I promised a friend that I would write about him and his company in my blog, not because of compulsion but because I really have become a fan of his work. I now there are not many hits on my blog (2145 at last count), but I wanted to tell my readers that there are people in India itself who are working hard to fight cybercrime and keep us safe from its malicious results.
Just before my small post, I want to highlight your attention to phishing. It's derived from "fishing", where fake users try to access your personal information by masquerading as a trustworthy entity. It can be through email, or though fake sites, or even through IM (remember that virus on Gtalk, it may well be a phishing site also). Some of them are really sneaky. And they don't always come as those emails from Nigeria, asking for your bank account details to transfer exorbiant sums of money. They also come in smaller packages. I will give you two examples that will certainly startle you (if the links still work).
1. Fake Orkut Link - This link will look exactly like a Orkut link. It is so similar that you may not even bother to read the IP address that is on the top of the page.
2. Fake Axis Bank Link - This link may now be removed, but it was such a neat forgery, that even I was completely fooled!
Just a few tips to avoid phishing sites in general:
1. Look for "https" while logging into any bank/online transaction site. All banks have to go through the secure mode when they are doing any online transactions. In case you do not have a "https", then you can be sure that this link is a phishing link.
2. You must have got plenty of those Nigerian Scam emails. Read them carefully. You can see at least 2-3 spelling mistakes in such mails. Make sure that even the grammar is correct. If not, then you can atleast doubt the authenticity of such a site.
3. The link will have a IP address that starts with a number - like 172. or 211. or any number. If a number is involved, it must certainly not be a secure link, because online security links do not start with numbers.
4. A genuine email will greet you with your own name like "Dear Varun Reddy" or "Dear Pavan". It will usually not start with a general note like "Dear Account holder" or "Dear User" or "Dear nitk.varun". If it starts with any similar greetings, be assured that is a possible phishing attempt.
5. Google for it! In case you are not sure of the link is authentic, google for the correct link and you shall get it! As simple as that!
Now to the real deal. I want to mention a bit about my friend Pavan Vasu and his website www.matriux.com. We were introduced online through a common friend Abhishek (yes, my junior from NIT KKR, who is a fantastic quizzer!). I have become a fan of his work in the recent days, owing to his website and my fascination for cyber-crimes (reading about them, not committing them).
More about him and the website. Pavan is one of the founders of matriux. One of the co-founders is Manu Zacharia, who is working with Kerala police. Now the team consists of many more members. The idea for matriux idea started more than a year and a half ago and got registered a year ago. Till they incorporated a workplace, they were new and hence were mostly freelance consultants (in other words script kiddies). But after they became a corporation, they have worked hard for projects. Their concept, along with a few recommendations, helped them get some really cool cases (including the recent terror attacks in Mumbai and other parts of India, where they traced the email id of the perpetrators).
According to Pavan, whenever they deliver a seminar, they used to reveal some hidden or unknown secret that was not well known in industry. Such revelations caught the eye of their potential clients (just like a kid attracted to a magic show!). One of the potential clients was the CBI. But as Pavan himself said, getting new magic tricks in a world having very few magicians is not so easy. So along with this investigation consultancy, they expanded themselves into content development, and that's what Matriux is all about.
More about Matriux: Matriux is an operating system developed in Linux flavour. So far, there was no common platform for investigators or agencies to share information among themselves. Matriux is designed to be a common platform with common terminology. People will use matriux simply because it is the first of its kind!
Matriux is open-source and free of cost. Hackers use secret softwares for their so-called "hacking" work. But when everyone uses the same softwares for playing pranks, there is no hacker any more and all of them are script kiddies.
How do they sustain themselves? Most of then were supported with funds and investments that they have plus their earnings in consultancy work. But nealry half of the 114 involved with Matriux (and numbers are rising) came voluntarily saying that they would help out, whatever may be the work. Their cool logo, believe it or not, was designed by a 10th class student!
And finally, in the words of Pavan himself, "Matriux is not only an operating system; It is a phenomenon that aims to target all of us."
I'm a good guy who ends up saying the wrong thing at the wrong place at the wrong time to the right person!!!
I'm the kind of guy who loves to enjoy his life and do what I love to do best - Study and Quiz....