Anuraag Singh is not just a revolutionary in the cybersecurity domain but a lauded personality who has gone beyond his profession to touch the lives of zillion people. He holds more than 21 years of dedicated experience in digital technology with core proficiency in cyber investigations and digital forensics. Back in 2007, he founded a digital technology company, SysTools which provided a platform to solve innumerable problems of the global users in matters pertaining to data recovery, cloud backup, migration, and digital forensics. The maven has always been keen to serve the nation in the best possible way.
With utmost sincerity and devotion, he ran his campaign for cyber awareness in numerous educational institutions, law enforcement agencies, corporations, defence forces, and governmental organizations. He is a recipient of several awards from police officials and governmental institutes for his commendable contribution made in forestalling cyber-crimes in India.
The IT professional has worked with the National Crime Records Bureau (New Delhi), BSES (New Delhi), Department of Income Tax (Bangalore), Narcotics Control Bureau (Bangalore), GST, and TDS Department (Bangalore), and Customs Airport & Air Cargo (Bangalore). Herein, we got the opportunity to interview Mr. Anuraag Singh and are more than happy to share the same with our readers.
1) Can you please provide us with an overview of your professional journey? Why did you choose cyber security as your career line?
Professional Journey: Currently, I am the Founder and Director of SysTools Software, a digital technology company. I’ve spent years dedicating my service to my country by employing my expertise in Cyber Security and Digital Forensics. As a software developer, I have created over 350 software programs under the SysTools brand to date. Analyzing various types of data is one of my favorite things to do.
I spend the majority of my efforts on simplifying technology. Now, my major area of focus is Data Forensics, Cloud Forensics, Message Forensics, and Email Forensics techniques. MailXaminer, a world-class email forensics software from SysTools, is one of the breakthrough developments we achieved in the Digital Forensics class. This software is the first one to satisfy the criteria to be termed as a complete Make in India Software application in Digital Forensics Domain.
Cyber Security as a Career: Technology, particularly the dark side of technology, has always piqued my curiosity. Cyber Security & Digital Forensics has always been fascinating prospect and compelling incentive to pursue a career in this field. As a long-time IT geek, I recognized that anything that employs ones and zeros has a cyber-security component to explore.
I love challenges, and in Cyber Security, there’s always a new puzzle that needs to be solved. Every individual should be concerned about cyber security. It has real-world implications that extend beyond the digital sphere. Along with picking it as my career path, I helped hundreds of IT professionals to pursue careers in the Cyber Forensics field, which I consider to be one of my proudest achievements.
2) What’s the best thing you like about your profession?
I believe in making an impact, and what is more exciting than having a positive impact on the lives of millions of computer users through data security and data management solutions. In my profession, one will be constantly acquiring new abilities and attempting to grasp new technologies. Learning new things, and bringing up new solutions make me alive and active. The best thing about my profession is, that every day is a new challenge, & it opens doors for new learning & development.
3) Would you like to throw light on the strategies you used to overcome the impediments in your profession if any?
Cyber Security as a serious career is not everyone’s cup of tea. The title of a Cyber Expert is not something that every technical graduate can achieve. To call yourself an expert, you need to dedicate a lot of passion and a lot of time to indulge in IT. When I began my career as a Cyber Professional, one of my priorities was to learn the anatomy of data. That decision aided me in learning more about DATA, and I am now capable of dealing with any type of data in any format. Everything in IT is linked to Data, either directly or indirectly. So, if you comprehend the Data, you’ve already solved half of the problem.
4) What are the skill sets required to ace the IT profession?
Data Analysis & Critical Thinking – These two are the first quality IT skill sets that you should procure to be a Cyber Expert. Coding, hardware deployment, and knowledge of computer infra, etc. will be definitely helping you to stay updated. But, if your data analysis skill is sharp enough, then it will be easy for you to acquire new heights in your IT profession.
5) Can you please provide a general track to tackle cyber-crimes?
When In Doubt, Do Not Click!
Cyber-attacks happen only if YOU allow them to enter your machine or network. With a few simple steps of keeping a close watch on what you allow on your system, you can avoid many cybercrimes from happening. Keeping your computer/software updated, securing your personal assets such as email, financial channels, and social media accounts, with strong passwords, keeping a close watch on data points where there are chances of data sharing, etc. can help you tackle cybercrimes to a great extent. Educating yourself about the current security breaches that happened to others can be the best way to keep yourself secure in Cyberworld.
6) How should the victims address the setbacks posed by the cyber attackers?
If the attack is at an organizational level, then the IT managers should perform the mentioned steps ASAP.
Limit the Damage: By isolating the compromised network or machine the impact of damage can be limited. To avoid the attack from spreading, the first step is isolation. Perform this step as fast as possible.
Survey the Incident: They need to perform an internal investigation to determine the impact on critical business functions. This procedure will help to identify the unknown security vulnerabilities & will help to draw the future improvement measures as well.
Maintain Proper Log: A detailed report of the affected system, compromised accounts, data, network damage, etc. should be collected and maintained.
Notify the Attack: The attack should be declared and informed to all those who are working under the same network.
Inform Cyber Cell: Reporting a cyber-attack is very important. It helps to keep a hope that the attackers can be arrested and also the police can avoid such incidents from happening again.
Learn from the Attack: Once a data breach or cyber-attack happens, the affected organization or person should learn from the experience and make sure, this would not happen again.
If the attack is on an individual, then also, similar steps should be performed. If financial fraud is the mode of attack, then informing the financial institution is one first step to perform. If the social media account is attacked, then informing all the contacts connected to that account is also important. Different attacks shall be addressed with different methodology. So, understanding the mode of attack is primary, and taking further steps with the help of experts can be helpful to tackle a cyber-attack effectively.
7) Any cyber safety tip(s) would you like to impart to social media users?
Always make sure to adjust the privacy settings & make sure whom you are connecting with. Be suspicious about anything and everything that is offered to you via social media. Let it be a link with exciting or threatening news, or a new friend request – always be suspicious before accepting or clicking.
8) How do you rate today’s technologies as compared to antiquated technologies- Is it a boon or bane in terms of their utility, easiness, safety, over-reliance, and source of distraction?
In my point of view, I agree with the fact that “Technology is neither good nor harmful; it is neither neutral nor indifferent.” It can be both revolutionary & destructive at the same time. I would like to rate technology based on how we use it. Internet relies deeply on a community of trust. If they are able to incorporate human rights protection into the advancement of today’s technology, it’s a 10 on 10. If they fail to maintain faith in humanity, then rating a disaster is actually a futile activity.
9) What’s the balanced approach that can be undertaken to ensure that we use technology and not the technology using us?
As the quote says, “We become what we behold. We shape our tools, and then our tools shape us”. Technology has altered everything we consume, including shopping, reading, music, television, news, and data. We are now addicted to using everything in a format that we can easily consume; we want to alter and adjust it to our needs. This behavior of allowing alteration to match our convenience creates larger chances of technology using us, rather than we use technology.
No doubt, technology is enabling everyone to act more smartly, but in the race to grab this extraordinary opportunity, make sure to be conscious of the consequences also. If we are aware of the threats of unemployment to financial fraud that technology can bring in, we may be able to balance the concept of being used by technology and making use of technology.
10) What are your views on incorporating changes to the current legal system in the context of cyber-crimes?
In 2008, the Information Technology Act of 2000 was updated. Since there are new and undiscovered cyber-offenses for which the law needs to stretch its arms and tighten its grip, there are still significant loopholes in the IT Act of 2008. Cybercrime can originate anywhere on the globe and go across national borders via the internet, complicating both the technological and legal aspects of detecting and prosecuting these crimes. To combat cybercrime, collaborative efforts, coordination, and cooperation should be taken globally.
According to the advancement in hacking and data breach practices formulated by Cybercriminals, timely updates in the legal systems also should be made. Criminals will never stop if they are not punished for their actions. So, we should update our systems as well as legal framework in-order to compact cyber-attacks.