In the last few decades, the advancement in technology has been drastic and remarkable. Today, it has become practically impossible for man to survive without the help of the Internet. New technology has improved social advancement, which has in turn enhanced the quality of life.
But there is a flip side to every picture. The ever-evolving digital age can affect cyber security more than people realise. The rate of cyber crimes has grown exponentially and is consistent with the growth of technology.
Fortunately, as technology has advanced, the ability to seek out cyber crimes before they happen and protect people when they occur has also increased.
It is very important that people who use technology are taught about cyber security in an era of increasing cyber crimes. However, cyber security conferences have always been expensive affairs. This could have been the motivating factor that made some youngsters from Kerala come up with the idea of launching an open community for cyber security called oSecCon.
They also plan to conduct a cyber security conference as part of the launch of oSecCon. This would probably be the first open cyber-security conference in the State that offers free entry to internet security buffs. They have decided that the only entry criteria would be the urge to know more about cyber security.
Nithin Thomas, one of the organisers, who is pursuing a bachelors degree course at Amal Jyothi College of Engineering, Kanjirapally, spoke to The Kochi Post.
“Cyber security conferences like Nullcon and Deafcon collect around Rs. 5,000- 6,000 for participation alone. An average student interested in the field finds it very difficult to arrange this much money. It was this difficulty that made realise that we should share what we know to the public for free, for the overall improvement of cyber security. We believe that vulnerability risks must change and cyber security is undoubtedly the next big thing. Money should no longer come in between you and your career in cyber security. Also, most of us are students. We know what the expectations and needs of the student community are. We dream of an event where you are free to express, roam, and shout. We want that energy to be visible all throughout the event,” he says.
The core team of 0SecCon currently has 14 cyber security enthusiasts comprising entrepreneurs, students, and even professionals who look forward to pursuing a career in cyber security across Kerala. Arun Suresh Kumar, Facebook bounty hunter, and Hemanth Joseph, Google bounty hunter, will also participate in the meet-up. Students will get an opportunity to interact with these experts and understand the subject in depth by clearing their doubts, which is not permitted in most cyber security conferences.
Commenting on what will make the conference stand out, Hemanth Joseph, organiser and an active member of oSecCon says, “We are not planning the event in the nature of a formal meeting. It is more or less an informal gathering of like-minded people. Other than the conference, we look forward to establishing college chapters also.”
Hemanth is also a student of Amal Jyothi College of Engineering.
Cyber security has gained attention in the light of various online frauds that have recently taken place in Kerala. For instance, a few lines of code can allow someone to hack into the mobile phone of a person using a public WiFi, without security measure. This puts private as well as public information at huge risk. The ATM fraud incident, where many people lost thousands of rupees, is just one in a long list of such incidents.
Forbes magazine featured cyber security as the next big thing. It has also predicted that there would be millions of job opportunities in the field in the next five years.
Despite having used Facebook as the only means of promotion, the event has gained a lot of attention. Overwhelmed by the success of the initiative even before the launch, Nithin says that the slots were filled on the first day itself and that they had to arrange for another venue.
The idea behind starting 0SecCon is the fact that training a group of people interested in the field will in turn help in providing awareness to the public, which is least concerned about the risks in cyber security.
“When we saw our friends busy with setting up their start-ups, we were in a crisis. But what kept us moving is the realisation that what we are attempting may not reward us in terms of money, but will definitely revolutionise the whole cyber security industry in the country. Simply because we are doing it for free,” says Nithin.
The conference will be held on September 25 at Athulya Hall, InfoPark, Kochi, from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Main photograph by www.bluecoat.com via Flickr.