It was November 12th, 2014 and we had flown from the USA to India, a couple of day earlier, and were now flying from Chennai to Delhi which was a short flight. Once we arrived in Delhi, the organizers of the conference had arranged for a car to pick us up from the airport to take us to the really cool hotel, called The Ashok. When we got to the hotel, my dad asked to see if the room was ready but they could not find the reservation. This was because the room was booked in my name and not in my dad’s name, which I thought was really cool. I was invited to deliver a keynote address in the Ground Zero InfoSec Summit 2014, in New Delhi, India on Children’s Day (November 14th, 2014).
Once we put our bags in our room and freshened up, we went to meet Mr. Alok Vijayant, the CyberSecurity Operations Director of NTRO who had arranged and invited me to the conference. We met him in the Sagar Ratna restaurant that was in the hotel itself. There I met Mr. Rohit Srivastava, a friend of my dad and the founder of ClubHack. Sir. Alok also introduced us to Mr. Jiten Jain, the CEO of the Indian InfoSec Consortium (IIC). Sagar Ratna served Dosas as one of the main dishes and so we ate Dosas. Then we went to see the stage that I was going to speak from. I was planning on introducing my talk on CyberSecurity with a performance of Kung Fu and so I went and checked the stage to make sure I would have enough room for the Kung Fu form.
At that time, Sir. Alok received a call from Mr. Prasoon Srivastava, who was a special reporter for the Press Trust of India. Prasoon wanted to interview me over the phone and so I answered some of his questions and then went to the room. I practiced my talk a little, but since we were all tired (probably because of jetlag), we went to sleep. I tried watching “Gods must be crazy” but could not stay up too long and just fell asleep.
The next morning during breakfast, when eating some yummy dosais, we found out that Mr. Prasoon Srivastava from Press Trust of India had written a story about me in the NDTV headline news.
A note about me and my talk was also published in the NBT Hindi newspaper that day.
After breakfast, in the conference area, I met Jayson Street and got my awkward and a not-so-awkward hug from him.
For some reason the registration team was unable to locate the speaker badges and so we got the delegate badge instead and it was alright.
While waiting for the conference to start, Mr. Parikshet Tomar (far right), Director of HP Printing Systems from HP India met me with his team.
Then Mr. Jiten Jain, CEO of the Indian InfoSec Consortium, that had organized the Ground Zero InfoSec Summit opened the conference and what was really cool was that he had a robot deliver the opening welcome address. I could not fully understand what the robot was saying (because I don’t speak Robot yet :-)) but I thought that this was really cool. Then we heard some words from General. Vijay Kumar (V.K.) Singh, the Minister of Home Affairs about securing digital India. After that I listened to a panel by some important people from the Indian Government.
Then I got kinda hungry because it was time for lunch. In the evening I went to a Indian Cultural program where there was a lot of finger foods. I also watched some Indian dances and a skit about the Mahabharata.
At this time, I tested the wifi connection for my demo the next day and did my “credential harvesting” and “getting a meterpreter shell access” demo using the Kali Linux OS – but since I was so tired, I was falling asleep when I was practicing my demo. My dad, who saw me asked me if I was “sleep hacking”. 🙂 Then we ate some food and one my dad’s friends, Mr. Brijesh Roul and his family came and met us and had dinner with us.
The next day was November 14th, the day of my keynote talk and India’s Children’s day and we went to have breakfast. I had some yummy dosais again :-).
Sir Alok met me before the talk and encouraged me and said some very kind words about me, which I greatly liked and was thankful to him for.
I introduced my talk by doing the Shaolin Do Kung Fu Sea Dragon Cane Form and the 3rd Crane Form (covering Spinning back kicks) along with some gymnastics moves (covering Pirouettes and Splits) in between. This was so that I could go from Kung Fu to Cyber Kung Fu in my talk. 🙂
The title of my talk was “Developing r00t-Kidz: the Future of Cyber Security” and it was about three things:
1. Who is a Root Kid?
2. Why We Need Root Kidz? and
3. How Do You Develop a Root Kid?
I had to stand on the chair while delivering my talk – this has kinda gotten me the name “Chairperson” of the conference 🙂 which I think is pretty cool.
A video link of my talk is given at the end of the writeup. Please watch it and let me know what you think. If you like it, please share with others.
I also had to kneel when doing my demo, so that I could reach my laptop and the microphone at the same time. 🙂
After my talk, I got a lot of applause and Mr. Jiten Jain, called my dad and wanted him to announce that the Indian InfoSec Consortium (IIC), along with consultation with Mr. Alok Vijayant, would like to appoint my dad and me as a special Ambassador for teaching Cyber Security to kids, on their advisory board. They then called my mama, my little cute brother Ittai and my dad to the stage and honored our family (which was really really nice). Thank you Mr. Jain and Mr. Vijayant and all in the IIC and NTRO.
After this, I listened to Jayson Street’s keynote and was so thrilled to see that he had changed one of his slides to include a picture of me and refer to me in his talk. I am truly honored Jayson 🙂 He also left a nice message for all of us to consider by quoting Mahatma Gandhi, saying “Be the change you want to see in the world”.
After Jayson’s talk, it was time for awkward hugs – Jayson got his awkward hug and my dad, Mano Paul got his awkward hug from Jayson … 🙂
Then I got interviewed by what felt like a hundred news channels. It was a very new experience.
One of them was The Hindu and the reporter did a really cool story on me that my whole family liked. The article was entitled “Eight year old woos Cyber experts”. Another one was “8 year old CEO Reuben Paul is a cyber security expert” written by reporter Gargi Gupta in the Daily News Analysis (DNA), which we felt was a another nice story. The links are given below. Then I had some interviews with NDTV, Indian Express and the Hindustan times.
I really wanted to listen to my dad’s talk about “Security Naturally”, but I had to do another interview with Zee TV which was scheduled at the same time. I did the interview with my mom and I think it went pretty good.
I then met Vikram Sharma, the manager of Printing Services from HP and he called me to the HP booth and gave me a 16GB USB key. My eyes lit up because the USB key was in the shape of a Race car. Thank you Vikram (your thoughtful gift is much appreciated).
That evening, after tea time, there was the closing ceremony and Mr. Alok Vijayant and Mr. Jiten Jain gave me the honor of lighting the first Sky lantern.
After this, I felt really sad as we had to leave. I wanted to stay in India so much and spend more time with all the new friends (Sir Alok Vijayant, Jiten Jain, Aniket Aggarwal, Mohit Kumar (CEO of The Hacker News), Rohit Srivastava, and many more), but we had to leave. We left for the airport. Jayson Street was with us in the same car that dropped us all in the airport. I took one selfie with Jayson and my family and then flew back to Chennai.
At the Chennai airport, I saw an advertisement for a bank with the words “Let your dreams take flight” and what my experience at Ground Zero InfoSec Summit 2014 in India had done for me, is exactly that.
I would like to say I felt like I was in a different atmosphere in India. The people with there warmth, affection, intelligence, diverse cultural backgrounds, and the places transported me back to a state of Ground Zero (Interestingly did you know, Zero was invented in India) – which is to be the Best I can be (in InfoSec and Life). I certainly hope to be back in Ground Zero InfoSec Summit, next year and every year thereafter until …
Keynote Address – Developing r00t-Kidz : The Future of Cyber Security
The Hindu (India) newspaper article – Eight year old woos Cyber experts
Daily News and Analysis (India) newspaper article – 8 year old CEO Reuben Paul is a cyber security expert
NDTV new story – Indian-Origin Whizkid Reuben Paul Lectures on Cyber Security