A déjà vu with Information Security guru – Manu Zacharia

Manu ZachariaThis 21st century has its own saga. Internet users have grown exponentially and because of that online fraud, cyber crimes, hacking have become even more dangerous and vulnerable when compared to physical thefts. The thing is only firewall, anti-virus et can’t prevent all cyber incidents. We need awareness on Information Security.

He is the man who first started general awareness in India on Information security and we call it an “InfoSec day”.  He is none other than that Manu Zacharia who is Information Security evangelist with more than sixteen years of professional experience.
I met him and got a chance to share few words  face to face in 2008, when there was 3 days lecture cum workshop  on  Information Security and hacking by him. As I was the Event head so , I had to be always in touch with him. (It was an honor to meet him personally) and he is my security guru too.

His profile says lots of good things about him.
•    Information Security evangelist with more than sixteen years of professional experience.
•    Awarded the prestigious Microsoft Most Valuable Professional – MVP award for 2009 and 2010 in Enterprise Security stream and he is currently the only one in India (in Enterprise Security
stream) to hold this award as on Dec 2010.

•    Also honored with the prestigious Asia Pacific Information Security Leadership Achievements
Award for 2010 from International Information Systems Security Certification Consortium –

(ISC)² under Senior Information Security Professional Category – the only Indian to receive the
award in 2010.

•    Creator & Chief Architect of Matriux – Asia's first Security & Penetration Testing Operating
System – www.matriux.com

•    Founder of Information Security Day Initiatives & c0c0n International Hacking and Information
Security Conference.
•    Co-author of a book titled “Intrusion Alert – An Ethical Hackers Guide to Intrusion Detection
•    He is also associated with the Signal School, Centre for Defense Communication & Electronic
Warfare – premier professional training institution of the Indian Navy in Communications and
Information Warfare for their various cyber security courses.
•    Speaker at various International and national security and technology conferences including
Microsoft Tech-Ed, ClubHack, Enterprise Information Security 2010 – Singapore, Security
Conference- Bangalore 2010, DevCon, etc.
•    Associated with the Information Technology Specialization School, INS Valsura, Indian Navy for
their advance courses on Network Security and Ethical Hacking.
•    Also an expert member of the Curriculum Review Committee of the Indira Gandhi National
Open University (IGNOU – The largest university in the world) M-Tech Program in Information Systems Security.

•    Associated with the Centre for Development of Advanced Computing (C-DAC – the R&D
institution and scientific society of the Ministry of Communication & Information Technology,
Government of India), Advanced Computing Training School as a Guest Faculty for their various
Information Security, Ethical Hacking, Digital Forensics and Investigations modules.
•    Extended his service to various state & central investigation agencies on various Cyber Forensics
Investigation issues, some of which attained national attention.
•    President of Information Security Research Association (ISRA) and an active member of Data
Security Council of India, Bangalore Chapter.

•    Closely associated with the academia on various projects and also an invited speaker to various
colleges like Indian Institute of Information Technology (IIIT), Allahabad and IMT Ghaziabad.

•    Member of the Community Board of Advisors – EH-Net – Ethical Hacker Network Portal.
•    Associated with Symbiosis Centre for Information Technology (SCIT) – the premier IT Business School – as a visiting faculty for various IT Security modules.
•    MVP (Enterprise Security), ISLA-2010 (ISC)², C|EH, C|HFI, CCNA, MCP, AFCEH
Certified ISO 27001:2005 LA
•    https://mvp.support.microsoft.com/profile/Manu
•    http://www.flickr.com/photos/manuzacharia/show

He shared few words with us. (An exclusive interview with him )
1.    You were Air Force personnel. What made you to jump into Information Security field?
[Manu Zacharia]: Security, whether it is digital security, or physical security, has always fascinated me. While serving in the Air Force, I got the opportunity to work with Networks and slowly started getting into the breaking and securing aspects of digital networks. To summarize, two reasons influenced me; first, it’s interesting and challenging, and secondly I saw it as a promising domain.

2.    Currently you are developing Matriux? What is the idea behind it?
sanjeev[Manu Zacharia]: Matriux is more than an OS or Live Security Distribution. It is a combination of the following:
a.    Live Security Distribution
b.    Project k0d3 – Secure Programming and Coding
c.    MSTF – Matriux Security Testing Framework
d.    DVM – Damn Vulnerable Matriux
The idea was to promote information security to the professionals. We could realize that every body knows how to configure and server or write a program, but very few know how to configure or program securely. The second objective was to give a platform to the young generation who wants to get into information security.

3.    You are always busy with conference, seminars and many more official works. How you manage personal and professional life?
[Manu Zacharia]: Time Management – (at least I try to manage)

4.    In India, very few percentages of internet users are aware of cyber crime. What you wish to do to make them aware of it?
[Manu Zacharia]: We identified this as a major threat to the society and started an awareness campaign and dedicated one day for awareness. We named the day as Information Security Day – www.informationsecurityday.com where we try to promote information security awareness to various strata in the society, starting from Government offices to universities and schools to end users / home users.

5.    Any role Model?
[Manu Zacharia]:My Dad,
My gf who taught me the first lessons of hacking and asked me to break into her boyfriends email ID, and
All the security Gurus ?

6.    What one should do to excel in Information Security field?
[Manu Zacharia]:
Read, Read and Read
Commitment and Dedication, and
Think Logically (Common Sense)

7.    Any suggestions to Indian youth?
[Manu Zacharia]:
Security is always fascinating. But at the same time if not handled properly, can take you to the negative side. Always stick to the positive side, avoid getting into the negative side like defacing, flaming – try to spend those energy for positive things and you will see the success following you in every step you take.
Try to think and come out with innovative ideas – the world needs the young ideas.

8.    Can you share your website or profile links where readers can follow you?
[Manu Zacharia]:
I am going through a major rework on the web portals and blogs. However, the links are as follows:
Profile – https://mvp.support.microsoft.com/profile/Manu
Blog –  http://manuzacharia.blogspot.com/
Forum and Portal – http://www.hackit.co
IRC – irc://irc.chat4all.org/#HackIT-Lobby

P.S. : There are three roads to spoil; women, gambling and hacking. The most pleasant is with women, the quickest is with gambling, but the surest is with hacking – c0c0n – get ready to get spoiled

Sanjeev Jaiswal

He loves web programming and security and co-founder of Alien Coders. He usually shares and helps engineering students and IT professionals in academics and jobs. An avid reader and quick learner.

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