(salaam..me thinks Indians are nerds
The Youngest Ethical Hacker in India
By Syed Sujeel Ahmed
Software Engineer - India
Hackers and Crackers
Sahil Khan made the dignitary proud by launching his first book on hacking titled ‘Hackers and Crackers’.
Anyone who surfs the internet or chats over a messenger program has probably experienced a virus or chatterbot attack of one form or another. As a result either their messenger logs off or they are faced with unwanted annoying messages popping up every now and then.
Before becoming a whiz kid, Sahil Khan had faced a similar situation when he was trying to chat with his father who was away from home in Mumbai. Instead of becoming frustrated, he used the situation as an opportunity to experiment and fiddle around with the applications on his computer, and succeeded in keeping the malware out.
His juggling techniques soon took him to the pinnacle of ethical hacking, ultimately making him one of the youngest ethical hackers in India. At the tender age of 13, he even launched his first book on hacking. But his young age is not the only thing that makes this teenager an extraordinary achiever.
From Modest Background
Sahil Khan, now a 16-year-old, comes from a lower middle class Muslim family that resides in the Kasab Pura area of Sadar Bazar, Delhi. His father, Suleman Khan is a Hakeem (Unani medicine practitioner) and runs a clinic on Mumbai's crowded Mohammad Ali road. His mother, a home maker, also tutors primary school students to make ends meet.
His voyage into the world of computers began at the remarkable age of eight. When he was still in the second grade of the New Sun Public School in Delhi, he delivered an impressive speech on computers on the eve of India's Independence Day celebrations. He was applauded by Mr. Harun Yousuf, the Delhi Minister of Food and Civil Supplies who declared, "this boy will do wonders in the world of computers."
Nearly five years later, he made the dignitary proud by proving his words right and launched his first book on hacking titled Hackers and Crackers published by ABC Press, New Delhi and released by Kapil Sibbal, the Indian Union Minister of Science and Technology.
During the same year, he also developed nine Windows-based computer games using C and C++ programming languages, which he made available over the internet as freeware. Among the games he developed are War Planes, Car Racing and Click on Ball.
What's even more amazing is the fact that this whiz kid is self taught and has never taken a computer class. Khan gained his knowledge of computers through reference books and he also applies some of his own techniques.
After the success of his first edition, Khan went on to publish a second edition of Hackers and Crackers as well as The Anatomy of Computer Viruses, which were released by Renuka Choudhary, the Indian Minister of State for Women and Child Development and Sheela Dixit, the Chief Minister of Delhi respectively.
Hacker or Cracker?
The word 'hacker' has often been misinterpreted and whenever we refer to someone as a hacker it gives the impression that he/she is a cyber criminal.
Khan says that the word 'hacker' has often been misinterpreted and whenever we refer to someone as a hacker it gives the impression that the person is a cyber criminal. He argued that the appropriate word for such a person would be 'cracker' and added that, "the term 'hacker' should refer to a computer professional who is [an] expert in a kind of computer security."
When asked whether he found any issues with the Windows operating system, he enthusiastically said that there was a lot of space for improvement in Windows, particularly in its registry. He also opines that the turn-off time of a PC can be remarkably lowered.
Giving a word of advice to the Indian government on India's cyber threats, Khan says, "India's cyber network is very weak and vulnerable to frequent attacks. We must induct ethical hackers or white hat hackers into the core team of the advisory committee."
He went on to say that, "Ethical hackers can effectively check the moves of crackers (better) than any other security expert."
Khan presents a weekly television show, as a cyber expert, on the Indian channel 'Pragya TV'. After authoring his first book at the age of 13, Khan has dethroned Ankit Fadia, another ethical hacker who had authored a book on hacking at the age of 16, from the number one position of youngest hackers of India.
According to Narendra Verma, the chairman of Diamond Publishers, over 10,000 copies of Hackers and Crackers have been sold till date. "Sahil's books are also available in the UK in India Book Shelf and in the US in A-1 Book Shop," adds Verma.
International readers can also purchase the books over the internet through the publisher's web site. Currently, Khan is set to launch his fourth book titled Tricks of Email Hacking. The book is expected to be launched this month.
When asked what was behind his achievements at such a young age, he mused, "I believe every child is special, and needs to do hard work and use [the] maximum percentage of brain to achieve something special."
Khan is a practicing Muslim whose day begins with the morning-prayer (Salatul Fajr). He says, "Without divine help I am nothing." He also gives credit of his success to his mother who has always supported and guided him.
Syed Sujeel Ahmed is a Software Engineer for a multinational IT company in Hyderabad, India. You can contact him by sending an e-mail to ScienceTech@iolteam.com