Monthly Archives: November 2016

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Infocon 2016 – a photo essay

Category : Uncategorized

As our monies, ideas, emotions flow through the digital infrastructure, our money (Money is the top trending item in India nowadays – black, white, banked, un-banked, cash, digital and so on) is essentially data. Britons found out an equation no less profound that E= mc*c that time is money. Today, time is not only money but data is money.

Money is needed by all as a medium of exchange because unlike a tree we cannot stand in a place and do all biological activities, including reproduction. It was once sea-shell,then metal diced, then paper printed and now a pattern of bits.

Money has no intrinsic value but our collective belief and trust on it. Civilization’s march has seen changes in the intrinsic aspect of money but the faith that money is backed by collective faith has remained unchanged.

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Photo Legend : Infoconglobal Chairman Mr. Sushobhan Mukherjee felicitating the musicians of Surma Dohar

The rich and poor alike need money. The rich fear that their money may be stolen, confiscated, de-monetized or they may not be able to possess ( legally or illegally) the money in the future. The poor fear the same with the added irritation that rich have more money than what they have. This tension appears to be eternal as Nature Herself seems to be aiding it.

Since money is changing its material carrier from metal, paper to bits and codes in binary, the question rich and poor both ask is : how secure is my money in its storage and in its flow ?

In Wild West movies, we used to see ambushing a train carrying currency or gold. The “outlaws” were heroes in a sense that they absorbed the rich-poor tension and had a Robin Hood aura. Since rich are always lesser in number than poor, democracy must channelize this real, deep-rooted, intense and ever-present feeling to its own advantage, i.e. to have the greatest number of faithfuls. We are finding a Wild West type of heroes emerging in our times when money’s storage and flow are both in the form of codes and information strings.

This new species is called Hackers. One speaker in Infocon told that a brilliant young man in Banglore while being interviewed told that he was interested to become a hacker, work for few years and retire with millions. He is is not wrong in his judgement. If a train full of billion dollars worth of money moves in a dangerous terrain and a mercenary says that at 10% commission, he guarantees safety, the business makes perfect sense and the “owner” of the train will happily oblige.

If a poor man now finds that he needs to travel in the same route and if he pays a small “protection money” for the store and the flow, he will also oblige.

The power now lies not in muscle and feat of arms but in the domain of mathematics, statistics, programming, cryptography. One cannot point a gun to a cryptogram and ask it to tell its secret.

History has proved again and again that super-excellence of such skills cannot be trained or ordered by amazon.com. These kind of skills appear in extremely unlikely places. Hence a very rich man’s store and flow of money is threatened by the inner workings within the head of a young man in some classroom and in an unknown and obscure school.

The poor must protect themselves being careful and aware. The must educate themselves. For the rich, the same prescription will not be enough. They are too visible and they will be attacked institutionally. They must think in the future. They must contain and remain a benefactor to those “unknown enemies”. In plainer English, they must see the social contract in a different manner.

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Infocon 2016 Team 

Infocon 2016 has been a very successful event and great learnings. Here is the photo essay of the Event

https://sushobhanm.wordpress.com/

 

 

 

 


Source: wordsmithofbengal.wordpress.com


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INFOCON 2016 – Mega Infosec Summit in Kolkata

Category : Uncategorized

Winter in Kolkata has different flairs like charming weather, sweets prepared from “Nolen Gur”, Circus, Picnic, Hopping between Zoo-Museum-Science City-Nicco Park, Different Fairs-Exhibitions-Summits. With the emerging problems of Global Warming, Kolkata is not far behind to experience diminishing winter along with other fading glories.

The charms of life, spirits of soulmates, passion of humanities are still stands ahead with any of the advanced city across the globe.

This November 18, 2016, Kolkata proved it once again. The winter in Kolkata adds a new feather in her cap through a mega Infosec Summit called “Infocon Kolkata 2016” at CII-Suresh Neotia Centre of Excellence, Saltlake.

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Infocon Global is essentially an idea which has manifested itself through deliberations, practice, my running day to day business operation as CEO of Prime Infoserv LLP and interactions with clients, competition, colleagues and peers.

The more we converge towards an increasingly connected world, information keeps on flooding between anything to everything and then of course information security becomes a point of concern. People start panicking and common sense takes back-seat. But there is a solution to every problem and counter measures to defend, protect and launch offensive attack do exist as well. But the mechanism, process and knowledge are in silos and in effect are not meaningfully available as a whole. Different and piece-meal, adhoc and fragmented measures are being projected as solutions resulting in people becoming more anxious, confused and decision making culminates into dilemma.

“Infocon Global” is being envisioned as a platform to address the burning concerns in the community. The idea is to engage different stake holders including partners, customers, manufacturers, policy makers, academicians, regulators, end-users to cross pollinate and create unbiased and true wisdom through awareness and sharing of best practices. Infocon2016 today is a continuation of this search for collaborative wisdom. Prior to that, two similar events were organized on this theme by us – one in Bangladesh and the other in the United Kingdom, again in a collaborative model.

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“Infocon Kolkata 2016” is more like a milestone in a relay race because the issue is truly global and will affect not only us but our next generation. In an information intensive society, all the components of the society will be impacted by any cyber-attack or security breach. In order to have as much harmony and totality, we have brought experts and organizations related to Technology, Process and People Consulting, Law Enforcement, Financial institution, Policy Making, Data Handling, Cyber Law, Policing and so on. What is interesting to observe is that all these diverse fields of society find mutual overlap just like Internet is going to overlap all the areas of our lives and we call this Internet of things.

The event was inaugurated by the Chief Guest, Shri H K Kusumakar Additional CP IV, Kolkata Police alongwith Swami Vedatitananda, Ramakrishna Mission Shilpamandira, Belur Math; Mr.Nirupam Chaudhari, Regional Head – Nasscom , Mr. Manjit Nayek, Additional Director – STPI Kolkata Centre., Mr Hemant Chhabria, Member of COMPASS, Founder of justvideos.

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The first session after inauguration was by Mr Sukhminder Singh Sidana, National Manager- Government & Public Sector Business, Sonicwall on “How to Protect Your Organization from Ransomware”, a burning topic in today’s world.

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The number of successful cyber-attacks continues to increase, threatening financial and personal security worldwide and cyber forensics is undergoing a paradigm shift. Mr. Jayanta Parial, Principal Engineer, CDAC. Conducted the next session on “Cyber Forensic needs and current Scenarios”.

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Next session was covered by Mr. Joydeep Bhattacharya, Chief Operating Officer at TCG Digital Solutions Private Limited. The audience was stunned with the relevance and depth of the topic “Creating Real World Simulation for Training and Network Resiliency”.

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Further deliberation was for Data Centre Securities through a panel discussion. The panel was led by Mr. Shyamal Bhattacharya, CEO of Technoplace Consultants.  The eminent panellists were   Mr. Siddhartha Chakraborty, Officer-in-Charge, Cyber Police Station, Kolkata Police;  Mr. Suketu Vichhivora, Vice President – Sales and Solution, Nxtra Data, Mr.Saibal Sarkar, NIC and  Mr. Vivek Gupta, DGM and CISO in Allahabad Bank.

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The last session before the lunch was from Mr Kanchan Mallick, Regional Manager at Trend Micro for Eastern India, Bangladesh, Bhutan & Nepal. His insights on targeted attacks were major takeaways for the audience.

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The lunch was designed with authentic Bengali touch of winter season. The peas kochuri, chana dal,  diamond fish fry, cauliflower roast, dhoka curry, Dahi Fish, Mutton, Chatni, Gulab Jamun, Ras malai , Ice-cream all were bundled with personal touch and traditional bengal’s aroma and taste.

Post lunch, the summit had witnessed the launch of our journal and mouthpiece on Information security named Infoquest. Infoquest is a journal with broad-spectrum treatment of the theme of Information security with interdisciplinary stakeholders. Infoquest captures in the lens of words the kaleidoscopic perspective on the theme with contributions from a wide group of authors in India and abroad. Infoquest was formally launched by Sri Syed Waquar Raza, IPS, SS(Spl), CID, West Bengal alongwith  Editor-in-Chief, Mr Pritam Bhattacharya, Mr. Kamal Agarwal, Chairman, Eastern  Regional Product Council-Nasscom and me as chairman of Infocon Global. We were overwhelmed by the contributions we received when we launched our Call for Papers. Infoquest is planned to be a quarterly journal and we hope it shall continue to receive your patronage and co-operation.

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Our next session was a workshop on “Real Time Information Security Issues Handling as per Best Practices Worldwide”. It was conducted by Mr.Pritam Bhattacharyya, Founder and Chief Wordsmith, Wordsmith Communication and Mr.Kaushik Bhattacharyya, Business Strategy Consultant. The workshop was designed to derive solutions of real life problems with the audience inputs and expert panel validation. This was clear cut distinctive differentiation of other conferences in order to have audience engagement in a better way.

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Mr. Koushik Nath, VP Systems Engineering India- & SAARC, Cisco Systems, had conducted the next session on “Advanced Security Threat Analysis”. Mr.Nath was instrumental with his audio-visual presentations and unmatched style to hypnotize the audience.

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Next session was meant for the Ground Reality in Cyber Crime by the people who handles those in their professional life every day, This was presented by CID – Cyber Crime Technical Expert Team.

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The session further was orchestrated by Mr. Ravindra NR, Sr. General Manager, IT & ITES, BSI. The topic “Cloud Security” was relevantly new for the audience, but was truly an eye opener in present emerging trends.

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Next was a panel discussion on the topic – Latest Cyber Security Threats and Mitigation Strategies. The panel was moderated by Mr. Arun Agarwal, Chairman and Managing Director, Ebizindia Consulting with eminent panellists Mr. Sandeep Sengupta, MD – ISOAH; Mr. Rajarshi Banerjee,Technical Lead, Cyber Crime, CID; Mr. Angsuman Pal, STF, Kolkata Police and Mr.Biraj Karmakar, Mozilla Reps and Mentor . The session revealed key take aways on today’s always connected generation.

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The final session of the day was on Large Enterprise Strategy of Information Security Handling, presented by Mr.Abhijit Chatterjee, CIO, Karam Chand Thapar Group. It was like hearing from horse’s mouth to understand the real strategies taken in real life situation.

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Further we had moved from Information Security to some soul-warming music through the musical performance by a Bengali folk band – Surma Dohar, led by Joyshankar.

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In between the music, we had recognized significant contribution in different spheres like best three articles in our journal, ICT Promotion, Cyber Law, Cyber Crime, IT strategy and consulting, Data Science and Analytics, video as new media, cloud communication, Business Intelligent Architecture and Bengali folk music. We further acknowledged the contribution of our core team and volunteers. Without them such a mega summit could not be seamlessly organized.

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Information security industry really has no frontiers. The current and emerging problems not only need global collaboration but it will need a huge workforce with a certain identifiable skill set. In its objective to build awareness, disseminating ideas and training younger generation, Infoconglobal has already become a pioneer in a global theme from Bengal.

Infocon Kolkata 2016 is just a beginning. We hope to see all of you once again on 24th November 2017 at Kolkata where we shall walk again with Kolkata and you.

Photo albums are visible in two sources : Source 1 and Source 2


Source: sushobhanm.wordpress.com


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Cashless Society, Democracy and Information Security

Category : Uncategorized

[Disclaimer of Co-incidence : We have been working on organizing a Conference on Information Security for last one month. The Conference called Infocon was going to be held on 18th November at CII-Suresh Neotial Hall of Excellence. I have been editing a journal called Infoquest and was royally rewarded by getting some “expert” knowledge from a range of experts. It was a week back, Government of India announced that Rs. 1000/500 ceased to be a legal tender and this is supposedly a step towards cashless society with other co-incidental benefits. This blog would not have been written or rather would not have undertaken the themes had this announcement not present.]

If you are a citizen of India or of a democratic country or interested in democratic countries (presumably you are not citizen of such a country), you may read some 400 words here to get the orientation.

I present some of my concerns and anxieties after fortified by my newly gained knowledge on Information security but not on the technical aspects of the theme but more on the political and societal aspects :

  • Is the system where Government knows everything about citizen absolutely and unconditionally good and benign ? Imagine your teen years and as if you sleep in a room with glass walls and parents and parents like people have a round the clock view of the room, including sleep time.
  • Today, we find that due to a decision, online transactions remain a back up option. In case of such an event in cashless society, either through cyberattack or the Government becoming rogue, what are the scenarios ?
  • In a cashsless society which is possibly not classless, will a digital attack by a 3rd party or proxy may lead to class conflict / war ?
  • The inner technical world of cybersecurity as well as cashless infrastructure is virtually unknown and unknoawable to a very large proportion of the citizenry and in case of any emergency, unless the citizenry are aware of how things are, there will be catastrophic consequences of law and order situation.
  • Our next generation will find the Internet / cyber world not simply an extension (facebook conversation / socialization) but something deeper and more tighter. There are many lurking dangers related to privacy, control, access, targeting, dissent.

Infocon 2016 will discuss these and other themes on Friday. It is getting colder in Calcutta and you may choose to end your Friday with such deliberation.

Type STANDARD at the registration to have a discount of INR 500 (yes, we accept this digitally) and see you !

Register for Infocon here 

 

 

 

 


Source: wordsmithofbengal.wordpress.com


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Cashless Society and Democracy

Category : Uncategorized

Cashless Society (just like paperless society) is a recent construct. But money or medium of exchange is very ancient. In other words, money circulation is as ancient as civilization itself, even in those societies where “paper” was a curiosity. We can easily trace 3000 – 4000 years back.

In the week following (8th to 16th November 2016) when 500/1000 notes ceased to be a legal tender ( i.e. will not be accepted by anyone except Reserve Bank of India that issued it) we in India are part of a remarkable experiment.

India has been a shining beacon of democracy in spite of many shortcomings and flaws. But future historians will not withheld their praise for last sixty years when such a country like India.

I find it interesting to ask a question as how a cashless society and democratic type of governance will interact.

There is no text written by any Indian (leave Indian media altogether) in democratic times on this theme of technology and democracy for the simple reason that we are too much beholden to technology. We have, as a society, contributed very little to the seminal aspects of the technological world, including information technology on which we have to reply so much for the cashless society. At the cost of being labeled imperialist, I remain with the side of truth and declare that all the seminal aspects of the modern world were conceptualized, deployed and exploited by WEM (White European Male).

One such WEM wrote a book in 1833 – a Frenchman Alex de Tocqueville, an aristocrat whose family’s many necks had their fatal shaving at guillotine during the French revolution. Monsieur Tocqueville traveled in the United states for nine months and wrote Democracy in America where he shared some insight which may be interesting for politicians, policy makers and citizens now in India where we have been told that a march towards cashless society has started.

  • In a democracy, the greatest threat a ruling elite faces is not from war or revolt but from the threat to comfort of the citizens
  • In a democracy, the greatest inequalities remain in full view ( the ratio between the salaries of CEO and a common employee) and is tolerated but slightest inequality becomes intolerable (marginal difference of bonuses between employees).
  • In a democracy, life tends to become trivial and flat where there is much movement but little change and the consciousness of being alive draws its sap from sensation and shock. Hence in a democracy, writers and producers and sellers of written words, spoken words, art, news, social conversations always gravitate towards materialism.

The final fate of democracy hangs on the balance of being shocked and being in comfort for the citizenry, so argues Tocqueville in an aristocratic prose.

Today, in Indian democracy we have the shock as well as our comfort being under threat.

There will be a limiting time which no one can accurately predict when this balance between shock and comfort will be disturbed.

In an aristocratic society, such danger does not exist. Since except a very small elite, no one knows what comfort or a stable life is, no one misses that.

 

 


Source: wordsmithofbengal.wordpress.com


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Data (Protection) : the untold story

Category : Uncategorized

For last 25 years or so in human history, internet users have accepted something as part of life : we share our privacy in return of digital citizenship.

This is not new. We have been providing data about ourselves to many institutions including Government all through our lives.

Notables : school, educational institution, hospital, court, banks, police station, land registry authorities, immigration, tax departments.

In last 25 years, we have been providing data about ourselves to many digital entities and 3rd party providers.

Prior to that era, we have traded little bit of our attention to advertisement to watch a movie in TV, almost free.

In short, we have always traded our privacy for some benefit.

In recent years, the data protection issue is vulnerable on three counts :

  • Cyber crime
  • Security breach
  • Sharing of data without explicit authorization ( many service providers sell user data without the user being clearly informed)

and the very scary one : entities considered benign and entrusted with data may turn rogue or outright malevolent.

It reminds me the wisdom of the Godfather : “Keep your enemies close, your friends closer.”

In terms of Internet security / data protection : be more careful and periodically re-assess your trusted parties. 


Source: wordsmithofbengal.wordpress.com