Ansh has also worked prominent cybersecurity projects like such as Network Scanner and Web Application Firewall.
We hope that by reading Ansh's story, our readers can get a better idea of the different routes people take into our industry. If you like what Ansh has to say, you can read his blog posts on his website, bittentechsolutions.in.
Let's take a look at Ansh's story!
Nancy: How did you get started in cybersecurity? When did you first become interested in hacking?
It all started when I was in 9th grade. I was already interested in computers, but mainly for gaming, rather than from a technical standpoint.
I was inspired by a PC gamer I knew. We used to sit on adjacent benches in the classroom. He was not a close friend of mine as I was new to the school, but he was my friend's friend.
They used to talk about games and their progress in the games. I used to listen to their conversations intently. Some of these conversations were difficult to follow. He would use vocabulary that was completely new to me. He used to say that he crossed level 1 without any race, or he plays with unlimited cash/coins, he changes the values in the game with some hex editor, etc.
I couldn't understand what he was saying, it was all new to me. I asked him to explain it to me many times, but, for whatever reason, he didn't tell anything.
I was curious, and I was angry. Something had been sparked. What was so special about this "hack"? I went home and started searching for the terms he used. I explored these concepts but found it very hard to understand. I couldn't do what he did, and it made me angrier. Why can't I do it when he can?
I continued to learn and started to achieve things I never grasped before, but he was always one step ahead of me. I never stopped searching and learning. As he was already ahead of a normal student in geekiness, he always sparked that geek inside me, which I could never find before.
I started to love what I learned from him. I was able to make some progress, and modify some of the game. I was more curious than ever before. He was my motivation. He helped me realize my true passion. As I explored further I came to know the reality of the things I was studying. I learned the meaning of "ethical hacking" and cybersecurity, much later, when I had completed my schooling.
Later, my interest motivated me to start a YouTube channel named Bitten Tech. I didn't post any hacking related videos in the beginning. Initially, I focused on how-to content to educate people on topics that are very interesting but are typically considered confusing.
However, I never gained much attention from those videos. I still remember the highest view count was on "How to make a bootable ISO file", which was around 10k views in 1 year. It was my misconception that posting 2-3 meaningful videos will make them viral and my channel will on the top within a month or so. I was really disappointed by the stats as I didn't even make it to 100 subs in a year!
But then I switched to my main passion. I devoted more time to learning ethical hacking. It was at that time when I was just starting in the field and I decided to teach others whatever I was learning. So I also switched my video content and started to make videos on ethical hacking.
I made very basic videos at the start which had again a small number of views. I didn't know that there are millions of other videos teaching the same thing. I never stopped to ask myself "why would anyone watch mine?". The day I did ask myself, I started to work differently.
I focused more on what's not in the market, rather than what is. I used to make videos in English, but I switched to Hindi, knowing that there's a lack of Hindi hacking content out there. I still remember my video "Careers in Ethical Hacking" which I made in Hindi analyzing everything in-depth and working on the script for days.
It gained popularity. People started watching it. They came to know about me. I gained 100 to 1000 subs in 3 months with just that video. It has around 75k views to date.
I kept learning all these years alongside teaching. I have followed many people in my journey, people who are doing great in this field. I have followed blogs, articles, YouTube channels, courses, etc. but never had enough. That's the thing, you will never have enough. You need to keep exploring.
People want everything in one place, but this isn't feasible. The field is massive and complex. You need to grow by learning from lots of different sources. I never stopped learning, and making new content, even if I didn't get as much I gave.
The major breakthrough came when I uploaded a workshop that I took for offline students. It was my first video that went viral and gave my channel the biggest boost it ever had. That was the biggest turning point for me. It gave me the real motivation that you have to keep going. Success just does not happen overnight. My channel was the major driving force for me to step up in Information Security. It gives me inner peace, and satisfaction in my work.
Nancy: What do you like the most about the cybersecurity community?
Innovation and evolution. Every other day there is a new technology being rolled out and at the same time, the issues revolving around its functionality are revealed by the security researchers. They are determined to find new paths and to penetrate systems in new ways because previous methods often don't work after several patches are released by the software vendors.
As I always say and believe, hacking is an art practiced by a creative mind.
Things are constantly being improved and every day, we learn something new. We invent our own methodologies to approach and challenge the very principle of security. Everyone is on the same page, we learn together, we share, we discuss and work in unison. This unity and artistic minds are the major driving force of admiring this security community.
Nancy: How do you see the industry changing in the future?
We are currently seeing major changes, be it in bug hunting, forensics, corporate security, pentesting, etc. This is one of those few industries which will never see complete extinction of manual research. I mean companies still spend millions of their budget for security policy implementations and it's infrastructure, and I think it's likely to increase in the near future as more and more "bad" people step onto the digital world.
I strongly believe that the security considerations in the Internet of Things (IoT) will grow as it's implemented at a large scale. Hardware hacking is going to be a real thing. As electronic devices start connecting to the local or global networks, we will have to scrutinize their immunity to the ever-evolving cyber threats. As I say, IoT is more likely to become 'Internet of Threats', unless we take care.
As far as careers are concerned in the industry, it was somehow explained in the first paragraph that people will be required, whether to automate or to manually do it. As not many of us are in this field, the future will likely involve more people, and we will face stiff competitions. But at the same time, you know, as long as developers keep developing, we will continue to have work.
Nancy: Do you have any advice for aspiring cybersecurity professionals?
I still consider myself a beginner and think I have a lot to learn and experience. I am happy that I can help some people and they learn something from me.
As for aspiring learners, cybersecurity is great. Make sure you have chosen the right path because once you are into this, you are in a never-ending maze. You are likely to get lost unless you know what you have to or want to do.
- Never stop learning. It's the most important thing I would say. You never know everything. No matter how deep you go, you should never be satisfied.
- It's not about how wide you are, it's about how deep you are. Focus on your specialization. You don't NEED to learn everything. Find pleasure in your work, it will make it easy. If you like to find bugs, then just focus on it, read books, reports, articles, if you are good at teaching, learn as if you can make a 6th grader understand, if you know how to pentest, join a company. Listen to yourself.
- Be as unique as possible. Many people are doing bug bounties, businesses, etc but how many of them do you know? They did something out of the mainstream. They mixed their own variation and taste to the recipe. Think out-of-the-box, if you want to flourish and ascertain your position in the community. It's not always about the money, but respect.
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