Sunday, November 8, 2015

Deepak Daswani: "Don’t fight against envy, transform it"

Deepak Daswani. Communicator and IT security expert.

Deepak Daswani is known by his work, in the last two years, as the Security Evangelist of one of the main cybersecurity state centers in Spain, INCIBE. When you know him you realize they made the correct decision choosing him: topic expert knowledge, perfect word, emotional intelligence, diplomatic spirit and a really good looking like not much people in the hacking world; 1,95 of height and 86 kg of muscle forged by boxing and weight training. Slurps, would say some female hacker, but no. Dipu is happily married, he has a beautiful 3 years old daughter and he's a little shy at the beginning, not a heart breaker.

He's just landed in Deloitte's CyberSOC Academy, his new work after leaving INCIBE recently. There, he’ll keep teaching, educating and, in the end, evangelizing about IT security, but with the option of sleeping every night (or most of the times) at home, in the Canary Islands. He’ll keep collaborating in media, but without stress, helping to “translate this world so technique and complex into a clear language, so the spectator could understand it”. This, this is his gift.

-Well, and the music?

- It's one of my biggest passions, besides hacking. When I was a child I played organ during 8 years with the Yamaha Japanese method, and I love be a DJ too, in the Canary Islands there’s a lot of DJ and electronic music culture. I played like an amateur in some parties, weddings and this kind of stuff.

- Are you Spanish?

- Yes, I’m canary with Hindu origins. In Canary Islands there’s a big community of hindu people with electronic business. I was born here, from the second or third generation, a real canary with an Hindu origin, but it also generates confusion because I’m not the common hindu for my look (i'm not brown, rather the opposite)… so I go unnoticed.

- Your name would have been a little cross for you...

- When I was a child it brought me a lot of problems at the school. When calling the roll and the teacher was new and he jammed, I knew it was my turn, like in the University… but it has good things too, because now, that in addition of giving conferences I collaborate with a lot of media, at last a different name attracts much more attention. 

- Why did you leave INCIBE?

- In INCIBE I lived an amazing time both in a professional and personal level, and I’ll always be grateful to the direction for the confidence who had in me, giving me a relevant mission like representing the organization, as well as the colleagues who made me feel at home. But I’m the kind of person who always look for new challenges and runs from the immobility. One of my faculty teachers, a great friend of mine, says that I’m a “restless person”.

- To achieve this position you have to beat 600 people??!

- If I remember well, 600 people were registered in the platform to make the online hacking tests, 160 completed it, 60-70 were interviewed and 20 were selected, finally entering 19.

- INCIBE taught you this serious and qualified look guy or you already had it before?

- Since before I guess. However, who knows me a little bit assume that I could seem serious at work, but I love joking. When I built confidence with someone, I don’t stop joking.

- How did you discover that you like the IT security?

- I always loved scraping with computers. When I had my first AMIGA 500, besides playing with it I dedicated to program in BASIC thanks to a book bought by my father of BASIC for childrens. After that, with my first 286, I made scripts in BAT with MS-DOS, and when the modem/fax appeared, I liked to connect to the BBS to download programs and exchange knowledge. Since I was a child I liked the hacking and his mystic halo associated to the referents of those times, like Kevin Mitnick. I made my teenager works and then I focused on the University.

- Wow! But, how old are you?

- 35. I always knew that I wanted to learn and became a hacker, but I never had the hope of dedicating to it professionally. In Tenerife there’s a lot of work in the TIC sector, but not in security. I worked in the TIC sector in development, in banking, in geographic engineering and GIS, and finally I finished working in my real passion.

- You’re the author of the “Whatsapp Discover” tool, which extracts phone numbers from Whatsapp users though network traffic.

- I discovered it at the end of 2013 and I published it at the middle of 2014. Despite of the Whatsapp conversations we have with our contacts are encrypted, our smartphones send to the Whatsapp servers data packets with our phone number before establishing the communication. This is why the users who use public Wifi networks like airports, hotels or mails have the risk of showing their phone number. Whatsapp Discover extracts these phone numbers in these kind of networks.

- Personally I loved your investigation called “Mi daughter of 2 years old helped me to hack the Pocoyó app” :)

- Well, it wasn’t such a big deal, but it was funny because while I was monitoring the home network traffic to work in WhatsApp Discover, Lara was sit by my side focused seeing Pocoyó in her iPad. So isn’t a coincidence that her traffic interfered in my web catch, and from there, the rest is the same: curiosity and set at the details. It's clear that without her help I wouldn’t made it :)

- Do you have any beautiful quote you’ve converted in a password?

“If you can dream it, yo can do it…”

(Unfortunately isn’t mine but I love it) ;)

If you want one of mine, here we go, although I don’t know if it’s beautiful: “The envy is a natural emotion. Don’t fight against it, transform it in your motivation”.

-It’s very accurate. :)

Text: Mercè Molist


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