Saturday, October 24, 2009

Combating cyber crimes - A workshop by Cyber Society

Cyber Society of India held an one-day workshop at Chennai on 23rd October 2009 on "Combating Cyber Crimes in financial transactions and the role of Standards". The workshop was inaugurated by Mr T S Krishnamoorthy, former Chief Election Commissioner of India. Please read the proceedings below and watch the photographs.

Report by V Rajendran, Secretary, CySI

Proceedings of the CySI Workshop on "Combating Cyber Crimes in financial transactions and the role of Standards" - on 23-10-09, at Hotel Savera .

The meeting started with a welcome address by Chairman Shri R. Ramamurthy. He gave an introduction of CySI’s activities and a brief account of CySI’s commitment in spreading awareness on Cyber Crimes and related areas. Talking from his past experience of participating in international conferences on Cyber Crimes, he narrated the various crime-prone areas and the tasks ahead for citizens, investigators, governments and finally the NGOs.
The Chief Guest of the workshop Shri T.S. Krishnamurthy was introduced by Shri K. Srinivsan, CEO Prime Point Foundation and a founder-life member of CySI. While introducing, he narrated the tremendous contribution of Shri TSK in his role as Chief Election Commissioner, when for the first time, the country went on a 100% EVM-based elections.
Mr T S Krishnamoorthy
Shri T. S. Krishnamurthy former Chief Election Commissioner, inaugurated the workshop. In his inaugural address, he briefly discussed the cyber crime scenario in the country. He narrated the various vulnerable areas in computers and stressed the need for increasing awareness on the use of computers, its fraud-prone areas. He wondered how even educated people fall an innocent prey to computer crimes falling victims to greed for money. He presented the modus operandi in Nigerian Crimes, credit card frauds etc. and finally lauded the efforts of CySI and assured to be closely associated with the activities of CySI in all its socio-academic activities in future.
Mr C L Ramakrishnan
Shri A Vijayakumar Life Member of CySI introduced Shri C.L. Ramakrishnan, former DGP adding that as a former DGP and a former DVAC, he has rendered memorable service in the police force, which is worthy of emulation for any police official. He added that Shri CLR enrolled for and completed his Ph.D. in Vedanta after his retirement.
Shri C.L. Ramakrishnan, delivering the key-note address stressed the relevance of I.T. Act, the circumstances under which the Act was passed and its use in investigation. Drawing from his experience as a top police official of the State, he said the basic urge to commit any fraud is greed and lust for some thing that do not belong to the individual. He said that only the modes of committing the crime vary in a cyber crime and it is basically an electronic variant of normal crime only. He jocularly added that in a cyber crime, it is sometimes easy to commit and difficult to detect, whereas a normal and physical crime is difficult to commit and easy to detect. He highlighted the efforts of the police in nabbing a cyber criminal and the special tasks that it normally involves.
Mr V Rajendran
After the tea break, Shri V Rajendran Secretary of Cyber Society of India and a practicing Cyber Law Advocate and Consultant presented the various cyber crimes reported and the role and relevance of I.T. Act 2000 and the amendment Act 2008. He presented some of the most important sections of the Act and compared it with the significant provisions of I.P.C. which bear relevance in the I,T. scenario. He presented how effective the Act has been, over the past years and the significance of the 2008 amendments.
Mr N R Krishnakumar
Shri N.R. Krishnamukar Regional Director of DNV, the main sponsors of the event gave a very rich presentation. He described the best practices in the industry to combat cyber crime and the usefulness of ISO 27001 standards and 27002 standards. He discussed the requirements of such standards and highlighted the importance of putting these into practice and going for the appropriate certification adding that expenditure on adherence to best practices and standards is like expenditure spent on a life-jacket or a fire-extinguisher and that the return on such expenditure should never be calculated in simple terms.
Dr B Muthukumaran
After the lunch break, Dr B. Muthukumaran Chief Security Consultant of Gemini Communications Ltd presented the security aspects in a typically networked environment stressing upon the need for having sound systems like anti-virus, fire-wall with intrusion prevention and intrusion detection. He gave a demo in the form of video clipping of a typical scenario describing the features of good security practices in a corporate organization. He urged upon the corporates and security heads present to understand the requirements of a sound security policy in the organisation.
Mr S N Ravichandran
Shri S.N. Ravichandran, from CySI Coimbatore gave a simple interesting and user-friendly talk on the various cyber crime cases being reported to the police every day. He explained the practical difficulties in investigating a cyber crime. He stressed the importance of parental care and monitoring when the children browse the net. He also explained how many vital cases go un-reported and how many ISPs and Banks handle such issues without proper care that they deserve, like opening an account without address verification in a Bank, giving a mobile with an id proof etc.
Mr M L Srinivasan
Shri M.L. Srinivasan started his rich presentation commenting about the meaning of the words, threats, vulnerabilities and risks. He described the practical implications of risks in an enterprise and described what is popularly called a bot and botnet. He gave pictorial representations of how a computer system gets affected by a bot and how it acts as a zombie invariably without the knowledge of the rightful owner of the PC. He gave useful tips on how to guard against such threats for a home user as well as for a corporate user.
Interaction session
Participants gave a wonderful feed-back introducing one after another. Participants from banks commented that more sessions could have been included on topics concerning cyber crime areas in financial transactions especially in banking. Almost everyone praised the way the workshop was conducted sticking to the time schedule and giving a good coverage of all the areas planned for.
There was a very good interactive session with participants posing questions on the various areas covered by the speakers right from mobile frauds, credit card frauds, phising, guarding against id theft etc
Shri U.P. Prakasham Treasurer of CySI summed up the entire proceedings of the day in a very brief and crisp manner narrating the highlights of every session. He proposed vote of thanks thanking everyone for the successful conduct of the programme and every participant for the valuable contribution in the interactive and other sessions.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Public Sector PR forum event at Chennai

Public Sector Public Relations Forum, Tamilnadu organised a meeting on 20th October 2009 at Chennai. Dr T V Somanathan IAS (Secretary to Government of Tamilnadu and Managing Director of Chennai Metro Rail Limited) made a wonderful presentation on the proposed Chennai Metro Rail project.
Dr Somanathan, holds a Ph.D in Economics. He is a qualified Chartered Accoutant, Cost Accountant and a Company Secretary. He is a student of Harvard Business School. 1987 batch IAS officer, Dr Somanathan stood second at all india level in the IAS and also won the Gold Medal as the best probationer of his batch.
Dr Somanathan explained the details of Chennai Metro Rail project. The cost of project is estimated at Rs.14,600 crores, besides the cost of acquisition of lands which is etimated at around Rs.1,900 croroes. 45 KM metro line, when completed in 2014 or 2015 will be the fourth largest metro rail project in the world. This project will be completed in two phases.
Presently, Chennai has around 28 lakhs of vehicle population (1.4 laksh in 1984) and is growing at 14% annually. Chennai city is one of the oldest cities of the country with narrow roads. Due to the economic growth, the traffic is increassing in large number. Presently, the electric suburb trains transport around 8 lakhs of passengers every day, while MRTS transport nearly 90,000 passengers. The city buses transport around 48 lakhs of passengers. When Metro Rail project is completed, it may likely to transport around 8 lakhs of passengers every day.
Dr Somanathan explained various challenges that this project may face, like land acquisition, traffic management, shifting of existing utility services and also co-ordination with other projects, etc. He was also explaining as to how they propose to meet the challenges to minimise the inconvenience to the general public and to complete the projects in time.
Dr Somanathan said that when the Metro Rail projects gets completed, it would help the chennai citizens greatly. However, he appealed to the people to bear with the inconvenience caused to them during the project works. For nearly one to two years, the Chennai citizens may suffer inconvenience in the traffic, as if 35 fly-overs are being constructed simultaneously. However, they are working out so meticulously, to minimise the inconvenience to the people.
Let us all pray Almighty for save and successful implementation of the Metro Rail project at Chennai. On behalf of the citizens, we should also extend maximum cooperation and understanding with the project officials for smooth and safe implementation.

Tuesday, October 06, 2009

Presentation and Public speaking skills - Workshop

Normally, whenever, we think of Co-operative Banks, we assume to be old dilapidated buildings with improper maintenance. But, I was pleasantly surprised to see the Agricultural Co-operative Staff Training Institute (ACSTI) at Madhavaram, in the outskirts of Chennai. I had the opportunity of visiting the Institute on 6th October 2009 to conduct half-a-day workshop on "Presentation and Public speaking skills" for their trainees.

This Institute is managed and run by Tamilnadu State Apex Co-operative Bank Limited. The Institute situated in 5 acre natural green environment provides a conducive atmosphere for training. The dining hall, hostel rooms, class rooms and conference halls fitted with modern gadgets, library, etc. give the look of corporate training centre. They provide all types of training from freshers to senior level management executives on banking. Very unfortunately, they are not known outside.
I wondered when I was invited by Mr Manohar, Principal of the Institute to conduct a half-a-day workshop on 'Presentation and Public speaking skills' for their trainees. Probably this is the first time, this Institute had thought of inclusion of this workshop in the regular training schedule. Even when the Nationalised Public Sector Banks and Corporate giants have not thought of exposing heir employees for the much needed presentation skills, this Institute had pro-actively planned to prepare their trainees to face the competition from the public and private sector banks.
Around 50 trainees participated in this workshop. The purpose of this workshop was to create confidence amongst the trainees for presentation skills. After 45 minutes of introductory session, I asked a few participants to talk on theme of their choice for 5 minutes. Some people were asked to speak extempore. All the speeches of the participants were recorded in video and later played and reviewed. Surprisingly, many of the trainees, who had expressed 'stage fear', 'lack of fluency'. 'lack of confidence', etc. have all done well, belying their own apprehensions. Ultimately, this exercise has proved that people had only false fear or apprehension about themselves without any base and when they were given an opportunity they performed better.
Public Sector and Private Sector organisations should take cue from this little known 'Co-operative Training Institute' to train their own employees.

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