Monday, December 29, 2008

Mr.Ankit Fadia's lecture on Ethical Hacking (22 Dec 2008)

Our technologically networked world is continuously challenged by new security loopholes, threats and attacks. With a growth in computer users and networks, the scale and sophistication of cyber crime has increased thus creating a high demand for ethical hackers. The demand for computer security professionals is estimated to grow to over 77,000 in India and 188,000 worldwide.

For the purpose of addressing this issue, our college Sri Shakthi Institute of Engineering and Technology, Coimbatore invited an alarming personality, Mr.Ankit Fadia a widely recognized computer security guru and cyber anti-terrorism expert. Mr.Ankit Fadia lives in USA where he is pursuing his Bachelors in Computer science with specialization in information security from Stanford University, California, USA.
The function began with welcome address by our Principal Dr.V.Murugesan followed by the presidential address by our honorable chairman Dr.S.Thangavelu.
Mr.Ankit Fadia started speaking about the various aspects of security & its vulnerability. But was very categorical in differentiating a hacker and a cracker. Generally from the people's perspective there is a misconception that cracker and Hacker is one and the same. But after his lecture we were able to differentiate that a Cracker is one who causes ill effects to the society and violates the law whereas the hacker protects the society from the cracker and abides to the law.
He had explained the different type of attacks such as privacy attacks, dos attacks and many more that could attack Computer.
We were spellbound after hearing that a 11yr old boy from Russia was successful in cracking the NASA's entire computer system and changed the direction of a spacecraft, resulting in great loss of money to NASA.
With few case studies he explained how a cracker could access computer without one's knowledge. Then he gave a practical demonstration of how a cracker could take control over a system located anywhere in the world using TROJANS that could delete the entire data in one's computer, disable any hardware component and many other things that one cant ever imagine.
He added that its possible to crack the trial software and make it full version. But as its illegal to crack software, he suggested everyone to migrate to open source software as its completely free.
Generally every organization and education institutions block certain website so that the user may not be able to access them. Mr.Ankit Fadia, being the eminent hacker gave tips on how to bye-pass them using proxy server.

Mr.Ankit Fadia also shared his experience on how he with his fellow mates helped the US government's intelligence agency in decrypting the message sent by one of the Osama Bin Laden's men in relation with September 11's attack and practically demonstrated Steganography. Steganography is a technique which is used for hiding the information or secret message inside any image, audio or a video file. This was the technique used by the terrorist to communicate with each other.
Then he spoke on phishing which is one of the important evolving threat to security. Each and every one present were astonished when Mr.Ankit Fadia found the password of a student present among the audience, within seconds. He gave tips on how to protect one's computer like installing powerful firewall, Updating antivirus software and Operating system regularly and by installing spywares. He ended the lecture by saying that its highly important that each and every individual's privacy must be respected and its also the people's responsibility to take preventive measures to be secure enough as the technology develops.

Saturday, December 20, 2008

@Day2(11th August 2007)Interview

My turn for interview had finally come. Actually they were interviewing three people at a time, I think Vivek Balaji(ECE) and one of my classmate Ramya accompanied me. With all nervousness I went inside. Siddharth, Mayur and Sumedh Sakdeo They asked simple questions like "What will you do as a MSP?", "Why should I select you as MSP ?", and some techi questions in C(as I was in my 2nd yr of Engg).It was simple and my interview went well. Then the interview for others was held for about 3 hours extending up to 10:00 p.m in the night. By this the day 2 was also over. We all had a great experience and fun.

@Day2(11th August 2007)

Another person Sumedh Sakdeo from Pune joined the MSPs.The participants were received in the auditorium with the Windows vista official song rocking the roofs. The session on creating a website with WEB 2.0 kindled the creativity quotient of the gathering ,with many claiming after the session that they had their problems solved with regard to AJAX. They showed the difference of working experience in html and The various pillars of Windows vista presentation ,XML and RSS technologies were covered in the further sessions.
A bit difficult question ,“What were the languages used to develop the Windows XP operating system?” was finally thrown at the audience. The MSPs brought in huge competition by offering to provide the original windows vista operating system CD to the participant with the most convincing answer
One of my classmate Fazulul Rahman and another fellow, Anmol Vij from Sri Krishna college won an original windows vista operating system CD each.
The valedictory session was presided over by Mr.Sankara narayana, Dean, Electrical Sciences,VLB Engineering College. The testimonial sessions by delegates from other engineering colleges were overwhelming with gratitude for the hospitality our college provided and the knowledge which the MSP’s imparted. A Photograph session with the MSPs was requested by the participants and a lot of them walked away with signatures from their heroes.

Sunday, December 14, 2008

@Day 1 (10th August 2007)

We received a great response from engineering students (as far a 150 km away) around the district of Coimbatore. We were able to enroll about 104 students from other engineering colleges. Dr.Arokyaswamy ,President ,Computer Society of India (CSI) –Coimbatore chapter, Was invited for the inaugural address. The student were spellbound when he went on to elaborate on the challenges of the IT.Then student representatives from various colleges were asked to convey their expectations. We were taken by surprise when a student representative queried “How is Microsoft countering the GOOGLE GEAR threat ?” (Of course, the MSP’s got into act immediately!)
The first session was on Microsoft Academia that covered the various initiatives taken by Microsoft for the Students, Faculty members and more. The audience went crazy when they knew any answer to the question asked, would be appreciated with a Visual studio CD.

Then they adopted a innovative approach to elaborate on the difference between Microsoft XP and Microsoft Vista operating system. We had provided the MSP’s with two projectors .One had the output from a machine running on Microsoft XP and the other from a machine running on Microsoft Vista. Hence the audience were able to appreciate on the experience Vista provided.

The videos shown were awe-inspiring! .The auditorium echoed the applause time and again. One particular video on the evolution of the Operating system was greatly motivating.
At the end of the day 1, students were asked to come out with questions in their mind.

After the success of Day 1 event it was followed by session of interviews. The MSP leads were able to appreciate the concentration levels the students exhibited throughout the day. Most of my friends were interviewed. Later I came to know my turn was on the next day.

Behind the Scenes(August 2007 )

Mr. Deepan Thangavelu, Secretary of our college( Sri Shakthi Institute of Engg & Tech), came in contact with two Microsoft student partner leads, Siddharth Prakash and Mayur Tendulkar of pune user group and invited them to our college. They were very much interested and also planned to recruit few MSPs(Microsoft student partners) here.
This was for the first time ever, I came to know that there exist people known as Microsoft Student Partners. I guess not only me a lot of people in My College . As the date was fixed for the conference, our college started sorting out students for the interview to be conducted by MSP leads on the conference. The selection process was as usual, Written exam, Group discussion etc .After that more than 50 students were selected for the interview.
Day before the Conference Siddharth and Mayur spoke with our college students and were very much excited on observing our overwhelming response.

Student Developer Conference - 2007

Monday, December 1, 2008

BOKU - a new visual programming language

You all know how technology is developing faster. U will rarely find people not using the word 'Computers'. You wont wonder even if Kids of 5yr old use Computers. I ll give you an example, I saw a Computer when I was 10 yrs old and I started playing PC games only when I was 13 yrs old. But when I once played with my 8 yr old cousin he is far better then me. The only way we can console ourselves is by saying that they can only play games but not create one. As we all know we can do that easily using software like flash, XNA game studio and many more.
But guys, now we have got Competition here also.
Kids of just 10 yr old can also Create games !! Just imagine.
Microsoft on its latest Professional Developer Conference, announced that its going to release BOKU, a new visual programming language made specifically for creating games and designed to be accessible for children. Microsoft says that its programming environment runs on the Xbox, allowing rapid design iteration using only a game controller for input.
Its highly easy to create, as the programming part is by a user interface. In Xbox's case the Game controller Is enough (NOTE: No keyboard).The language is too simple and icon-based. Programs are composed of pages, which are broken down into rules, which are further divided into conditions and actions. Conditions are evaluated simultaneously. Programs are expressed in physical terms, using concepts like vision, hearing, and time to control character behavior provides an end-to-end creative environment for designing, building, and playing your own new games.

These are its following features:
• High level language incorporates real-world primitives: collision, color, vision
• Runs on Xbox 360 and PC
• Interactive terrain editor - create worlds of arbitrary shape and size
• Bridge and path builder
• 20 different characters with different abilities
• Built-in sharing and rating

So gaming freaks start working hard on XNA and gaming software because we have got Competition


Monday, November 17, 2008

This is our HINDU interview looooong back

Taking technology to the masses
Anasuya Menon


They will be updated on developments in technology
Interactive programmes to be organised

COIMBATORE: Abhishek Suresh and S. Arumugham, second year Information Technology and Computer Science Engineering, students from Sri Shakthi Institute of Engineering and Technology, have been selected by Microsoft as student partners.
Having joined the bandwagon of about 250 Microsoft Student Partners across the country, they aim to take technology to the masses. An unrelenting passion for technology helped them get through the selection process. The Microsoft Student Partner programme is an initiative to sponsor students who are interested in technology. The company delegates these student partners to take its products and latest technology to the larger student community in various engineering colleges in the city.
The student partners would be updated on the various developments in technology. “For instance, we would get to know which software is going to be released first, what are its applications and so on,” says Arumugham.
The tenure of a student partner is one year. However, depending on their performance, it could be extended. If they continue to perform well, they could become Microsoft Student Partner Leads, who has direct communication with Microsoft. They could then get an internship with the company which, might even lead to a job.
“But that’s not our goal. Being a student partner gives us a strong base in technology and strengthens our skills,” says Abhishek. “Technology is a very dynamic area. Something new crops up each day. We have the advantage of learning these developments first being student partners,” he adds.
User group
These student partners would form a user group and organise technical sessions for the members. The user group is not confined to engineering students alone. Anyone interested in technology can be part of it, professionals and even Arts and Science students who have an interest in technology can be its members.
Abhishek and Arumugham, however, plan to take Microsoft’s technology to school students too. “By organising interactive programmes such as quizzes on technology for school students, we want to make them aware of the latest trends and their applications,” Arumugham says.
Secretary of Sri Shakthi Institute of Engineering and Technology, T. Dheepan, says being Microsoft’s student ambassadors would improve their employability.
“The concept also fosters a sort of a network among students and improves the circulation of information,” he adds.
The Coimbatore Institute of Technology, PSG College of Technology and Amrita Institute of Technology also have Microsoft Student Partners.

I know u wont believe so check this link

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

The first event organized before being a MSP, 28 th Sep 2007

@Behind the Scenes
Technical Meet was the first conference that I organized after I got selected for Microsoft Student Partner program (but not recruited :)) on 28th Sept 2008. For this we had invited the Madurai .net user group MSPs Mr. Arun and Mr.Jebasingh who were in their final yrs. As there were a lot of conference been conducted in our college, we wanted a totally different kind of conference. So the days before the event we created different posters. We gained a lot of Experience by this conference.

@ Day before the event
The day before the event we invited all the first years and explained them about the event that was to happen the next day. We also gave a brief of Imagine cup, Microsoft, Student partner program and about our user group. The students were really excited and felt it different from the usual session.

@ Day of the Conference
Jebasingh and Arun were the key speakers on that day and most of the audience were from the 1st year(we consoled our self that we had done a good job :D ).
They spoke on Introduction to .net, Visual Studio 2008, Imagine cup, Silverlight and so on. As the audience were from 1st year they felt it was too techii. So they came with a very interactive quiz which made them back on track. They also should a lot of interactive videos which made them alive.
It was the first time we had organized an event ourselves which helped us a lot in gaining a lot of Experience.

Saturday, November 1, 2008

Tech Vista '08, Oct 1 2008@ Chennai

In your life there might be many memorable moments and events. At times you might have even felt that if you had missed that event it would have been one big blunder. Tech Vista 2008 is one such event which is in the Black box of my heart.
Tech Vista is Microsoft Research India’s annual Symposium for students, teaching fraternity and Scientist to interact and share their views. More than thousand of students and staff attend the symposium on Microsoft Research.
Tech Vista 2008 was held on 1st October 2008 at Chennai Convention Centre, Chennai. The event was organized by many student volunteers and Chennai Microsoft Student Partners. I came to know that this time there were more than 1400 participants.
As a Computer Science student I was very eager as Prof. John Hopcroft , Author of our Theory of Computation text book was the keynote speaker.

@Day Before the event :)
For this event we were supposed to pre - register a month before. Unfortunately due to our developer conference and mahendra college event we couldn't find time to register. We were trying to find some or the other way to participate, but all in vain. Then At last I would say "Microsoft Student partner program" to the rescue. We received an invitation mail from Microsoft on 29th Of September 2008 @ about 11:00 pm. Immediately I called up Abhishek, Sundar and Madan(Jyothi had already registered so I dint) whether they were interested in coming. After a long conversation we decided at about 1:00 am to go and planned to leave evening itself.

@ 1st October 2008, Chennai Convention centre:
It was huge and I haven't seen that big auditorium anywhere(As me and Sundar where the ones who searched the whole Coimbatore for finding an Auditorium for developer Conference).
Microsoft tech vista banners and hangouts were everywhere and all the way to The hall. There were tight checking and a very long queue for the registration. The auditorium itself was super cool and highly professional(obviously its Microsoft's event).

@ Morning Session:
Dr.P.Anandan started the event by introducing all the guests. He explained about the recent project undergone by Microsoft Research-India in colloboration with Department of Science and Technology (DST) , “India Digital Heritage Project” i.e. With the help of Photosynth to show the history and heritage of Srivilliputhur Andal temple . It was really nice to see how technology can be used to propagate Tourism. A group of people took all possible snaps in and around the temple and created it. Even the explanation of the deity with the help of videos was too cool.

The first session was by Prof. John Hopcroft, IBM Professor of Engineering and Applied Mathematics in Computer Science at Cornell University. Prof. Hopcroft has also been honored with the A.M. Turing Award.He is also the author of our "Theory of Computation" text book. He said that the book was his class notes in 1960s.
His lecture was on Computer Science in the Future. How to effectively use all the information available online and how it will improve over next few years. I liked his example of how we can plan our entire tour with the details available online. Like at time we always have the problem of flight delay or train delay. It usually happens due to the change in climatic condition or some unavoidable problems. But With the help of online resources we can find the climatic condition in that particular location where we wish to go and schedule accordingly.

The next one was Dr. Rick Szeliski, Group Lead, Interactive Visual Media Group, Microsoft Research. He was elected an IEEE fellow in 2004.
He spoke on Weaving the World's Photos. He explained us how the entire world can be modeled and visualized with the help of Massive Photo Collections. Guys who have seen the photosynth video already knew him because he and his team were the ones who released Photosynth and Hdview. He explained how exactly photosynth work and how it would help us in the future.

The next one was my favorite that made me tighten my seat belts (lol !). It was by Prof. Shafi Goldwasser , RSA Professor of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science at Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and of computer science and applied mathematics at Weizmann Institute of Science in Israel. Prof. Goldwasser has won Gödel Prize twice, first in 1993, and again in 2001.
She gave a lecture on Program Obfuscation and One-Time Programs. We all know that if we simply check the source code of any application that is password protected , we can easily crack the password . But if the Entire code is made difficult to understand then it might be difficult for anybody to crack the password, this is known as program obfuscation. I liked the way she explained the whole session. First she explained the threats in application that are password protected, then how it can be protected with help of program obfuscation, next the benefits of the software that obfuscate, next the problem faced when the software is used and at last the best solution for protection, i.e. to use both hardware and software for program obfuscation and also the use of a hardware key she called “Read Once Key” to support execution of any program in a predefined number of times only.

After that all the three of them were invited to the dias for Q and A session. Actually they had given all of us a paper where we were supposed to write questions. These papers were collected and given to the speakers. I liked this methodology as it reduces a lot of time.

@During Lunch

TechVista also featured a poster session where the best projects from computer sciences and electrical engineering by PhD students from India’s leading technical institutions were showcased and cash awards to the tune of Rs.2.25 lakhs were given out. So all the students who were undergoing PhD presented their projects.

@Afternoon Session
The afternoon session was kicked off by Dr. Rick Rashid , Senior Vice President, Microsoft Research. Dr. Rashid was awarded with the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers Emanuel R. Piore Award in 2008. He was inducted into the National Academy of Engineering and the American Academy of Arts & Sciences in 2003 and 2008 respectively.
His lecture was on Making an Impact, Microsoft Research. He spoke on the various fields and area were Microsoft is undergoing Research. After this everyone were dumbstruck as no one knew that Microsoft was involved in Research in those field were no one could ever imagine. Like he explained the research on Computation Biology for curing AIDS. He also explained BOKU (which I have posted earlier).

Prof. Shree Nayar , T. C. Chang Chaired Professor in the Department of Computer Science at Columbia University. He was elected to the National Academy of Engineering, the National Academies, Washington DC in 2008, and received the NTT Distinguished Scientific Achievement Award from the NTT Basic Research Laboratory, Japan, in 1994.
He spoke on Computational Cameras: Redefining the Image. The entire session with demos and the projects he worked was truly awesome. His explanation on direct light and general light was amazing. He explained with a demo, how direct light can help us find whether an object in original or duplicate.

The last one was by Dr. Vijay Chandru Chairman, Co-Founder Chief Executive Officer, Strand Life Sciences. He is an academic turned Entrepreneur. A Co-founder of Strand Life Sciences, a leading in silico life sciences company, he currently serves as Chairman & Chief Executive Officer of the company. He also co-founded the Association of Biotech led Enterprises (ABLE) and continues to serve as an executive council member. Dr. Chandru is the recipient of several awards and honors.
He spoke on Computational Biology and Vice Versa. He explained how Biology and Computation are inter-dependant. I tried to listen to the session as our HOD is currently undergoing his PhD in this field and thought of impressing him, but all in vain lolz. :D

@ After the event :D
I came to know that the company spends more than half of its profit for research and research is something that is really important for any companies or nations growth. I personally felt TechVista truly highlights the impact research has in various fields and also gave me a second thought of choosing research as a career. Choosing Research as a career not only helps you earn a lot but also gives you a satisfaction of achieving some thing in life.