A tryst with former President Dr. A.P.J. Abdul Kalam at cOcOn


A tryst with former President Dr. A.P.J. Abdul Kalam at cOcOn

Talitha Kurien of Grade XI GPS-International writes about her interaction with the People’s President. 

On the 22nd of August, four students of Global Public School, including myself, were presented with the coveted opportunity to attend the CyOps Con (c0c0n 2014) at Crowne Plaza, Maradu. 

Conducted annually as part of the International Information Security Day, the two-day cyber security conference was organized by the Kerala State Police, along with the Information Security Research Association (ISRA) and POLCYB, a non-profit society created to enhance international partnerships to combat crimes in cyberspace. With more than thirty speakers from fourteen countries across the world, c0c0n aimed solely to spread awareness about the latest trends and advancements in information security and online attacks. 

Accompanied by students from five other schools in Kochi, our visit was packed with speeches from professionals in the fields of law enforcement and cyber security, as they emphasized the importance of awareness programs like c0c0n in order to retaliate against attackers in the cyberspace. With appalling statistics on cyber attacks collected over the past few years, it was evident that the number of digital security incidents and crimes are on the rise, and that more security controls and research activities are vital to curb this lethal threat. 

Orators such as Bessie Pang; the Executive Director of POLCYB, Manu Zachariah; President of ISRA, and the Guest of Honor at the conference; Vice Admiral Surinder Pal Singh Cheema of the Indian Navy all expressed their concerns about the cyberspace as they spoke about the value of research organizations that specialise in security and intelligence, and the demand for cyber policies and facilitating networking and trust across borders. However, it was the keynote speech that truly resonated with all the attendees at c0c0n, for it was delivered by one of the most remarkable presidents in Indian history, Dr. APJ Abdul Kalam. 

In a speech that referred to the upgrading of technology and the investment of education in cyber security as the need of the hour, the former President’s fondness for children was evident as he emphasised the importance of the Indian youth in our battle against cyber threats. Abdul Kalam stated that in order to assemble a battalion of elite security technologists, technical institutions ought to enhance their research in cyber security, and promote extensive computer science education. He also asserted his opinion that the country must master Social Media analytics, as social media was found to be the most effective and efficient tool in peace disruptions and the beginning of riots. He believed that in 2017, there would be 283 million social media users in India alone, the future of cyber security and even national security will undoubtedly be centred on social media. 

It was a privilege to be able to listen to the memorable words of awe-inspiring role models as Dr. Kalam; one that I’m sure we are all grateful for. We are indebted to the school for giving us this opportunity, Bindu ma’am for accompanying us on the trip, and above all, the speakers at c0c0n 2014, for enlightening us on the harsh reality that is the cyberspace.