Let me start by telling you that until recently, the only cookie I knew of was the one that is calorific and the only Python I had heard of was the one that you are supposed to be frightened of.
It was a Friday evening and an idea nestled in my head of conducting an experiment and getting fellow Trippers to tweet about the upcoming AWeSOM (Awareness Week On Security, Online & Mobile) event. While I was still cradling the thought, two human looking aliens (read Piyush and Vikram) sneaked into my world and the rest as they say, is history.
Starting Monday, I was supposed to live-tweet the proceedings of AWeSOM from our MakeMyTrip Twitter handle. (Shame if you don’t know what our brand handle is by now). I was excited, enthused and bursting with ideas. I stepped into “Hindustan” for the inauguration and my world has not been the same since.
It all started well and I liked what I heard. Proposed shift in our culture as a tech-organization, the security measures we must adopt and the quick response plan to handle critical situations was what the talk was about. It all made sense.
And then happened “Casablanca”.
It seemed like they were talking a different language. Apache, Memcache, Sharding, Parsing, Python, Perl, Splunk, Cookies, Logs and what not. My mind was whirling, trying to process all that was happening around me. It was, so to speak, an overhead transmission. I was tweeting, yes, from our brand handle but the trending hashtags in my head were such –
(By Mid-morning) #Whatthehellisgoingon
(By evening, I had a revelation) #Theseguysarealiens
This, my friends, was Day 1 of AWeSOM for me. To be honest, I didn’t understand ANYTHING! I saw my experiment failing. But I am not one to give up easily. I mustered up all my courage and talked myself into attending Day 2 as well.
The rest of the week
Day 2 started off with giving myself a pep talk. I was trying real hard to understand what they were saying. The speakers, the panel, the discussions and questions left me dizzy yet again. Popular hashtags for the day were something like this –
I was beginning to understand. Google hacking was as interesting to me as Physics to Sheldon Cooper. Offline chats about human hacking, with a practical example of the same on me courtesy our very own Mr. (Konark) Modi made me see online security in a different light altogether. There was indeed a bright light at the end of the tunnel and I was beginning to see it; so what if it was as bleak as my knowledge of Redis or Memcache. (You see I know the jargons now. Booyah!)
Day 3 I realized I had developed Stockholm Syndrome with the aliens. This occurred the minute I entered “Casablanca” to witness Matrix like effects- undoubtedly, the coolest sight of the week. Ping – Pong with the log data and making sense of it caught my attention. Mr. Modi was kind enough to explain logs to me in layman’s terms (But he did dodge the question of “What do you do with this info” by replying very slyly with “Trying to earn a living”).
Our very own Mishraji from the Content team took coolness quotient to another level with Shakespeare in pink shades while elaborating on content security and the ways to deal with it.
Compliance too made a lot of sense. Why do you think we need compliance? And the right answer is NOT “for the heck of it”. You would have known if you were there. Alas.
Day 4 was even more interesting. Responsive design, Legalities in terms of obligations and rights as per our IPC and other governing bodies, App Sec (for the uninitiated, application security)and Performance Engineering, a lot of interesting stories, real cases and candid questions that were met with even more candid responses (courtesy Mr. Avutapalli) made the day brighter. The aliens looked like humans once again or maybe I was adapting! I was left wanting more, least to say.
Day 5 started off with the aliens back in their element, throwing jargons at me and I loved every minute of it. Why you may ask? The answer is that I learnt a lot in this week. So what if I still don’t understand VAPT, Sharding, Parsing, Single Identity Login, what Logs are, how SOX is not just a fancy word but has implications beyond belief, what to do when someone has plagiarized my writings and how Cookie is a small piece of data sent from a website and stored in a user's web browser and not just something you devour with milk in the morning!
Most importantly, I learnt, an open mind is more important than your educational background when it comes to learning new things.
The aliens are not so scary anymore. This was all in all a very informative week. For those who missed it and seek redemption, there are videos of the sessions you can browse through. For those who are still not interested, may Spock bless you. Peace.