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INTERVIEW

Know about the myths of Hacker from Professional Penetration Tester Abartan Dhakal

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abartan dhakal

Abartan Dhakal is the Professional Penetration tester currently working in Sydney Australia. He had been there for 1.5 years, actively pursuing his career in the Security community.

As he is related to the cyber securities and currently working in the penetration testing field, we interviewed him about some myths of hacking, cybersecurity, and penetration testing. He also shared his thoughts about recent data breaching incidents and suggested the preventive measures to remain safe online. Let’s know him from his own words;

Interview with Professional Penetration Tester Abartan Dhakal

1. Tell us something about you, your career, and your journey till date.

I am Abartan Dhakal from Nepalgunj but currently studying and working in Sydney, Australia. I have been working as a professional penetration tester in one of the companies in Sydney, for over 1.5years.

I have been active in the security community and freelance work for over 3 years. It’s been a good journey so far since the day I started in this field and managed to be a self trainer security specialist. I had got some good help from some of our Nepalese security community members and international security community members in order to be what I am today.

2. What are the myths of the hacker? Is hacking a good or bad thing?

People, when they hear the word hacker, tend to have some myths that they are the bad guys who want to hack for fun, using some fancy colored terminal in their computer, wearing a hoodie, and hacking from the darkroom. But this is not the case.

People, when they hear the word hacker, tend to have some myths that they are the bad guys who want to hack for fun, using some fancy colored terminal.

We hackers are living together in the light, are good, and trying to help secure different companies and organizations from bad hackers. Some wear normal casual dresses to official suits. You can find hackers in different age groups, skills, and industries who are also working for the good. In my view, hacking itself is neither good nor bad.

I can’t really say if hacking is a good or a bad thing.

Hacking is just a skill and it is up to the user who gains these skills to either make it bad or good. It is the same as other skills like martial arts or anything, you name it. Either you use the martial arts for your defense or for offense, it solely depends upon the user itself. So I can’t really say if hacking is a good or a bad thing.

3. What’s the preventive measure for hacking?

Hackers are always been trying to find newer ways to hack into the latest technologies and assets with the development of it. So there’s no concrete way to totally prevent being hacked but there are a few ways you could minimize the risk of getting hacked.

  • Never click or download anything from the internet if the source is not legit.
  • Do not open or download any attachment from the emails from unknown sources.
  • Make sure to properly use and update your antivirus software, operating systems, and all other devices.
  • Do not use the same password on multiple websites. You could try using password managers in order to generate and manage unique passwords for each individual service.
  • Try not to use public WIFI for performing sensitive operations like internet banking, use social media, etc.
  • Do not share your passwords with anyone and change it regularly (like in every 3months or so)

4. What is Penetration testing? Why is it needed?

Penetration testing in common terms is the company trying to get to know their current security posture in its assets. This is achieved by testing for the vulnerabilities (security loopholes) in the system that is in the scope of testing.

It helps to minimize the risk of getting a breach from the specific assets that are being penetration tested since companies can patch the vulnerabilities (close the gaps) after they receive the report.

5. What are your thoughts regarding current data breach incidents in the world?

It seems like companies are still neglecting some parts of their asset or lack proper security awareness within their organization which has led to most of the breaches.

Companies are still neglecting some parts of their asset.

It also looks like they have not taken care of the security much seriously which in turn turned out to be the reason for breach via exploitation of vulnerabilities that have been there for ages.

6. You are also a penetration tester. What are your best and worst experiences?

My worst experience was trying to educate one of the clients of why they should do a proper penetration test and I was having a hard time trying to convince them while there have been really good experiences.

I managed to learn a lot of new things and been seeing a really good boost in the Nepalese security space that more and more people are learning to be a hacker.

7. What do you think about the difference in penetration testing in Nepal and other countries?

The major difference I found between Nepal and other countries is that many foreign companies are trying to invest in their security while still most of the Nepalese companies do not want to invest in their security. Though this scene is being slowly changed and Nepalese companies are also trying to focus on their security.

Most of the Nepalese companies do not want to invest in their security.

Something I believe is that they should collaborate more with the Nepalese security community members so that they could get the benefits of it and at the same time our infosec community also gets benefits out of them. This could help creating more better manpower as more people will be interested to learn to be a security professional while the companies would be more secure and can utilise the local resources

8. Your last few words

Thank you very much for having me. The above-mentioned things were just from my perspective and it could’ve changed significantly as it been a while since I left Nepal. If anyone wants to reach out to me, I can be reached on Twitter (@imhaxormad) or Facebook (@abartandhakal).

Thank you Abartan from ICTByte for his kind words and lots of appreciation for sharing his thoughts with us.

For more such Interviews and tech, updates keep following ICTByte on TwitterFacebook, and Viber.

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Sumi is the Content Manager of ICT BYTE. She is a tech enthusiast with lots of dreams and aspirations in life. She believes in the power of positive thinking for success and a happy life.

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EVENTS

KU Hackfest 2022 | 36-hour Long International Digital-first Hybrid Hackathon

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ICT BYTE had some short chitchat with organizer of KU Hackfest 2022. Here is what you need to know

1. What actually is KU HackFest and why should one participate?

KU HackFest 2022 is a 36-hour long international digital-first hybrid hackathon that is being organised by Kathmandu University Computer Club from 5th till 7th August 2022, where more than 300 students will be participating through physical and virtual meetups. KU HackFest 2022 envisions bringing creative minds together to collaboratively create something that can spark a change in the future of technology. It is the best platform to showcase one’s coding skills, build impactful technological solutions and also win amazing gifts, prizes, swags, and cash rewards. Participants will gain tremendous skills and experiences in new technology, teamwork, and brainstorming solution-oriented innovative concepts along with proper mentorship and guidance.

2. What is the procedure for participants?  

First of all, you have to register for the event. The registration process is super easy! We have partnered with Devfolio, which is the one-stop platform you’ll use throughout the hackathon, from registration up until the project submission. If you already have a team, make sure you and each of your team members apply. 

Once registered, each team will have 36 hours to prepare a project relevant to at least one track in our Hackfest. Participants must build something that portrays their idea in the form of a Minimum Viable Product. The product built must communicate clearly the vision of the team and it must be relevant to at least one primary track. All submissions are to be made within the given deadline on the day of the Hackfest. Participants must also make and submit a short demonstration video of their project. The maximum length allowed for this video is 3 minutes.

In between the event, if participants encounter a challenge that they aren’t able to solve, they can take help from mentors through an ask-mentor ticket as well.

3. Do you have any messages to your sponsors? Why should this event be sponsored?  

We are a group of young enthusiasts organising a huge event on a global scale. For this, we need a lot of support in various forms, which we are seeking from the sponsors. Our last program was a huge success with 613 participants from 29 different countries worldwide submitting a total of 58 projects. We can assure you that we will advertise your company with banners and also market your company and brand to all the attendees at the event. There is a detailed document for sponsors which you can find here.

4. What is the plan after this event? What will be the outcome?  

After this event follows another event, IT Meet which will bring tech-enthusiasts from around the globe together for a change. An exchange of ideas could bring a massive upliftment in technology. Being able to work on challenges, explore creative outlets, collaborate with a community, take networking, learn new skills, meet great people and win cash prizes and swags are a few things that this hackfest helps you achieve. Young aspiring technology enthusiasts would learn a lot of things that could help them till the end of their journey in tech. People sharing similar interests get to connect through this event and the networking gets strong.

5. Some more words from the Organiser

The organiser believes that this is the opportunity no one should miss out on. This event equips you with the powerful skills and proper guidance that can be helpful for the rest of your life. You should give KU HackFest a chance if you are waiting for something to awaken the tech-bee inside you.

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INTERVIEW

Hult Prize at KUSOM | Interview with Campus Director Sadikshya Pandeya

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Kathmandu University School of Management (KUSOM) is the best business school in all B-Schools ratings in Nepal. With a motto of ‘Ahead in Management’ KUSOM is leading the way in Management, setting quality standards and innovative trends for other business schools and providing high quality managerial, and entrepreneurial graduates every year.

Sadikshya Pandeya is the Campus Director of Hult Prize at KUSOM 2022, studying in 7th Sem, BBA Hons with finance specialization in KUSOM.

ICT BYTE had a quick conversation with Pandeya and here is its summary.

What is the main objective behind this year’s challenge “Getting the world back to work”?

The pandemic has hit us hard in every possible way. The data of the World of Work & Covid-19 even reveals that, as of January 2021, the world has faced 255 million job losses and more than 1.6 billion informal economy workers were also significantly affected. So, as so many people are currently struggling, it’s high time for us to Get the World Back to Work.

So, highlighting the necessity and addressing the SDG (Goal 8): Decent Work and Economic Growth, the Hult Prize Foundation came up with the challenge of “Getting the World Back to Work ” where the participants have to build a business idea that will employ at least 2000 people by 2024 while creating a positive impact on the world. And the word positive impact here is tied to the revenue of the business. Like, if you make more money from the business, you will have a greater impact. 

What is the main focus area that will be judged in the business idea of the participants?

The team presenting will basically be judged on the basis of identification of a real problem and the viable solution to the problem that will answer this year’s Call to Action of “Getting the world back to work”.  Further, the judges will be basing their decisions on the level of impact of the team’s business idea. And as said, the impact should be positive which means the existence of the business should benefit the employees and society at large.

Although we were planning to organise the Oncampus program in a hybrid-mode, with the traces of pandemic still hovering, we again opt. out for the virtual events. The event management team of Hult Prize at KUSOM 2022 have prepared a proper timeline of the event up to the On-campus Finals, and we would be moving accordingly. Apart from the orientation sessions, and the Briefing sessions for the Organizing Committee, the Hult Prize has KUSOM has also recently concluded the Info sessions in respective 5 schools, and the grand webinar on ‘The Entrepreneur in You’ in a virtual mode.

Is there any alternative plan created by the organizing committee for the participants if they are tested positive for covid-19 during the duration of the event?

As we are moving with virtual mode, I don’t think we will necessarily have to face this. But staying on a safe side, we will be contacting the registered team time and again for updates, if any such issues are to be found in any of the team members from the team of 4, the other 3 members of the team can handle it well as the minimum requirement for the team to be registered is to have 3 members and the max. 4 in their team. In case of the teams having 3 members, if one faces such issues, then the team themselves can opt.out for the alternative team member as a replacement of the member. 

And for those who really want to participate but do not have a team, the Hult Prize at KUSOM will soon roll out the registration form for the individual participants, and we will be forming the teams out of the individual participants.

How has the budget for the event been allocated and managed in comparison with the previous year event?

The very first thing I would like to highlight is, previously, our former CDs were titled under Hult Prize at KU and from this year onwards, to ease the participants, we are having the Hult Prize KU, Dhulikhel and the Hult Prize KU, School of Management (KUSOM) as two different Oncampus Programs.

Moreover, compared to the previous year’s Oncampus program, this year our team has come up with many virtual events, like Quizizz, workshops, webinars to keep up the zeal of the participants and to facilitate their personal & professional growth after joining the Hult Prize at KUSOM.

We have partnered with many organizations for the event, and for now we are really seeking sponsors. Our team has been constantly trying to reach out to different houses looking for sponsors. So, right after the sponsorships, the team will be segregating the budget in terms of recurring costs and emergency funds for the events.

What are you struggling most with planning a virtual event?

Apart from missing the fun of meeting new people and emotionally connecting with them, I don’t think I really had to struggle with virtual events. It has actually facilitated me with strong networking and connections. Talking about the events then, definitely, the technical issues come first in the list but the solutions to it are quite handy.

What are your expectations for the projects from the participants this year?

15 teams have already registered for the On-campus program at Hult Prize at KUSOM, still hoping for more. For now, I expect the teams of Hult Prize at KUSOM 2022, to come up with realistic business ideas that they could actually work on and create a high impact for themselves and the societies. Other than that, we will be guiding the teams to their vision, with the impact-focused events, training, workshops and for that, I suggest every participating team keep an eye out for it and don’t miss any chance to be part of every event we organize and keep on maintaining the zeal to change the world around them.

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EVENTS

Career Kickstart 2022 by Internzilla | Here is what Organizer, Internzilla says to you.

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Internzilla is a completely new startup, and in its borning phase, it is organizing an event. The event is named “Career Kickstart 2022” which will obviously of extremely useful for the students.

ICTBYTE talked with the team Internzilla, with Prashant Pandey; co-founder and CEO , Sujan Parajuli: co-founder and CTO , Sewak Gautam; co-founder and MD. Here is what they say about the event and Internzilla.

1. What is “Career Kickstart 2022”?

Career Kickstart 2022 is a three-day virtual event geared towards students. Throughout our event, we aim to help students develop a deeper understanding of job markets and career opportunities in the real world. Our goal is to provide students who attend the event with career advice, tips, and mentorship in order to help them grow professionally.

2. Why do you feel such types of events need to be organized?

Having expert guidance and mentorship is vital for a successful career in technology. College students often struggle with imposter syndrome and other issues, which makes learning more difficult. Students going through those issues will greatly benefit from events of this type, as they will be able to explore different career options, get guidance from experts, and meet other students with similar interests. 

3. How is Career Kickstart 2022 different from other similar types of events?

The career helper events are organized by various organizations and companies, but they usually only address a specific issue or target a certain segment of the student having a certain interest. During Career Kickstart 2022, there will be several sessions on topics that you find very important in helping you grow as a student. We will also cover several career opportunities in panels led by professionals from the field. A fortunate few will also receive gifts from our gift partner.

4. Who and how can people participate here? Why should they join the event?

Every student currently enrolled in a +2 or Bachelor’s level program is invited to Career Kickstart 2022. Additionally, dropouts and career changers looking to enter the tech and entrepreneurship fields can also participate. To take part, students simply need to fill out the registration form that is available on our Facebook Page

Because experts will be providing advice and sharing their experiences at this event, I am confident that the event will be extremely useful for all participants. If you’re someone who is interested in achieving something significant in the future, don’t miss this event.

5. Will you tell something on the organizer “Internzilla ?”

InternZilla is a startup founded by students for students. In InternZilla, we try to solve problems students face in their college years and after they graduate. As of now, InternZilla is still in development, and we will soon launch our platform.

6. Why is Internzilla for?

As I said previously, InternZilla is for students. Our goal at InternZilla is to act as a bridge between companies and students by connecting them with internships and jobs they will love. However, InternZilla is more than just a job and internship platform; we’re trying to be an online buddy for students who are want to succeed in their careers.

7. Who are involved in your events and who are supporting you?

Organizing this event is made possible by our event partners. Without our event partners, organizing this event would not have been possible. TCM security, a leading cybersecurity company from the United States is supporting Career Kickstart 2022 as a gift partner. Itahari International College is also supporting us as an education partner. As well, other numbers of other companies and communities like CryptoGen Nepal,  EventsNp, Tech Sathi, NxtGen, LanceMeUp, Nepdev, Pentester Nepal, and StreamersAlerts are supporting Career Kickstart 2022 in various ways.

8. Anything you need to add on last?

First of all, I and my team want to thank the ICT Byte team for their support as a news partner of our event. I would also like to extend an invitation to all students reading this interview on ICT Bytes to apply for Career Kickstart 2022. Lastly, stay safe from the Omicron virus.

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