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Interview with experts who lead the project ONTOCHAIN

On 9 November E Hacking News conducted an interesting interview with experts from different parts of the world that lead the project ONTOCHAIN. It is a new European funded project, with the goal to empower internet innovators with a novel software ecosystem for trusted, traceable and transparent ontological blockchain-based knowledge management. This three years innovation project will distribute a total amount of 4.2 million euros via three open calls in order to build the ONTOCHAIN software ecosystem.

  • Please introduce yourself to our readers.

Caroline Barelle: I’m Docteur Caroline Barelle, the Coordinator of the European project ONTOCHAIN. I am working for European Dynamics (Luxembourg), one of the partners of the ONTOCHAIN project among seven partners from six countries with complementary expertise that form the core of the ONTOCHAIN vibrant ecosystem: University of Ljubljana (Slovenia), IntelliSemantic (Italy), iExec Blockchain Tech (France), Athens University of Economics and Business (Greece), the German Hellenic Chamber of Commerce and Industry (Greece) and F6S (Ireland). ONTOCHAIN is also part of the Next Generation Internet initiative that is developed actually in Europe with the ambition to ensure that the development and progressive adoption of advanced technologies, concepts and methodologies contributes to make the future Internet more human-centric, particularly in these times of crisis.

Vlado Stankovski: I’m the scientific and technical coordinator of ONTOCHAIN. I work as a Professor of Computer Science at the University of Ljubljana (Slovenia). Actually, our earlier initiative was the Human Centered Cloud, which we developed under the IFIP organization, established in 1960 under the auspices of UNESCO. The idea here is that the Internet in the past couple of decades has been governed by pretty strong software companies around the world. And now what we want to achieve with the Next Generation Internet initiative is to include in the core protocols of the Internet mechanisms so that people can rely and build on their historical and cultural achievements gained in the past couple of thousand years of European history. for example, the Internet backbone should support pluralism, diversity, democracy, human-rights and other aspects like this. So, we are very much engaged in this type of activity.

Miguel Gonçalves: I’m EU projects manager at F6S (Ireland), a company that has become the largest tech founder community. We are supporting the ONTOCHAIN project making sure that we deliver all the money that comes from taxpayers to the best applicants who will participate in the open calls, this is very important. So we will make sure that we found the best innovators to join us to build this novel software ecosystem called ONTOCHAIN. 

  • How Would You Describe Your Project?

Caroline Barelle: So from a general point of view, this project is funded by the European Commission and under the program, ICT-54-2020, blockchain for the next generation internet. The idea is to empower Internet innovators to co-develop with us a novel software ecosystem that will provide trustworthy and transparent applications for knowledge and information management as well as for knowledge, information and service exchange. We will do this via three Open Calls implemented successively over a period of 3 years and a total budget of equity free funds to be distributed to third parties of 4,2M€. The first Open Call is dedicated to the conceptualisation of the ONTOCHAIN ecosystem around 6 axis: Applications,Semantic Interopearbility, On-Chain Data Management, Off-Chain Data Management,Ecosystem Economy and Ecosystem Scalability and Integration . It is actually is actually open for Innovators. The second Open Call  is about from the concept, to transfer the relevant specifications and to develop appropriate applications for vital sector of the economy (eScience, eEducation, eHealth, eGovernment, eCommerce, eTourism, eInfrastructures) that will be tested and validated then during the third Open Call.

Vlado Stankovski: From my viewpoint, we have funding to build a software ecosystem that will be built and used by stakeholders that share our common goal, which means to improve the Internet protocols in a way that people can trust the knowledge and information that is being generated, stored and shared among individuals and organizations on the Internet. And by doing so to enable many dynamic, semantically complex and heterogeneous ecosystems of resources and actors that would underpin our future smart and sustainable society. 

This project follows the general idea of the Semantic Web, which is to deliver trust by delivering a Semantic Web technologies stack which is now part of the World Wide Web. You probably all know about the initiatives of the World Wide Web consortium, such as the Web Ontology Language (OWL), and other initiatives like this. And the ultimate goal of this technological stack is the trust between the different parties that share knowledge and information on the Internet.

Now, in our ONTOCHAIN project, what we want to achieve is to design and integrate an additional technology, which is coming from the area of blockchain. Blockchains are proven for people to trust them because they already do monetary transactions across the world by using different types of Ledgers. Blockchain is a shared database of transactions. In a way, this is resembles ontologies which are shared conceptualization of physical or abstract entities or shared organization of human knowledge. With these two database and knowledge base technologies put together what we hope about is to “marry" the Semantic Web with blockchains and by doing so, build a new software ecosystem that would improve the the trustworthiness of content and information on the Internet. 

Caroline Barelle:  What I would like to add, is that also one of our goals is to integrate ONTOCHAIN in a specific legal and regulatory and ethical framework that is currently thought over for blockchain and smart contracts. Standardisation and interoperability are also important aspects of what we are doing.

  • What do you mean by ontological knowledge?

Vlado Stankovski: Ontology is a shared conceptualization. We as humans have shared a lot of concepts together, for example, the concept of a car, is the same concept in Japan, in Europe,in the United States and in Latin America, all over the world. We know that carriages and later cars have existed for several thousand years. Carriages have been run using horses, but today we have battery run cars and so on. Yet, we have the concept of a car. So, having these concepts shared helps improve the interoperability of applications, the data which are stored by one application can be sent as input other applications, and easily understood by the other applications. An example of a computer language that helps solve such interoperability problems is the XML (eXtensible Markup Language) of the W3C, and is part of the already mentioned Semantic Web technologies stack. At a practical level, this helps applications communicate information among each other. Ontology languages may be used for more complex specifications of the knowledge that we have about different concepts, so that we can share the same understanding among applications and among each other. We can describe the concept of a car, but we can also describe concepts such as news items, elections, artificial intelligence methods in all their complexity.

  • Who will benefit from this project and how?

Caroline Barelle: We are, in fact, looking for innovators, developers and Internet experts. They will be our partners in co-developing the ONTOCHAIN ecosystem. A part from the equity free funding, they will also benefit from mentoring from worldwide recognised experts in the diverse fields related to ONTOCHAIN. The added value also for them would be a gain in visibility and community building with other innovators, industry and potential investors.

Vlado Stankovski: The inclusion of semantics into blockchains has the potential to open immense possibilities for new smart applications in practically all domains important for people, life and nature around the world.

Existing applications already use blockchains to record hashtags of documents in order to ensure the immutability of the information, which is stored off-chain. Now, imagine that more complex semantics, which means complex structures representing important concepts, such as trustworthy news, elections, automated doors and cars, are being recorded on the blockchains. This would make it possible, for example, to commit to the specific ontologies and consequently commit to the same democratic rules, for example, when distributing important news, going to elections, or sharing cars. Once the common rules are specified on blockchain, on ONTOCHAIN, as a matter of fact, that would enable that people follow the same rules that have been democratically agreed among each other. So, ONTOCHAIN enables organizations not only to establish the common concepts and facts that can be trusted but to rely on diversity, democratic and pluralistic means, when engaging in very dynamic, semantically complex ecosystems in practically all domains. Our goal is to support the smart specialization wave, which is in the heart of the European Horizon 2020 programme of research and innovation.

Miguel Gonçalves: So, there are three levels of beneficiaries. The applicants who take part in the open calls and receive funding, support and mentoring. A second line of beneficiaries will be all the innovators who will use this novel software ecosystem to build the new applications and software. And finally, the citizens who will benefit from trusted, traceable, and transparent based solutions. This will be the end goal of the project.

  • How might your project evolve over time?

Caroline Barelle: From our view point, even if ONTOCHAIN is a three-year project, we foresee sustainability for this ecosystem and we hope to make it last for ever as far as possible. This is the goal. 

  • You announced your project publicly 2 months ago. Did you get the expected response from the public?

Vlado Stankovski: Yes, it is fantastic. We have received really a lot of interest from people who work on different aspects, for example, from the viewpoint of ontologies and the Semantic Web. We know there are several tens of thousands of researchers in the world working only on the development of the Semantic Web technologies stack, such as the Protegé community and other innovators. Then, from the blockchain viewpoint, many hundreds of people already expressed their interest. Moreover, from the viewpoint of cryptography, experts of post-quantum cryptography have shown their interest, security in general. We have some interest from the United States, from people who lead blockchain projects for defense agencies and many other domains. I would say this technology has a lot of perspectives. That's why it has been recognized already for funding as one of the key blockchain projects for the Next Generation Internet. It is amazing that we received so much interest from different experts. And this is what we need in order to be able to build something new and useful for the future generations of users of the Internet.

Miguel Gonçalves: As mentioned the project just started two months ago. We already had the opportunity to promote five ONTOCHAIN TALKS now available on Youtube, and other events. In terms of applicants, the open call is not launched yet. It will be launched very soon, on the 16th of November and will be open for a period of two months. And we then expect to receive a lot of high-quality applications from all over Europe and 16 H2020 associated countries. 

  • Are you going to launch your own blockchain? 

Vlado Stankovski: On the baseline of our ONTOCHAIN architecture we have Interledger. Many smart applications would use private and public blockchains. For example, a smart car may move from Ljubljana to Vienna and would enter the transactions there. Some, but not all data generated in Ljubljana may be needed in Vienna. We need to convey the higher-level semantics of the Ljubljana transactions and to move that to another smart environment, such as Vienna. This is the key idea of how Interledger will support ONTOCHAIN’s semantic transactions. We have an architecture about this that is made of four or five layers. We have applications for trustworthy content handling and information exchange, we have application protocols, then we have ONTOCHAIN protocols and we have underneath this Interledger. In short, ONTOCHAIN is not a typical ledger one may think. 

  • As I understand, you'll work on Etherium and Hyperledger?

Vlado Stankovski: For the time being, but we have also some other people who have attended our meetings, for example, from Tezos and other ledgers. We are really not restricted to few particular ledgers. This project will deliver some showcase applications in the short term, but it intends to open an area of new research where the semantics is shared among blockchains, we would like to see the generation of new type of blocks that we call them ONTOBLOCKS.

  • Would you launch your own tokens or is it just purely application?

Vlado Stankovski: Our partner company iExec Blockchain Tech (France) has already tokens, which will be used in one area. However, the point is that what we want to support a variety of ecosystems. The idea is that by using our ONTOCHAIN software ecosystem, one can establish their own applications that include trusted knowledge management mechanisms. Instead of just recording hashtags, one can record more complex semantics on blockchains. One key challenge in the project is how do we make the interface between what is trusted and resides on the blocks and what is trustless, inherently I mean, which is the sensing environment, the data and information, and the decentralised oracles that reside outside the blockchains.

Any ONTOCHAIN stakeholder can, of course, launch their own tokens and make business. One topic of our first open call, topic number five, is devoted to the development of new economic mechanisms benefiting from trusted knowledge management. 

  • And how do you deal with the censorship of anything that might be required in any sort of network like this, or would it be totally trustless? 

Vlado Stankovski: Censorship in our context is rather a new ONTOCHAIN infrastructure supporting diversity, pluralism, democracy, human-rights, sustainability and other historical achievements of humankind. Imagine that the resulting infrastructure will be a forest of ONTOBLOCKS, or rather an ONTOBLOCKS graph. . This means that our key achievements as humanity can be built into this trusted knowledge management structure. This is the key technological idea of the project. It is not the same as the current World Wide Web that are currently governed by a few big players.

  • We've covered quite a bit in this conversation. Before we wrap up, is there anything else you'd like to share about?"

Caroline Barelle:  Just that we are actually calling for all Internet researchers, innovators and developers whether from high tech companies, academia or natural person(s) to be part of this adventure with us!

Interview with Shanmugavel Sankaran, founder of FixNix - The Entrepreneur who sold his house

Shanmugavel Sankaran has previously worked with Microsoft and IBM in a variety of information security and compliance management positions. Now Sankaran is the Chief Nixer - the founder of FixNix Inc for the last 8 years, a cloud-based Governance Risk and Compliance (GRC) company. Apart from the GRC suite FixNix has analytics products that span across five major risk assessment components across different domains: audit management, Risk management, asset management, business resiliency, disaster recovery, policy management, incident management, board governance, privacy governance.

In his interview, Sankaran shared us the moments from his biography, company history, and his personal life. 

• Mr. Sankaran, do you remember how and when did you start taking interest in computers and cyber security?

I started during my Microsoft days. I was a Database Administrator at Microsoft and I ran the Web Application Security Team for Microsoft, and afterward, I had a lot of interesting things to do at Microsoft. And then I worked with IBM. I had a couple of interesting goals managing cybersecurity architecture and a few other things for a ecommerce platform as their CISO. It's been an interesting journey.

• Do you remember when did the first idea that led to the creation of the company FixNix come up?

During my IBM days, I was trying to solve a couple of problems. There were a lot of opportunities with respect to web application security. And I saw that governance risk and compliance also was very important problems. I thought, okay, these are two problems I should seriously look at. So, when I became a kind of a start-up guy after quitting IBM, I went to act as a chief information security officer for a brief period. I was trying to procure a GRC for them. I couldn't buy are the sub 50 thousand dollar price point. It was a good interesting opportunity to "jump ship" and build.

• What have been some of your biggest challenges?

I think entrepreneurship is a roller coaster. People usually tell capital is the issue but now, after running the company for eight years, I understood the capital is okay: one of the issues, not always the issue. So, I figured out the product-market fit is the issue. It's about time. You need to first to ship someone some version and then subsequently go to Market again. You keep building it until the Market said that it's the perfect solution. So you keep doing that. For me, it was one interesting thing I found in entrepreneurship, which is very exciting stuff compared to Microsoft and IBM.

• How did you get funding for your business? How did you find investors? 

I started out of India. It was a bootstrapped company in the initial days subsequently Incorporated in the US and then became a US Corporation.

So, the initial days as we know it's a lot of trouble. I mortgaged my house to raise debt from the government of India. The initial first capital was 150 thousand dollars. Subsequently, we got some capital from friends in North America Europe USA, etc. So I think that helped the company scale.

But it was only after three years, I went to raise some money.  We raised now to a million dollars. We have 30+ investors. 

• In your profile on Linkedin, you described yourself as “the entrepreneur who sold his house”? Why did you do it? 

Yes, finally, I sold my house and infuse a quarter-million-dollar in the company when he raced around. Now, this house officially got the titled the Entrepreneur who  sold his house.

 • Your Headquarters Location is in California. Why did you choose the US?

The cybersecurity ecosystem is very matured in the US. We considered the optimal outcome that we can get for all of our existing stakeholders of the investors. It was the primary reason to have US headquarter. We have a subsidiary in India already and also in Canada and Singapore.

• On your website, you said: "I am extremely grateful to my Nixers”. Who are these Nixers? 

I actually always called myself a Chief Nixer the initial days because I always feel that we are all in this together. There are problems that we are nixing, nix means destroy or eradicate. We wanted to nix eradicate compliance issues through the process platform. 

So, I always called myself a Chief Nixer and all called all my colleagues Co Nixers. We have had to now almost more than 500 people who traveled with us through a journey for eight years. We had a fantabulous amount of engineering Talent which came and helped us.

Now we have twenty+ Engineers who helped us at this point in time and we are our engineering predominantly engineering-driven organization.

I have one person whom I want to call this is my life partner, Kayalvizhi. She was not a co-founder into the initialization, one of my friends was supposed to be a co-founder. She became co-founder by no choice because he didn't come but join me when we moved here to set up a shop in Chennai.

And then subsequently she was an engineer so she came to help me at one point of time to help me organize a team and a bunch of things. Then she helped me for a couple of iterations and then subsequently after we got some Capital, we got some external help,  then she took a back seat again because kids were growing. We have two nice demanding daughters Hasini & Nila.

But after again the restructure exercise post we went through a troublesome time she came back to help. I'm very fortunate to have her as a co-founder because I think the greatest privilege I can have to go all it happened because of her.

• FixNix has launched Polytechnic university. Is there an opportunity for talented people to enter this university for free? 

I think the university model that we had it's a very globally proven Internship model. I think we have been consistently doing this for almost the past eight years. So, during that time we trained more than 300+ Engineers. The primary thing that we do, we try to make them a good full-stack engineer.

And we don't mind which college they come from what graduation state they have. We have a lot of people from rural India. Sure, education is free with stipend.

• Do you provide work for students of this university in your company?

Yes, we convert close to 30% of the people to full-time employment. They have opportunities to work with us. From my point of view, we hire more than what we need. But we make sure that we take a lot of interns because we take care that these people can go after work somewhere else. We want to help the people, young talents. I strongly believe in young talent because I started as a young talented in Microsoft. I'm very fortunate and grateful to Microsoft when I gained over there with the gave the opportunity as a young graduate, so I still want to pay it forward and help people to have the same access to get exposed to modern technologies and agile programming practices and then modern web application security practices by working on a Cutting Edge technology company like us.

• What is the distinctive feature of your company from others on the market?

Eight years before when I made the statement "We want to be the salesforce of GRC everybody laughed at us, nobody believed that this will become reality. We are Pioneer in this industry and nowadays the whole industry acknowledges that we are the first ones who discovered this business model very deeply.

• FixNix was incorporated exactly 8 years ago (November 2012). How has your product changed over the years?

We had just a couple of products in the initial days such as audit management, risk management audit and compliance. But now we have got to all the different processes as products in the GRC platform. We have also got the AI technology kind of Predictive Analytics. We have got blockchain Whistleblower, a regulatory risk data in 3D, technology products on which we have collaborated with the large Global Banks. So, we certainly believe we have gone a little far ahead of the competition. My opinion is that we have set up a very great example for the whole industry is what I believe.

• What's your research/product that makes you especially proud?

I'm really fingers crossed at the looking forward to the blockchain Whistleblower. So in fact, we tried incorporating that as a separate company. The start of this year was the only plan to raise more capital for that and then scaled further as with a separate engineering team and executive team, but we are just trying to hold on because of Covid-19. So hopefully I think are we may get back to work by 2021 again. 

Blockchain business has huge potential. In Blockchain Whistleblower employees can speak up without worried about retaliation and in a very very fair manner. Organizations will be able to change their culture and then their environment social and governance (ESG) indice because of this.

• Blockchain is the future?

Of course. As a cyber security person, I believe it's one of the Modern data encryption at the transport layers. So it's going to be the future.

• What do you think is the greatest achievement/award of your company that makes you especially proud?

We are really proud of RegTech 21 because we got selected as a top 21 amongst global competition who have raised $250m in capital.

• What do you think, why many companies save on their security?

Yesterday I gave an interview to a leading media of South India about egregore malware. I think investing in cybersecurity is like taking insurance. Until we die we don't know the use of insurance. People cannot die every day to make sure that really have the benefit of the insurance. People may not be able to see anything immediately, but when they get Malware or some attack they start to care.

Covid-19 is the best thing that happened for cybersecurity. Everybody now able to understand the need for business continuity, Disaster Recovery, VPN, antivirus, and nobody is safe.

• In recent years many leaks from Russian banks have occurred, and fraudulent schemes using social engineering have increased in Russia. According to your professional vision, which products from FixNix you can recommend that can solve the problem in Russian banks?

We have 12 different products. They are very useful for the bank's because it's an entire end-to-end suite for cybersecurity. If it's a small bank, it can very well start the compliance audit risk. Then they can go about Asset Management business, risk management, and then the policy, a lot of those things: right resiliency, business resiliency.

So I think we would be very glad in case of the Russian banks are open to engaging the player, make headquartered in the US, operating out of India. So we will be very glad to help them. What they need to do is just contact us on FixNix.co 

• What are your future plans? What is your 10-year goal for the business?

I think if everything goes right, I think we have a lot of prospects of opportunity to become a billion dollar company making hundreds of Millions of Dollars in Revenue. So, there's a huge opportunity. But there is going to be competition but I think we as a Pioneer have some competitive advantage. So just to keep putting fingers crossed and waiting.

• You are not only a successful businessman, but you are also a writer; you have written a book  JUMP-STRAPS. 26 secrets to bootstrap your business. Can you share more details on this book?

Yeah, so I think I'm a great believer in bootstrapping. Bootstrapping the company means you either build the product with the customer found itself or you whatever the small capital have, deploy, and scale the company. So I wrote a book around four years ago. So where are 26 different aspects of bootstrapping. It's available on Amazon. So, anybody can take a look and then express upon the feedback.

• If you had a crystal ball - what do you think will be the biggest change in cyber security industry this year? 

I think the biggest change in cybersecurity is about culture. Previously the cultured part was missing, people were not talking about security then they start talking about security through committees subcommittees Etc. Things will be in better shape.

• What is your advice for new startupers?

Focus on the problem statement, keep investing more time on validating. Don't always think that capital is the only issue because you didn't look upon the product Market fit. You need to go to the market keep talking to a lot of people. Do proper market research.

Spend a lot of time on the personal study is the only recommendation I have got for people.

• What qualities do you think are necessary to work in cyber security field?

Every cybersecurity person should have attention to detail. Okay, you are sitting at a table, that's a small corner which is broken. Don't leave it broken. Try to understand why it's broken and try to understand the reasoning behind it, how it might have happened a separate. When you become a cybersecurity person, you will become a cybersecurity person for life, not only professionally.

• Is there anything else you’d like to share with our readers?

The one thing I want to share about is mindfulness. Now there are covid-19, stress, anxiety depression. All of us are going through all the tough times, so try to follow mindfulness. There are courses, books around it. It's about physical health & focusing on breathing and a few other things. It's about the mind. So focus on your mind, first is the body and then the mind. With respect to mind try to do yoga or a few other activities. Try to create a schedule for 1 hour in the morning or in the evening. Even if it's possible try to do even half an hour. You can combine some of your walkings along with business calls. Please try to create a schedule for becoming mindful. That's it. That's the only request I have for everybody.

An Interview with Mr. Dependent of Defencely.com : Tushar. R. Kumbhare

1. Introduce yourself:
Hello EHN readers and everyone else from the World Wide Web Community, I’m Tushar Rajhans Kumbhare from India. Probably, your next question would be related to my work, so here goes: I am pursuing a B.E Degree in Telecommunication & Electronics.

At the moment, I am awaiting my study completion, which is going to take a while. However, what I actually do right now and something that has become my destiny as of last few weeks, is my role as a Security Analyst and Pen Tester at Defencely.Com.

Am I too chatty, aren’t I? To cut it short, Defencely is India’s number one and upcoming online cloud penetration services company. Prior to joining their team, I was independently working as a security researcher, and got several awards of recognition from:

• Microsoft
• Apple
• Adobe
• RedHat
• PayPal
• ZenDesk
• Weraki
• Avira
• iFixit
That’s about it… I guess.

2. How did you get into Information Security Field?
Yeah, that is an interesting tale. Generally speaking, I belong to the modern generation, where kids are fascinated with the idea of computers, website hacking, security intrusion, whether good or bad, and reverse engineering. I guess it kind of gives them a sense of control and purpose in life.

However, there are hardly any cases when these “kids” grow up to pursue their dreams. I, for one, loved the idea of computer and website hacking. Not that I was a hardcore hacker, I did things ethically and wanted to become part of the good guys team :P

I just got my laptop 3 years ago. Before that, I was using computers at par level. It is unbelievable, right? It took me 3 years to get better at online security penetration related stuff. As the story goes, there I was in my 2nd Semester’s Programming class. They have that mandatory C language course for everyone.

The first day when I was in C language lab, I was the only student sitting in front of a computer that wasn’t even powered on. How so? I didn’t know how to turn that “darn PC” On. The snobbish teacher walked up to me, thinking that I was just wasting her time, and said, “Why don’t I see you writing any program like the rest of the class?”

I hesitated. By then the dialogue took a wild turn when I admitted to know nothing about powering on computers. Her words: “What” and “Get out of my class, young man” still echo in my head. Besides, I was the laughing stock of the entire university for about two weeks.

My parents were very supportive of me. They spent a chunk of their savings to buy me a laptop. Since then, I have been pursuing my fascination, which is computer and website hacking. From then on, I scavenged all kinds of knowledge about Hall of Fame security acknowledgements.

Hard work and persistence took the better of me, and there I was, trying to get listed on these company pages.

3. Why did you choose to become a Security Researcher?
Curiosity is the harbinger of dreams - (I just came up with this quote myself. Dibs on that) I already said that security research always inspired something in me. Therefore, I set off to develop my “how stuff works” mentality. My long term goal was to get listed in various websites’ Hall of Fame pages. They have these pages set up for security analysts; anyone who points out a vulnerability in the system.

But it wasn’t easy. Endless nights and countless hours were spent to achieve this dream. I worked diligently and was finally able to become a part of society that believes in making the internet a better place for all.



4. How did your first vulnerability report go? How did you find it and what did it feel like at that time?
I’m very glad you asked that question. No one forgets his first encounter with a big company. For me, it was Microsoft back then. After detecting a vulnerability in their network, I reported it without any hopes of seeing my name at their website’s Hall of Fame section. Time went on, and one day I got confirmation from the guys at Microsoft. They thanked me as their company’s custom goes.

It was the most wonderful moment of my life. I was ecstatic, speechless, happy and downright surprised at myself. The incident sparked confidence in me and motivated me to pursue cloud penetration professionally.

Here I’d love to tell all aspiring security analysts that you are your own boss. The so-called “experts” will not only laugh at you, but they’ll also refuse to help you. People hardly part ways with their knowledge in this field. Therefore, you have to work hard and one day you’ll overcome your dreams.



5. What's your research that makes you especially proud?

3 months ago was a “Bug Hunting and Reporting” season for me. I’m not talking about pesticides and actual insects lurking around; it was kind of a virtual online thing. Jokes apart, it took me a lot of time to cover the gaps. No one guided me, or helped me; all upcoming security researchers know this by heart.

The crux of my research is to manually scan any online resource for security threats, and then report it to the concerned authorities. Other than computer related stuff, I also submitted a research paper on Einstein’s Theory of Relativity in 12th Standard. They thanked me and gave me a certificate. I guess this “research” factor comes to me by blood :P



6. How do you feel after being part of Defencely?

How did I feel? I can’t give words to my feelings. First of all, Defencely is the only cloud penetration services company that purely hails from India. There are others too, but most of them are headed in the U.S of A, with some team members scattered around in India.

So it was a big deal for me to be a part of a network that belongs to my country. Defencely also inspired me to chase my dreams with due diligence. Besides that, my parents were damn proud of me… at last. I was kind of a lazy bum in studies, so my dad started doubting my future. I’m going to dedicate the rest of my time and effort to Defencely and brute force ethical standard hacking.



7. What is your advice for new bug hunters?

Dear brothers, I know it is quite easy to give advices but bear with me. As an upcoming security researcher of high caliber, you have to throw yourself at it. No one is going to teach you or hold your finger.

Keep in mind the high competition factor and make the internet your new teacher. On your way, you’ll meet all kinds of people. Some of them will vow to help you but they won’t. Others, though EXTREMELY rare, will give you in depth knowledge about hacking and security assessment. That’s about it. The rest of the stuff, you’re going to have to handle it on your own.

Stay motivated and don’t lose hope, no matter what kind of field you are interested in. By the way, start immediately with OWASP standards. Move your skills across WASC classes and learn anything that any online tutorial has to churn out.

Got it? Why are you still here, then? Go and start your work!

Here’s another one of my chin up speeches for you: To be successful in this field (or any field) you must have a positive and “can do” approach in life. Don’t let haters and their negative energy take you down. You will feel like a loser every now and then – this happens, but don’t give up on anything.

As a matter of fact, you can connect with me on:





8. What do you think about E Hacking News?

EHN is a great opportunity for anyone who is connected to the internet. Granted that you are contributing to someone or something and it is related to the scope of this website, talk to their super friendly admins. They will love to interview you; expose your skills to the world and help you meet fellow community members.

Already EHN has created buzz with its published content. I can only wish you guys all the best for your future endeavors.

9. Is there anything else you like to add?

I would like to add a few things here. First of all, a very special thank you note goes to Mr. Ritesh A. Sarvaiya, CEO and Founder of Defencely.Com. His character and role definitely bypasses as that of a CEO, which itself is a big responsibility these days.

Ritesh Sir (as everyone likes to call him that) has a knack for finding talent all over the world. One thing that I love about him is the fact that he is one of the very few people who would go to extremes to give your destiny a shape. As long as you have the talent to show for, and something that Ritesh Sir can work on, you’ll have it.

Atul Shedage. To me, Atul is like a brother and a great mentor. He is CTO (Chief Technology Officer) at Defencely. We have already heard a lot about him. He is the youngest Indian CTO to receive multiple awards of recognition from many online companies.

Lastly, I would like to thank Sabari Selvan; EHN website webmaster and owner. Without his unmatched support, I wouldn’t be here talking about my dreams and everything that you just read. Thanks Sabari, and good luck to you with whatever you are up against in life. A bunch of appreciation also goes to the entire Defencely and EHN panel. You guys rock.

E Hacking News Exclusive Interview with Aditya Gupta, co-founder of XY Security


Today, E Hacking News interviewed Aditya Gupta, one of the Famous Indian Security Researcher and co-founder of XY Security.  He got listed in a number of Hall of fame pages for hunting bugs.

*. Hi, Please introduce yourself to EHN readers.

Hello I'm Aditya Gupta. I'm a security researcher and also the co-founder of a security firm named as XY Security. I also like hunting for bugs, whenever i get time, and have found serious vulnerabilities in websites such as Google, Microsoft, Facebook, Apple, Adobe, Paypal, Webkit, iOS (webkit and iOS patch yet to be released) and so on.
I've also developed the mobile exploitation framework, Android Framework for Exploitation (AFE) along with my partner Subho Halder. That, i think says much about me.

*.How did you stepped in this InfoSec field?

Well, i stepped into this field few years back when i was preparing for my IIT-JEE in Kota.

So, instead of attending my classes in Bansal Classes, Kota, I ended up having nightouts in cyber cafes there, and learning more and more about hacking.

Even when i got admission to my college KIIT, Bhubaneswar in Electronics, most of my time went into Exploit Writing, Programming and finding new ways to break security of various devices and platforms.

It just started as a curiosity, and for fun experience, but now it has turned into my full time profession.

And you know, you should always do what you love. Thats what i recommend to everyone.

*. cool, you are ECE student?!
Yep. Mainly because apart from hacking, i am also interested in Electronics. And it turns out, that if you combine hacking and electronics, its an amazing duo.

you get to learn about the internals of everything, and it becomes more interesting to find security holes.

Thats why, i have recently published a research paper on ARM Exploitation titled "A Short Guide to ARM Exploitation" along with my friend Gaurav Kumar

*. You have discovered security flaws in a number of high profile websites, what's the most memorable vulnerability you've discovered?
You know, the most interesting vulnerability i discovered was the Facebook one.
It allowed the hacker, to remotely and silently record videos from victim's webcam and post it to his timeline, without the victim even knowing about it.
And one more interesting one was, on Google +. It wasn't much severe, but it allowed the hackers to trick victims to update their status. That was when Google+ had just started. And I think, I may have saved it from a lot of spam campaign, which you used to see on other social networks like Facebook earlier.

*. what is favorite part of InfoSec ,  WebApp Pentesting or Mobile Hacking?
I would say that WebApp sec is surely the most interesting one, and you get a lot of satisfaction when you find high level bugs in a client's website or get bugs in a website offering bug bounty.

But my personal opinion would be Mobile Hacking. And i believe that mobile would be one of the most growing areas in security soon. And you know, thats why i started working on AFE, and i plan to make it really big in the coming future, one of the de-facto for mobile exploitation.

For that, will need a lot of contribution from the infosec field. That is one of the things i'm looking forward for.

I would also like to point out one of the upcoming features of AFE, if you don't mind, which will be included in the next update on March 5th, is exploitation of vulnerabilities in applications.

So, it would be like, you just specify the name of the application - say Facebook Android app, and it would show you, if there is any available exploit for it, and boom, the next second, you will be exploiting the vulnerability.

Also, one could find a lot of vulnerabilities in android apps using the framework, so that i believe is one of the reason the infosec community would be interested in it.

*. Really interesting one , is AFE open source ,where can i find futher details?

Its completely open source. You could find it at github here http://github.com/xysec/

Also, you could have a look at some details : http://afe-framework.com


*. Tell me something about your company XY Security

Its a company i've co-founded with two more of my friends : Subho Halder and Gopinath Danda.

We provide services like Penetration Testing, Application Audits and especially trainings.

We also present our research and give trainings at international security conferences such as BlackHat, Toorcon, OWASP AppSec, SysCan, Nullcon, Clubhack and so on.

We are based in Bhubaneswar right now and we have a small and amazing team with people who are really passionate about security.

*.Recently, you conducted Advanced Android and iOS Hands-on Exploitation Course at OWASP AppSec AsiaPac2013,How is your experience with AppSecAsiaPac2013 ?

Well yeah, i had a training over there. Its a nice conference, after all its OWASP AppSec.

They are more of a global conference, with international speakers, so i got in touch with other security researchers in person and its a nice experience overall.

Unlike my earlier trainings, this one was more of a hands-on one, for which we provided virtual labs and code samples for all Android, ARM and iOS.
Also, Jeju Island (the place where this conference was held) is an amazing place.

*.What's your research that makes you especially proud?
Well, I think i have contributed and researched more than anything else, on Mobile Security, especially Android.
That is one of things i'm really proud of have done.
But, you know one has to keep doing new stuffs, and trying out new things everyday.
That is how i keep myself busy all the time. But yea, its fun.

*.What is your advice for newbie who interested in infosec field?
All i would say them is to be really passionate and dedicated about whatever you are trying to achieve.

Keep learning something new everyday, through blogs, forums, articles and websites.

Don't settle for using tools to find vulnerabilities, unless you will learn manual hacking methods, you won't learn anything new.

A tool is really helpful, but only when you understand the functionality behind it.
And yeah, My best wishes to all the ones who are new in this field. Just work hard, and nothing is impossible.

One last thing, you'll surely get criticised at some point or the other in whatever you're doing, just don't give up, and prove yourself!

*.Students used to ask me how to become ethical hacker and get jobs related to information security, so can you give me some advice to them?

To become an ethical hacker, i would suggest you to learn about hacking and exploitation, and try it out on various vulnerable targets such as Webgoat, Mutillidae or Metasploitable.

And then one could always go for certifications such as OSCP, SANS and so on.
The only thing that matters if you apply for job, is how much knowledge you have. Also, choose a language of your choice, be it Python, C++ or C#, anything, and code in that language. It will help you a lot if you're looking for jobs.

Because,
Good Programmer + Good Hacker >> Good Hacker

*. It is nice to talk to you. What do you think about E Hacking News?
Well, its a great website and keeps me updated with all the security news all over the world.

Also, a media partner of most of the top conferences in the world, its surely one of the websites i would recommend to everyone.
Really a nice job.

*. EHN really thank you for spending your precious time. Is there anything else you like to add?
I think i told most of the things i wanted to, with my really long answers.
Thanks a lot for your time as well.

E Hacking News Interview with The hacker group NullCrew


Today, EHN had an interview with the hacktivist group NullCrew who recently leaked the data from UN Wasatch and Wisconsin University site.  

In the past , the group breached the World Health Organization(Who) , PBS, UNESCO Etxea , Ford, DHS's Study in the States and Sharp Electronics UK, University of North Carolina , Yale University, South Africa's Leading ISP Directory site and more sites.


Why did you attack those sites?

These servers are a part of the system, a system which is ran by corrupt rich assholes. They mostly use their money for themself,

No donations to the people who need the money, and if they do; it's just so people look at them in a kinder way, only for publicity.

Wasatch is a partner of Microsoft, ran by Bill Gates; it was to target them as part of the system, their under the table dealings. The way they treat employees, take full credit for certian things.

The United Nations attack, mainly because the UN is all Nations together. And all nations are corrupt, wheather the people see it or not; that is something we wish to stop. Those are the reasons.

wisc.edu Became a target when they commited Animal Cruelty.

What kind of method you used?

The methods we're all SQL injection of different techniques. WasatchIT and Software were on a shared host, two of the websites hosted. On the server contained SQL injection, and in the databases displayed WasatchIT and WasatchSoftware.


We exploited [wisc.edu] via b-sqli. UN.org had a MSSQLi behind A WAF, which we had to bypass to gain access to the databases, and data its self.

What is your Next target?
Our next big release will be on Febuary 14th, yes, yes; VALENTINES DAY! It'll be the official release of #FuckTheSystem valentines day, and one target I will tell you is the pentagon.

But our next single release will be a multipul target release, on United States government servers; retaliating against #OperationFastAndFurious. How many more need to die, from weapons the government is putting into criminal's hands?

What is your ultimate goal? What do you hope to achieve by hacking these websites ?
Our ultimate goal, is to make the people of the system stand and revolt; and to prove that #FuckTheSystem is not a joke.  For people to finally live without fear, to be able to bring others into the world without fear.
 
Have you seen any results after your campaigns?
After our Unescoetxa defacment, with the song everything is corrupt; there were comments upon comments from people posting #FuckTheSystem from whatever country they lived in. So yes, we have seen results.

How many websites did you hack so far?
To be honest, atleast 150+ We've outlived most groups, and been highly active.


An Interview of Indian hacker D1617 64 (The Founder OF T|RA)

An Interview of Indian hacker D1617 64 (The Founder OF T|RA)

1. Introduce Yourself to our Readers
i m D1617 64 an explorer founder of The Revolutionary Army and Brothers OF 64 and One of the core member Of team open fire
who always fire on corrupt sector


2. What is the significance of your hacker name and why did you choose this name?
okk there are 2 reason as i say i always trying to fire on corrupt sector . D1617 64 = 64 and if i write 64 as 6+4=10 there are only 1 and 0
1 is for bring revolution
and 0 for destroy corruption
thts why i choose my name D1617 64

3. When and why did you start hacking?
i start hacking just before 1 yr , when i was in class 9 my father gave me a desktop for study and i starting learn many programming langage . after class 11 i have seen many corruption in internet like many website blocked me and many times i hv not get acess. according to me information should be free for all. after class 12 when i have got admission in college then i start hacking

4. What kind of hacker do you consider yourself to be?

its a difficult but i called my self a grey hat

5.What is your favorite hacking method?

there is many hacking method , but i most of the time working on metasploit , yeah metasploit , i have got amnt scada , root acess using this msf ... and networking is my favourite field . if any people have good knowledge abt metasploit then he/she can play with anything

6.tell me something about The Revolutionary Army
we are fighiting against corruption and reservation system done by the government
we will fight to make education free for all
this team was formed by 4 students but now in T|RA have 12 member ... and we always study our mission
as you know in IIT the government make reservation for sc and st . for this reservation system many general poor guys cnt study in IIT
after December #op remove resrvation system will start


7.Is there anything else you would like to add?

my fav hacker jonathan james

Interviews with Hackers: Today, interview with PrOtOn_An0n


anonymous hackers

Hello EHN Readers, Today we interviewed Anonymous Hacker "PrOtOn_An0n", who take down several Child porn sites. Recently, he take down 89 cp sites. You can find him here @PrOtOn_An0n

*. Introduce yourself to our Readers:
hai, I'm PrOtOn_An0n and for the last couple of weeks I've been combatting child pornography and pedophiles on the internet

* . When did you start hacking ?

my first hack was in primary school, i think i was 11 i found out that i could get into the admin of a program called lexia which was some education program thing, so i change the information for a couple of people and I’ve been picking up things ever since. But I no longer hack anymore. I find that the operations I'm involved in work out better without hacking

*. How many cp websites did you take down so far?

101 exactly

*. Are you working alone or team work?
At first I was working alone, but I felt that it wasn't like Anonymous to work lone-wolf, so I compiled somewhat of a team

*. What about scammer and spammer sites, will you take down them also? Becoz i used to take down scammers sites.

Actually that sounds like a good idea. After we take down all the CP sites we can find, I will most likely start downing scammer sites.

*. What is your next operation?

probably won't be starting another operation until we have taken every single CP site off of the internet, which might take awhile. But I would like to work with some already existing operations like #OpPedoChat because I've already worked with #OpDarknet

* It is nice to talk with you.  What do you think about EhackingNews?
I've actually been reading it for a while, if I want news on hacking or anonymous I usually go there

*.Is there anything else you would like to add?
follow the team working on this op for more news.  @Anti_CorruptUK @Anon_Antra @uk_anonymous

[Interviews with Security Experts]: Ashish Mistry, founder of HconSTF





Hello, EHN Readers. Today , We had a great talk with Ashish Mistry, Security Researcher and founder of HconSTF. Also, He is Providing Training in information security field to IT professionals, Management Professionals , IT students.


Please introduce yourself for our readers.
hello all, i am ashish mistry, i am individual security researcher, i am training people in infosec domain since last morethan 2.5 years
i run a site called www.Hcon.in and have couple of security related projects like HconSTF - Hcon Security Testing Framework
now a days this is what i known for. besides my interrest are OS , open source intelligence , and social engg

* Can you describe more about the HconSTF?
Its a compilation of tools, scripts and customization on a browser's code base to provide easy and powerful testing environment for web testing, vulnerability analysis, code analysis and much more. and now a days i m getting more responses on HconSTF for its use as client side vulnerability testing and more. currently it is in baby project but much stable and reduces efforts to test things

* How did you get into this field?
as the base i am from electronics field and during my college 2year my professor given me chance to take lecture for bachelor in computer application students as i am a computer geek and this all started and my first lecture specifically on information security was on cryptography and linux os and as i was done with my college i m into training and research only taken lectures in different colleges and institutes and now here i am now.

* You have done any certifications?
i dont have any information security domain related certs what ever i have is my own time and love for security  but i got many recognition from different people and organization for my research and things i do.

* We have heard that you started a new PenTesting Magazinge; we like to know more about it
it is one of my long awaited public projects currently the name is 'Hzine'. it will be free and pdf copy magazine may be monthly. and the idea for this magazine is to have a theme for each issue to make the magazine a quality content rich resource for beginners and security professionals .

The first call for paper(CFP) is out and theme is Operating systems and plans are to have articles on different sectors from security domain more info can be found at http://www.hcon.in/hzine.html

* What we can expect from the new release of HconSTF?
i got many request from different people for some more automated features but my point is if we are auditing mass web resourses than automation makes sense but as i already said for client side testing u have to have control in ur hands and not on automation. so the current plans are to make the base of HconSTF more stable and fast and introduce more features and semi automation so that the control is in ur hands while auditing things .

i have plans for linux version of it but, not yet finalized.

and i m also working on another project as i get time from my rituals it is a kind of a more powerful than HconSTF but, not sure when i will make it public.

but all other specific things for HconSTF is a surprise for the users but my final statement for it is you can take it as a roadmap or mission statement.
'the ultimate goal of HconSTF project is to make one stop shop for all audit process and make life easy for pentesters'

* Great. What do you think about the Young black hat hackers?
only one thing for them, stop what you are doing as this will lead you no where and eventually you will be broken and end up in jail. so choose your way accordingly

* What is your advice for newbie who interested in infosec field?
first and very important thing is to believe in your self and know what you are doing. second have a hunger for knowledge. this two will help you alot. no matter from what you start networking , OS , programming but keep this two things in mind and you will find your way eventually. as it is like a ocean no matter from where you jump into it but never stop swimming and mastering what you know

* It is nice to talk to you. What do you think about EHackingNews?
personally i find EHN more resourceful as news portal . and i m always excited for the data leak section. EHN and BTS combined makes a complete resource for my students to know the current happenings in information security domain and as a quality learning resource.

and i like thank EHN for inviting me for the interview.