“Hacking was and still is the holistic push that motivates me in all my endeavors”
-Sunny Vaghela (Founder & CEO, Techdefence Labs)
The Global Hues received the opportunity to interview Mr. Sunny Vaghela (Founder and CEO, Techdefence Labs) and also the Indian Ambassador of Cyber Security. Having received the honorary title of Times Man of the Year- Cyber Security, he is one of the most prominent players in the domain. Dabbling within the IT and Technology domain for more than 9 years, he has been involved in business risk analysis, technology failures, and developing strategies for secure information architecture design.
THE UNDERGROUND COMMUNITY
Like all great entrepreneurs, his journey started with “inquisition”. It all began back in 2004 when one of his email IDs was compromised. This gave him an opportunity to come face to face with hacking for the first time. After the incident occurred, he went around asking his engineering batchmates about ways to retrieve it but received no satisfactory answers. Like a detective on a case, he had to participate and deduce the unethical aspects to understand the ethical side of “hacking”. Loitering within the underground community he mastered the ethics of hacking. He tells us that “Hacking was and still is the holistic push that motivates me in all my endeavors”. This hobby catapulted into a full-fledged profession and in the time period of 2010-2016, he created a franchise completely focused on security training. His franchise has created visionary leaders, by providing training to the maximum number of people in India. 2017 onwards, the team has focused more on Cyber Security operation centers that run 24×7, proactively solving the problems faced by enterprises.
IMPORTANCE OF ETHICAL HACKERS IN TODAY’S WORLD
When asked to elucidate upon the need for ethical hacking for enterprises, he explained that “In today’s scenario, cyber-attacks are no more just an IT but a board-room level problem, and most of the organizations are taking services from ethical hackers to ensure the all-round web and system infrastructure security of their enterprises.”
With the ongoing pandemic, there has been a substantial increase in the number of cyber incidences and most of the organizations are getting attacked. There has been a constant struggle to cope with the vulnerabilities published every day and patching up the system simultaneously. Hackers are trying to take an advantage of this. Systems and web applications are vulnerable enough at the moment. Once the hackers are into the system, they can dry out all data and earn immensely by selling it on the dark web.
Upon reflecting, Mr. Vaghela pondered over the general misconceptions around hacking. The word is shrouded with many negative connotations, he said. But the fact remains, there are two types of hackers- ethical and unethical and the difference between the two is embedded in the fact that the latter use their skills to damage and breach a company’s privacy and data while the former is exercising “an art of exploring various loopholes into systems to showcase and secure the discrepancies ”. With the progress into a more technological era, people are finally shifting their understanding around ethical hacking.
IMPACT ON BUSINESSES AND ARTIFICIAL INTELLIGENCE
According to him, in business, data is all-pervading and important. Be it an SMB, any start-up, or a large-scale enterprise. All are vulnerable to hack-tacks. Cyber Security or ethical hacking is a priority, at any given point in time. Hacking can have a direct breach of a company’s valuation. Digitizing infrastructure, automation and IT, should be supported by ethical hacking or Cyber Security that Techdefence is committed to providing.
He also emphasized the importance of AI or artificial intelligence in the Cyber Security infrastructure. Nowadays, most hackers try to automate attack patterns. AI is able to determine whether the attacks are ethical, unethical, or false positives. There are many giant enterprises that are integrating AI in their Cyber Security systems to watertight the safety and productivity of an organization. AI can also technologically predict future attacks by creating an algorithm on the patterns of past and present attacks.
Mr. Vaghela also shared his valuable insights and hacks on having a cyber-secure network-
TIPS FOR INDIVIDUALS-
- When getting on the internet, one should always be aware of one’s vulnerability to hackers.
- One shouldn’t trust anyone online, be it on social media or any online platform that comes from an untrusted source.
- Social engineering is a vital plane. Hackers will always try to manipulate the masses into downloading their malware, open links, and spread Trojan or viruses on the network. Redundant convincing to download links should be avoided.
- Ensuring one’s privacy through two-factor authentication and never leaking personal info on any websites.
- Nothing is available for “free” online. Though the money is saved but the data is paying itself off.
- Mobile users should use reliable sources like Playstore to purchase or download apps and no other online sources which can breach one’s privacy and data should be used.
TIPS FOR ORGANIZATIONS-
- Any business which has an IT infrastructure should regularly go for IT security assessments or audit exercises.
- The maturity assessments should be periodically performed in order to get valuable inputs and insights from the Cyber Security professionals about the position of the organization.
- Humans are the weakest link in organizations. Hackers are well aware of it. There should be an institutionalized training program for the employees along with attack stimulation exercises to calculate how many of the organization’s employees are getting trapped in the attacks.
- Raising awareness can also ensure a company’s overall security by physical, financial, technological, and data assets.