At 20, Ankit Fadia is already a veteran in the cyber world
However, the books raise a question, when computers have become the order of the day and e-mails have turned post offices into parcel offices, how much is too much when it comes to knowledge about computer security. "It has been proved beyond doubt that Internet is not secure. With so much information on hacking available on the Internet, the criminals can easily hack computers and cause massive damage. The New York blackout that happened some time ago is also being explained as a cyber terror act. What's not available is the information on how to secure our systems. Here is where the job of an ethical hacker starts. It's like the job of the police. It knows how a criminal works but uses it to track him down." Ankit says the New York blackout proves that it doesn't make a difference which country has control over the Internet. "Like any other technology, Internet has its advantages and disadvantages but the good points outweigh the bad ones by a margin." Recently, Ankit's help was sought by a classified intelligence agency for breaking an encrypted message sent by one of Osama Bin Laden's men. Ankit agrees that criminals will always remain two steps ahead, but by creating mass awareness, we can at least try to remain at par with them. He feels it's time security agencies got their act together and show much more will in learning ways to tackle hacking. "We are some eight to ten years late in accepting the technology so we have to do something extra to catch up. Despite all the talk of India being an IT power, forget bureaucracy, even private companies are not showing the requisite urge to tackle the menace."Citing recent MMS scandals, Ankit says mobile phones have also become a target of hackers. "Mobile companies offer so many facilities on a single set without looking into the security aspect because of the cost factor. It makes them vulnerable to hacking. But again you can't blame the technology."
Hooked on world
Son of an electrical engineer, the Delhi boy has no academic qualification in computers and has learnt on his own. He started at the age of 10 by reading books and searching the Net. By 14, he had already penned one. "There are so many computer communities on the Net. If you become a member of such communities, they keep you aware of the latest developments in technology. However, this doesn't mean that those who are doing computer courses are wasting time because besides the urge, I also had the resources to spend on my passion." Ankit says he never allowed the computer to take control of his life. "From the very beginning, I didn't spend more than five to six hours each day in front of the computer. Then I enjoy reading and travelling." Ankit is doing his graduation from Stanford University, California in Business Management.At another level, what intrigues most is Ankit Fadia belongs to that rare breed of individuals who have dared to differ from the mass behaviour. In a country with a dismal literacy level, we have a teenage computer expert who can stand up to the best in the world, something like Sania in tennis and Narain in Formula 1. "Most in India follow the traditional path. Good school, good college... may be an IIT. This is a typical way of life in our country and I don't find anything wrong in it. But then they don't make it to the newspapers!"ANUJ KUMAR