Android devices are. The Android operating system has so far been touted as virus free. He gave an inside view on how the black hat underground hackers use hacking to earn 5-6 digit incomes per month! One of the experts demonstrated how one can remotely access the entire victim’s personal information and even the confidential data available in the Android cell phone like contacts, call logs, messages, browser’s history, GPS (Global Positioning System) location and many more using the Android ‘spy agent’ application.
Web browsers started off with a single process, single thread model. However, the web has evolved from being document-centric to becoming application-centric. This gave rise to problems of stability, performance and security. Dev Kar, a security researcher and the co-founder of XY Security, demonstrated the use of a browser bug which could steal all the contacts from a user’s ‘Google Talk’ profile.

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