For the naive and uninitiated, cyber security was never a concern and in the digitally totally transformed Corona times, might be he would have heard just of zoombombing. While we are busy with the known vulnerabilities of Zoom, the efforts to patch and the advisory against it, this happens to be a very small percentage of the cyber breaches, which are on an increase. With the world shifting its work and education to home this was more than expected. As per a Verizon report ransomware attacks are exploding in the education sector, across educational services.
This surge is witnessed globally in 2020. Suffice to say that most of this year, the world has lived in lockdown and the likelihood of schools and colleges reopening anytime soon is still thin. According to Verizon’s 2020 Data Breach Investigation Report, there is clear trend of the hackers opting for ransomware attack, which this year is accounting for 80% of all the cyberattacks suffered. The data collated suggests that the vast majority, 92% are motivated by financial reasons and a meagre 3% is for espionage on businesses operating within education.
Though growing at an alarming rate, ransomware was just 48% of the whole in 2019. Phishing is partially to be blamed, the ransomware attacks are more commonly made through fake websites than through emails. Given the present professionalism in this game and the crash commercialisation of crime, the hackers can rent out the malicious software as service. Verizon states that even now considerable number of companies don’t have protection against ransomware, that too explains for this increase.
Casey Ellis, founder & CTO, Bugcrowd speaking to Cointelegraph said many companies are vulnerable to the rise of ransomware in the COVID-19 age. More targeted attacks are expected against remote working employees, in general parlance, work from home. ”Attackers will capitalize on vulnerabilities in the outside perimeter, allowing more effective and destructive phishing attacks, such as subdomain takeovers, due to high amount of rushed domain and configuration changes.” Mostly ransomware would be executed by publicly known vulnerabilities, Ellis does expect to witness an increase in sophisticated attacks across industries.WHILE IN LOCKDOWN, YOU ARE NOT LOCKED OUT FOR HACKER.
To be operational in today’s world there is considerable level of depth that is required. To get the cross connect of different operating systems and processes which finally complement our understanding, depth required is again considerable. Think of all the people around and compare them to the end of their academic career or when they got into their first job, you will realise that nothing much has changed but for their looks, age and some strappings of privilege and position. The depth of writing and their talk does not seem to have improved in decades together. The earnest desire is to manage your way through with least effort, while giving an impression that you are hard working and that you are improving on a regular basis.
In actual practice you would accept that superficiality is fad but when it comes to open declaration, no body dare accept it. It is bad manners. It will show you in a very bad light. We are out of depth with nearly everything we handle, even the best of the professionals and with full certainty if there is even slightest of choice. The tragedy of today’s reality is that even in human relationships, superficiality rules the roost. How many of us can boast of the depth in human relationships and with how many? Are you known for cracking intense relationships which adds to both personal growth and comfort and a similar push in the professional arena.
With knowledge we remain at the superficial level for all times, might be we are able to reach some depth at the time of the examination or while preparing for an interview. Preparation is thought be a horrid period which all of us want of forget, only to romanticise when you get a chance to flaunt your success. Nobody talks about the depth of knowledge you are supposed to have and the methods by which you can acquire. If put to test on the knowledge depth touchstone, even the best of professionals would go amiss. There is no such parameter itself and life goes on.
In the field of Cyber Security the same speech has been happening for quite sometime of vulnerability increasing as the world becomes more interconnected. If you ask anybody to tell you the nitty gritty of Stuxnet attack and what learnings we got out of it or the FBI conducted Silk Road investigation of the Dark Net site or the travails of Edward Snowden and how it changed the world, it would be a wild goose chase. When today Cyber insecurity has the capability to engulf the whole world, we are totally out of depth. We seem to practice 360 degrees superficiality in our lives.ACCEPTING SUPERFICIALITY AS A FAD IS NOT ACCEPTABLE.
COVID-19 has created a new breed of Gyanis who are there on webinars churning out wisdom for the world still in captivity, few relaxations notwithstanding. Besides the ever engaging content of the What’sApp University, anything which comes to the be close second are the eFlyers proclaiming webinars, bringing in intellectuals, thinkers and practitioners, unheard so far. It’s a crazy world, where there are no exceptions. It had to be become a fad and naturally now everyone is on that bandwagon. While there is nothing to be delivered, the only thing it does is an intellectual massage to the person who delivers in the webinar.
That we have compromised nearly totally both at the content and research level is a given and also a very conspicuous lack of the gift of the gab. With these handicaps which are sufficient enough to ground any professional public speaker, they are still up and flying in the COVID-19 days, when wheat is being sorted out of the chaff. Life had been a timepass then and life is a timepass now. That is the only trade they are in. Create the drama of intellect and make a living out of it. With the audience of the nature we have, it is same as biometric attendance story, that being in office should suffice, the output cannot be generated out of attendance, anyway.
Denigration of every single platform which the technologists have provided in the last few decades has been our pastime and the last in this series are webinars. The cut-copy-paste culture emanated out on a supposedly intellectual urge, an information repository, called the internet. This has been our fate. With the wherewithal of domain and high end content missing, what great results can be achieved from the unfolding webinar revolution. Sometimes one is forced to believe that this whole exercise was born out of forced captivity which is still nursing the aspiration to be noticed as an event management type seminar.
As times passes by, the non-serious drama masters would have to give way to the serious players. At present this is just an attention game. Once we cross this stage as couple of serious speakers have, it would be a paid program all the way. The difference between the real ones and that also rans would be the level of monetisation of a speaker. When the physical world comes to life and if they still conduct webinars and charge a hefty sum would prove their mettle. No doubt this is great medium, without any frills, reaching out to you, where ever you are are, is there to stay. It would not die down with COVID-19. Fortunately, only the best would survive.
NO PLATFORM CAN MAKE YOU A STAR. YOU SHOULD HAVE THE CAPABILITIES TO BE A STAR PERFORMER.Dr sarit kumar
Confidence is built on one’s harsh experiences, tough and intriguing times, learning out of it, being successful for once and then again sometime later till reaching a point when you are successful every single time. Failure might still happen one odd time but that is what is life all about. If certainty is guaranteed, human life would become so redundant. We slowly learn how confidence life cycle operates and we start experimenting in newer and newer areas and lo and behold it is always successful. Over a period of time you realise the nitty gritty of this confidence ball game. The crux of matter is that effort needs to happen with unstinted focus. Otherwise it will get stuck even in the 1000th time.
The story becomes dicey when this confidence life cycle is a make believe one. On the face of it, it would look completely genuine till the time the fraud is caught. They will give you a feeling that the individual or the enterprise has come the hard way, through the learning mode and they have the capability to deliver but at the first burst of summer, they literally melt. People have no method to validate so we take it on it’s face value. But at times the validation comes from the skies as in the case of COVID-19 and the organisation and persons in charge, pertains to the World Health Organization. But for COVID-19 the bluff would have been never called.
Confident individuals all around the place from consultants to fake practitioners abound our holy land. Their story is not of having confidence themselves but to get into your desired wants and create confidence in you. The person then will support his candidature not only for his confidence but also for this professional expertise, which he would have never displayed. But seeing his overt display confidence you would feel that way. Selling confidence in a society, economy and polity where there is none is a big business. Finally, whether it succeeds or not, nobody bothers as long as each one is able to make his moolah.
Lack of confidence is our DNA. Exposing it would be suicidal. Truly gaining confidence would be a gigantic task. Mostly success would not come their way. But one has to necessarily prove oneself successful in life. In the digital, multimedia, social media world, failing is a blasphemy. In a society where nobody fails, nobody succeeds as well. The society becomes stagnant and same is fate of polity too and by extrapolation economy too. This is the whirlpool we are in. Where to go nobody knows.
CONFIDENCE IS NOT WHAT YOU SAY OR PROJECT, IT GET’s VALIDATED ONLY WHEN YOU SUCCEEDDr sarit kumar
Touch me not is what will sell in technology in days to come, mostly where physical contact with human beings, surfaces, machines and gadgets were a must. Post COVID-19 has to be a touch free world, given the fact that we don’t know when we would get free of it. At the simplest level, Biometric access control is out for the foreseeable future. Depending on the efficacy of facial recognition in controlled environments and with masters of it being used for access control, it could be standardised. Knowing the temperature of the employee and visitor is a big concern.
If a commercial product hits the market today which can do both; facial recognition for access control and displays temperature, so much needed in the COVID / post COVID-19 world, it would be a super success. AI on the edge can perform lots of other functions and over a period can used for monitoring and performance issues. Touchless technology as they call it, is the future.*Are we ready? Touchless sensing market in growing at the rate of 17.4% and is *expected to touch $15.3 billion in 2025 from $6.8 billion in 2020.
Gestures are next on offer and voice could be used in much larger number of applications across board. The technology uses sensors to recognise you gestures, facial features or voice to complete the task assigned. Siris and Alexas are already there, automatic speech recognition is in place. For gestures computer vision algorithm is used to interpret the sign language. In facial recognition , facial patterns can be used for large number of purposes, sentiments being one of them.
Aviation is bound to be the first adopter of touchless technology given the stringent nature of its requirements. They will have to invest in contact less process. A survival issue. Boarding passes can be printed through gestures or voice. Infosys launched contact less baggage management for a North American airline. Uber is using technology to check if the driver is wearing a mask. It will based on driver’s selfie at the beginning of the journey. Zomato recently launched contactless dining for the post-lockdown world. Toucheless is in.
TOUCHLESS TECHNOLOGY WILL SOON BECOME THE NEW NORMAL.Dr sarit kumar
While the headlines and the next avatar breaking news have been blaring incidents after incidents of cyber security breaches and also the how our operating systems, routers, apps, softwares etc are making us more and more vulnerable, our reactions are pretty mute, subdued and also numb and dumb. We are convinced that we will not be the unlucky ones, even though seventy - eighty percent of us have either gone through some such nightmare or the other or have some person close, who had undergone that harried experience.
Even the ones who have had the opportunity to go through a training, primarily aiming at some certification, the security stance still remains the same. It is generally treated as an added nuisance and for this reason even with tonnes of high end resources available on the net, we don’t make any effort to use it. That it will not come on a platter is also known to us. It has become like the Stockholm Syndrome, the hostage getting fascinated by the hostage keeper, here the potential victim moves in perfect denial, that the hacker does not exist. For sure he will not target him.
COVID-19 has changed it all. Online has become our default existence. The workplace, education, communication, entertainment and financial transactions have all completely moved onto the digital mode, mostly from the less secure home. If the professional has to survive, live and prosper it is only through this medium. The threat vector has increased unimaginably, making every single professional full secure a humungous task, given the present expertise, infrastructure and the methodologies available to teach and learn. The eyewash business of Cyber Security will get us further nearer to the doomsday. A complete overhaul is essential.
While other things can wait, the professional has to be trained immediately. It cannot be the high flying ones. World class certifications and ad type marketing language. Ground level as required. It needs a clear cut Weeklong Cyber Security Utilitarian Course for All Professionals. The course content could be: 1) the IT ecosystem, 2) the Cyber Security requirements in Post COVID-19 world, 3) top ten hacks / their DNA to understand the present world, 4) major cyber crimes, cyber law, cyber investigation & usable forensics, 5) the world of data - creation, life cycle, value, ownership & protection, 6) protecting your digital boundaries; network security to internet of things, IoT, 7) Banking & other financial transactions security, 8) social media end to end, 9) managing CCTV networks and finally 10)who provide you these services / run your IT infra. Only hands on is on. 25% of workshop time would be dedicated to hands on. Understanding the main cyber security tools is a must. ALL PROFESSIONALS DESERVE TO BE CYBER SECURE INDEPENDENTLY. Dr sarit kumar
Forced into it, given the COVID-19 reality, Zoom is being talked more than NCERT textbooks, now that the Indian school and college education have to necessarily go online. That even after 5O days of lockdown, the way we have to usher in online education remains unknown. It has been left to the lower mortals and managements and high end educators have generally kept away from this exercise. A whole new practice has to be created out of nothing. The existence of few video conferencing solutions adds to the comfort level, when there is none.
Education 2.0 is right here. Online is default. Education will never be the same again. MOOCs to Digital Age Education to Online Classes, whatever we call it, this is new face of academic institutions, they cannot do without. MOOC started to help facilitate new skills acquisition for the Disruptive Age, anything that is to be learned outside the conventional system, at one’s convenience, mostly free, world class curated content and subject matter experts available for the purpose. The corporates could lay their hands on these resources with additional skills adding value to their enterprises.
Starting from the iconic Khan Academy to Coursera, Udemy, Edureka and our very own BYJU’S, they have defined different variants of MOOCs and have been immensely successful in models of their choice. Somewhere down the line a passion for teaching has made it happen, Salman Khan and Byju being the prima donnas. Harvard is also offering 67 free online courses. This is challenge against which the Indian educational system is pitted against. For them education is a product, they know how to create and sell it. Personal choice, corporate requirements and coaching has been the prime movers so far.
The challenge is to bring mainstream school and college education online without an effort, investment or understanding and unwilling teachers and professors to boast of. Have they even been able to fathom out the challenge? It is like creating a new functional layer of education, of which the stakeholders in the conventional educational system have no idea of. Digital content has to created out of the physical one and all that is available over the net etc. A multimedia content. Digital Pedagogy would have to be a research project in itself. The hardware, software specifications and then the platform. All the above have to seamlessly become one integrated system in which students and teachers get better experience and comfort than the physical mode itself.<DIGITAL TRANSFORMATION IS THE BIGGEST CHALLENGE FOR EDUCATION TODAY. Dr sarit kumar
The quality and the cracks in the leadership mettle has come out in the open in various countries at all levels during the onset of COVID-19 and in managing operations of this pandemic, one of its kind tragedy that has hit the world. That is the reason we find different result in different countries getting afflicted in the same manner, medical infrastructure notwithstanding. The dilly dallying and a very clear lack of understanding of the evolving situation is witnessed at most of the places.</p>
It has more been an ad-hoc reaction to an evolving situation and then waiting for the results, unsure of everything and at times completely taken aback by it. This is not withstanding few success stories, Kerala being in our backyard itself. The capability of replication has also been found to be missing as evolution of a system of functioning, takes time and effort. Besides, the capability of utilising all available resources in the right combination and time, to the fullest is not an easy job. Only a hands on leader can make it happen. If you have not brunt your fingers a few times, you would be able to gain even a modicum of success.
The post COVID-19 phase besides the political and bureaucratic leadership, will test one one and all. Health leadership would certainly remain under test for quite sometime. It needs a major overhaul to be ready for something of this nature and magnitude. In the educational sector cracks are already appearing on the online classes / education front. How well it transforms itself depends what the leaders have to offer, based on every reasonable input and the analysis thereof. The business leadership will face its most difficult time, if they try to recover in the conventional style, it might not happen at all. The social sector leadership is also at crossroads with the funding crunch all around.
The post COVID-19 leaders would have to be persons of proven expertise, capability to plan and execute with alacrity, grit and determination. The general fun making, exploiting leadership position model’s days are numbered. Program budgeting in both funding and results is bound to happen. Business leaders have to deliver on frugal / lean model every time. Nobody has the money for the flab. Foresight will be tested by results. For the social enterprise, leadership would mean the capability to pull out your organisation and people you work for, out for crisis.
POST COVID-19 WOULD BE HARSHEST TESTING TIME FOR ANY LEADER.Dr.Sarit Kumar
Hacking is here to stay and it would keep readapting itself depending on the situation and context and / or where the funding came from. Close to the heels of ransomware attack reaching 80% of the total this year, the disturbing trend Google sees is an increase in the state-backed hacking and phishing due to corona outbreaks. COVID - 19 is providing a direction to hacking, businesses related to education has been one on the targets and on the other end of the spectrum websites and apps named after Corona and COVID-19 have mushroomed like anything, are busy surreptitiously collecting data.
Security experts at Google sent numerous warning to users whose accounts have been the targets of government-backed hackers. The software tool and the correlation behind these findings generally remain out of the public view. Security experts at Google sent 1755 warnings only in the month of April based on the above findings. This has been following the resurgence in hacking and phishing attempts related to the coronavirus outbreak.
”Hack-for-hire” operating out of India have been creating Gmail accounts spoofing the World Health Organisation (WHO). This activity was detected by the Threat Analysis Group of Google as disclosed on Wednesday. The number of attacks have increased on medical and health care professionals. The same is the case of WHO officials. There seems a concerted attempt to lay their hands on some health / financial information they have desperately been looking for. Also more than a 1000 YouTube channels have been removed since March that were behaving a part of larger campaign, in a concerted manner.
The best way to elicit information is now the hacking way and it’s the most authentic too. ”WHO and other organisations, at the center of a global effort to contain the coronavirus, have come under a sustained digital bombardment by hackers seeking information about the outbreak.” There is no search warrant required by them. They are global investigators of the digital age, the whole world dreads of. All stakeholders have become mute spectators while they rule the roost.</p>HACKING AT WILL IS LIKE THE PRAJA PANCHAYATS OF THE. DIGITAL AGE. Dr.Sarit Kumar