Suramya's Blog : Welcome to my crazy life…

April 11, 2022

I am now a Certified SOC Analyst (CSA)

Filed under: Computer Security,My Life — Suramya @ 5:08 AM

Over the weekend I gave my first Cybersecurity Certification exam and I am now a Certified SOC Analyst (CSA). 🙂 This is the first of five certifications I will be completing this year as part of my Degree in Cybersecurity.


Certificate No: ECC2945876310

The exam was interesting and for me the hardest part was remembering all the Windows event codes as I have a hard time remembering numbers. I feel that they should allow users access to their windows system (registry/event logs) as in a real life scenario we would always have access to the system and internet. Testing without the ability to search the internet doesn’t make much sense as it is not realistic.

That being said, I am looking forward to the next certification exam which I am planning to take end of the month/early next month.

Well this is all for now. Will write more later.

– Suramya

January 26, 2022

Got a new Biometric lock installed

Filed under: My Life — Suramya @ 3:39 AM

Yesterday I finally replaced my old Biometric lock that I have been using for the past 8 years with a newer model. The old one was still working fine for the most part but gave a fright a few weeks ago when its batteries died (I think that is what happened) and I couldn’t unlock the door. We did have a manual override key for the lock but I guess I don’t know my own strength because I broke off the key (in the lock) when I tried to unlock using the key. It looked like I would have to break the lock to get in but thankfully I remembered at the last minute that the lock had the option of providing power externally and was able to unlock using a 9 volt battery. Due to this and other small issues that were cropping up in the lock we decided to replace the lock with a newer version.

Searching online I found a lot of locks available but decided against most of them because I didn’t want the lock to be internet connected. There are enough security issues with the apps and I don’t like the idea of random folks being able to connect to my lock remotely for fun and profit. Finally narrowed down to two options, 1st was a godrej model and the other was the one we got. The Godrej one looked good but as per their support team required a door with a min thickness of 42mm and our door is only 35mm. We could have gotten extra plywood put in to thicken the door but since the other option was 10k cheaper, had more functionality and didn’t require modification we decided to go with that one instead.

Ordered the lock online and it was delivered in ~3 days, installation took a while because they took a while to assign a technician for some reason but after yelling at them for a bit (and offering to return the lock) it was finally installed yesterday. The installation person was pretty good and the whole thing took about 40 mins to complete.

Now with the new lock I can unlock the door with Finger prints, pin, RFID card and manual override key. In case of power going off it has the option of using a powerbank as external power so that is a relief. Plus it doesn’t require dismantling the handle to get access to the override key so that is a big advantage.

The new lock’s sensor is a lot more sensitive and processes faster than my old one. Thinking about what to do with the old one, one option is to send it to my parents place in Delhi another is to use it for secure storage here in Bangalore itself but that would require work and I honestly don’t have that many valuables that would require a biometric storage locker. In any case for now it is going into storage.

Well this is all for now, will post more later.

– Suramya

PS: I didn’t specify the lock model / make in the post specifically because I don’t think I want to make that public. But if you are interested in discussing more or are planning to buy you can reach out offline and we can talk in more detail.

August 20, 2021

Human Upgrade 2.0: Patch 2/2 (Vaccine Dose 2) Applied Successfully

Filed under: My Life,My Thoughts — Suramya @ 12:26 AM

Finally got the second dose of the Covid vaccine earlier this week. As compared to the first dose this was a super efficient and fast process. We reached Manipal around 1pm and within 20 mins we were done with the vaccination and back on the way home. The staff ensured that there was enough social distancing and the shots were given very quickly.

I am someone who is scared of needles but even then I took the shot. This is because I rather get a quick and painless shot than end up in the hospital and get pumped up with drugs and lots of needles. It is a lot more painful (and scary) to be intubated than it is to get an injection. I know the shot doesn’t give you 100% immunity and there is still a possibility that you can get Covid even after getting vaccinated but in those cases Covid is not as severe and there is a higher probability that you will recover on your own without ending up in the ICU.

I did get a bad headache for a few days after the vaccine (I got it even from the first dose). Basically, my sinusitis got triggered by the shot and it takes a few days for my immune system to adjust to the new information given via the shot. Post that all is well. I know a few others who were sick for a week after the shot but that is still better than the sickness you might get if you get a severe case of Covid.

If you are eligible then you better get the vaccine as early as possible, to protect yourself and others around you.

– Suramya

PS: Am upset that I am still don’t get a better 5G signal!

May 29, 2021

Post Vaccination Day 6 update

Filed under: My Life — Suramya @ 11:28 PM

I had my 1st Vaccine shot on Monday and it’s been 6 days (if you include Monday) with no side effects as of now. I did have a severe headache for the last 2 days but that could have been due to a sinusitis attack or could be a reaction to the shot. I don’t know for sure.

The other thing that both me and Jani saw was that we both kept feeling very sleepy for some reason. Which is why I slept for the majority of the past few days. I did wake up early (6am) but by 12 I would be extremely sleepy and doze off again. Which was fun. I haven’t done this (slept as much as I want everyday) in a while. The downside of that is that I broke my 14 day streak of posting daily on the blog. This is the longest I have blogged continuously in a very long time.

On the negative side, 😉 I still don’t have a better 5G connection and I still have to pay for my Microsoft license. 🙁 Maybe they will fix that in the next patch release (2nd dose).

Well this is all for now. I need to get back to my assignments now since I slept most of the week. Will write more later.

– Suramya

May 24, 2021

Human Upgrade 2.0: Patch 1/2 (Vaccine Dose 1) applied successfully

Filed under: My Life — Suramya @ 1:52 PM

Got my first dose of Covishield vaccine today which has finally connected me to 5G! and I do have a weird urge to install Windows on my computer…
I think once I get the second dose I will be able to connect wirelessly to 5G networks and type with my thoughts. But am scared that the chip implanted by Bill Gates will force me to use windows going forward.

– Suramya

PS: In case it is not clear, the above is sarcasm. There is no connection between the Covid vaccine and 5G or Bill Gates. If you think there is, please reexamine your life choices.

February 21, 2021

All Your Base Are Belong To Us: Turns 20

Filed under: Humor,My Life,My Thoughts — Suramya @ 12:05 AM

‘All Your Base Are Belong To Us’ is a phrase that is very familiar to anyone who was active on the internet in 2000’s as this was pretty much the first meme which took the entire net by storm. I remember someone posting a giant version of it in our college dorm windows using A4 paper. Unfortunately I don’t have a pic of it, but there were plenty of other places this popped up over the weeks really confusing a lot of people.

The first version showed up online on February 16, 2001 when a robo-voiced music video went live at Newgrounds.com. The video was a capture from a 90’s video game called Zero Wing with some hilariously bad English translation from the original Japanese. It contained phrases like “How are you gentlemen!!”, “Somebody set up us the bomb” and the infamous “All Your Base Are Belong To Us!”. The video presented the original Sega Genesis graphics, dubbed over with monotone, machine-generated speech reading each phrase. The video is shown below, click on play to view the original video with the awesome soundtrack:


All Your Base Are Belong to Us

The transcript of the video is as follows:

Captain: What happen ?
Mechanic: Somebody set up us the bomb.
Operator: We get signal.
Captain: What !
Operator: Main screen turn on.
Captain: It’s you !!
CATS: How are you gentlemen !!
CATS: All your base are belong to us.
CATS: You are on the way to destruction.
Captain: What you say !!
CATS: You have no chance to survive make your time.
CATS: Ha ha ha ha …
Operator: Captain !!
Captain: Take off every ‘ZIG’!!
Captain: You know what you doing.
Captain: Move ‘ZIG’.
Captain: For great justice.

After the original video from the game it moves on to show the phrase photoshopped into all sorts of images and photos from actual locations where it was inserted really confusing most folks because they had no idea what it meant.

It was extremely silly but great fun. Watching it again has really brought back memories of the great times from college. Here’s to the next 20 years, ’cause remember “All Your Base Are Belong To Us!”

– Suramya

February 7, 2021

Travel in 2021: 3294kms driven as of date

Filed under: My Life,Travel/Trips — Suramya @ 8:25 PM

I complained a lot about not being able to travel in 2020, mostly to my wife who suffered through my complaints heroically. So the universe decided that I would get to travel a lot in 2021 as compensation. Jan 2021 has been a marathon session of driving all over south India, primarily because of Covid as we only wanted to go places within drivable distance from Bangalore as we normally would try to drive directly to the location without having to stop on the way. Plus we also ensured that we were only going to places with very limited crowds and mostly ended up staying in places where we were the only people (apart from the staff).

The first trip of the year was to Dindigul where we had gone for New Years. It was a lot of fun and we enjoyed it quite a bit. The second trip was to Kannur, Kerala (not to be confused with Coonoor, Tamil Nadu), which we did with Jani’s friends from IBM with whom we had been talking about going on a trip for over 4 years (almost 5). The drive to the place was quite nice and we made good time. I had planned on writing a trip summary as I normally do but didn’t get the time as I was swamped with classes and assignments. In any case, Jani has now started writing about all the trips so that reduces the pressure on me :). Her writeup on the trip is available here.

The next trip was to Kotagiri, Tamil Nadu with Anil, Manisha, Suprita , Vinit and the kids. We drove down from Bangalore to Kotagiri but thankfully I wasn’t driving because by this time I had already driven almost 1.8k kms in 2021. Anil, Manisha & Vinit drove for the trip and I got to relax and spend time with the kids for a bit. A big surprise was that I bumped into Gaurang in Ooty, as he had driven down for some work. We both stay in Bangalore but hadn’t seen each other for months because of Covid. So he came over and we spent some time together there and then he drove back with us which gave me a chance to spend some quality time with him during the drive.

Finally the last trip of the month was to visit Jani’s hometown, Colachel in Kanyakumari District for some work (plus spend time with family). It was a 14 hour+ drive from Bangalore and initially I had planned to do it in one shot. However, then we decided to break it up into two with a halt in Dindigul which is almost exactly half-way between the start and finish. This was the first time we were stopping on the way during a trip but in hindsight it was a great idea. It allowed me to take a break and rest as I was also up on night for my classes. If we hadn’t stopped on the way I would have been exhausted by the time we reached and this way I got to rest on the way. The drive down was fantastic, and I really loved the NH44. The road was well maintained and an absolute pleasure to drive. I had to consciously restrict myself from driving too fast and I really enjoyed it. The traffic also was minimal so I could really relax and enjoy the drive.

In all I have driven 3294 kms so far in 2021 and now that I am home I absolutely refuse to drive anywhere else for the month of Feb. We will see how I feel in March, but most probably we won’t be going anywhere till at-least the end of March as we both have exams in March. But based on our past experience, I will not say that we absolutely will not travel anywhere for the next two months.

I am eagerly waiting for the Covid vaccine to be generally available so that we don’t have to worry about Covid when traveling. Looking at the current status I have a feeling that it will be Q3, 2021 by the time we get vaccinated. Hopefully by the end of the year things might be back to normal so here’s hoping for that.

Well this is all for now. Will write more later, now that I am back home and not driving all over south India.

– Suramya

January 7, 2021

Welcoming 2021 in style at Rajakkad Estate, Dindigul

Filed under: My Life,Travel/Trips — Suramya @ 5:06 AM

One of the biggest things that I missed in 2020 was traveling. Usually we travel to multiple places over the year but in 2020 it wasn’t the case due to Covid and we barely traveled anywhere. So, we wanted to do a trip for new years because we were getting stir crazy and we wanted to celebrate with a small group of close friends without having to interact with unknown folks. After a bit of research we decided to head down to Rajakkad Estate, Dindigul. This is an 18th century palace that was transported from Kerala by breaking it down to 35000 pieces and re-assembled in Dindigul in the middle of an 80 acre estate. The reviews of the place were amazing so we booked the place and prepared for the journey. Due to Covid we had to register for an e-pass as we were crossing into Tamil Nadu and the pass was auto-approved. Interestingly, there was no check for the epass but I don’t recommend traveling without it because if you don’t have the pass then you are sent back.

The trip started early morning (5:30am) on the 31st with me, Jani, Ayush & Akanksha in my car and Shashank on his bike. Just as we left home it started raining and it continued to rain throughout the trip. Due to which we had to drive at a slower speed and we also ended up stopping a few times due to the heavy rain so that Shashank could take a break from driving in the rain. Thus the trip which was estimated to take ~7 hours took us over 9.5 hours to complete. The last part of the drive was amazing with spectacular views but I didn’t get to enjoy them much as I had to focus on the road and I didn’t want to drive off the cliff while admiring the view. 😉

We finally reached the estate around 3pm and found that we 5 were the only guests over there for the duration, so we got to select our rooms. Me and Jani selected a corner room with spectacular views of the forest. The host Robesh walked us through the place and once we settled in we immediately requested for lunch as breakfast was a long time ago and this time we couldn’t stop for snacks as we usually do due to the rains. Lunch was quite good and every item in the menu was locally sourced from the estate’s own farm. Can’t comment about the non-veg dishes but the veg options were quite tasty and healthy. I do recommend that you stick with the south-Indian food options (they do make continental food but we didn’t try any) as the cooks are not that great with north Indian dishes (especially chappati’s). Other than that one dish most of the dishes were quite good. I even enjoyed the banana flower vegetable which is something I have never liked.


Hogging on great food

After lunch we thought about exploring the surrounding area a bit but it was still raining so we just relaxed in the sitting area and played a bunch of board games (they have a good collection). It had been a while since we all got together so it was good to catch-up with each other’s lives. Thanks to the rain the temperature dropped quite significantly and Jani was quite thankful for her electric heated jacket. We asked if we could get a heater setup in the area but apparently there was no power outlet (15A) that could take the load of the heater so after braving the cold for a bit we moved the gathering to the room where it was a lot more warmer after we closed the windows and the door. (If you are someone who doesn’t like the cold make sure you pack warm clothes as it gets quite cold in the evening as the place is on a hill)


The Central courtyard of the palace

We had initially planned to ring in 2021 with a bonfire, but thanks to the rain we thought that it wouldn’t be possible. However, the staff went out of their way to get a bonfire started for us and we got to sit outside next to the fire to welcome 2021. It was completely unexpected and a very pleasant surprise. After enjoying the fire for a bit we moved back to the room due to the cold and spent another couple of hours just chilling. We couldn’t stay up too late because all of us were tired as we had an early start so we crashed.


Welcoming the New Year with a bonfire


Cheers to having a fantastic 2021

The next day, I woke up at 8am for some reason and then couldn’t go back to sleep, so I spent a very pleasant morning walking around the surrounding woods and exploring the lovely garden. Once everyone else woke up we had a great breakfast with fresh juice, homemade bread, south Indian dishes and eggs. Thankfully it had stopped raining and the weather was very pleasant so we decided to explore the surrounding area and walked over to the Yoga platform which is built into the side of the hill with a spectacular view of the hills and the sun-rise (if you wake up early enough). We didn’t wake up that early so we just sat there for a bit enjoying the view and listening to Jani talk about all the flowers that she could identify (which were a lot). We then went for an hour long walk in the forest and saw a whole bunch of flora & fauna. The walk helped us build up an appetite and we were reading to do justice to the lunch prepared for us. It was served in an outdoor seating area and we all really enjoyed the food and the location.


Jani and me at the front garden


Freshly plucked tamarind directly from the tree


Group Selfie at the estate


Chilling at the Yoga platform

Post lunch we relaxed for a bit and Robesh suggested we checkout a waterfall nearby so we all drove for about 15 mins to the entrance to the trail and then walked down to the fall. It was a nice walk with a rope bridge on the way that we had to cross. It was amusing to watch some of the folks crossing the bridge (I am not going to name names) as they were quite scared. We did see a couple of giant squirrels on the way along with a whole bunch of birds and that was quite nice. Once we got back we remembered that we had brought badminton racquets so we played for a bit till it became too dark to see, post which we had dinner and another round of games, great conversation and relaxed. There is not a lot to do at this place so be prepared to entertain yourselves. The phone and 4G signal was quite spotty in the property and the WiFi was down thanks to the rain so we got to spend time without the constant distraction of the online world.


Enjoying the waterfall view

Next day all of us were up early as we had planned to leave immediately post breakfast so that we could reach home before dark. The breakfast was served in the open at a fantastic open air seating and we enjoyed great food with the sounds of nature as background music. Post breakfast we finished our packing and started back to Bangalore relaxed and rejuvenated.

However, the trip had some additional surprises in store for us. After about an hour of driving I realized that my car’s AC Fan had stopped working, and the temperature soon became too hot for me to handle (though Jani loved it). We ended up driving with the windows down, which was fine when on the highway but everytime we had to slow down due to tolls or traffic I was quite miserable. The return journey took us almost 11 hours due to the more frequent stops and traffic.


Breakfast in the forest

By the time we reached home I was exhausted and ended up crashing immediately. We drove ~850 kms round trip and it was worth every minute as the trip was a lot of fun with good food & stay, great company and a fantastic way to welcome 2021!

Wishing you all a Very Happy New Year!

Will write more later.

– Suramya

September 18, 2020

Hackers – 25th Anniversary thoughts

Filed under: My Life,My Thoughts — Suramya @ 10:01 AM

15 September 2020, was the 25th anniversary of one of my favorite movies which also happens to be one of the most iconic movies about hacking ever released: Hackers. I first saw the movie in late 1999. I was introduced to it by Jerome who was my RA in college at the time and it has been one of the most fun and phenomenal movies on hacking that I’ve seen.

Yes, the video depictions of hacking are corny since there are no 3d file systems that we have to navigate and when we open a file it doesn’t give a 3D psychedelic video with equations floating around, but the overall concept and the whole mindset of what hacking actually means is very accurately depicted in the movie. For example, a lot of hacking involves social engineering and right in the beginning of the movie Dade/Crash Override social engineers a security guard to get access to the computer systems for the TV Network he is trying to take over. There are tons of quotes in the movie that cover/reference the core of the Hacker identity in the 90’s. Some of my favorites are:

We make use of a service already existing without paying for what could be dirt-cheap if it wasn’t run by profiteering gluttons.

[- Razor & Blade. While demoing Phone Phreaking]

We explore… and you call us criminals. We seek after knowledge… and you call us criminals. We exist without skin color, without nationality, without religious bias… and you call us criminals.
You build atomic bombs, you wage wars, you murder, cheat, and lie to us and try to make us believe it’s for our own good, yet we’re the criminals. Yes, I am a criminal. “My crime is that of curiosity.” I am a hacker, and this is my manifesto.

[From the Hackers Manifesto]

“Hackers of the world unite!”

“Hack the planet!”

These are all things that we grew up with, and refer to core hacker identity/mindset in 90’s. It actually surprised me to find that the original hacker manifesto was no longer easily available and had to resort to visiting the Internet Archive to pull up a copy of it. The movie gives you a good idea of what the original definition of hacking was: learning for the sake of learning & curiosity. It encouraged/inspired a whole generation of folks to go into computers & hacking. I remember this quote from one of the kids I watched a movie with in college, and he basically said, “watching this movie makes you want to go learn computers so you can do cool stuff like this instead of the boring ass programming crap we have been doing.”.

I saw the news of the movie’s 25th Anniversary on my twitter feed 2 days ago and since I was feeling nostalgic I watched the movie again yesterday night. And I’m happy to report, I still love the movie. Yes, there are parts of the movie that feel dated e.g. where they are all running around with floppy disks & CRT monitors and the phone couplers! and it’s corny to see everyone being on skateboards/rollerblading all the time. But overall the movie itself doesn’t feel dated in fact even the graphics from the movie have aged quite well.

The movie got a lot of flack on it’s release for being “dubious,” “unrealistic,” and “implausible.” A lot of the visualization was just plain silly (but really visually awesome) like the super cool looking 3d visual file systems that the protagonists have to navigate or the really cool looking 3D visualization with floating equations that come up when they try to view the ‘garbage file’.

Yes the movie is not accurate, but what movie is? I mean, it is at the end of the day a fictional story to tell people, have a great visual and audio extravaganza. All of that is not meant to be an accurate representation of the hacking process because honestly speaking, watching people type for three hours will probably be one of the most boring movies that I could think of and interestingly even with this visual extravaganza the movie was a comercial failure when it came out and it’s only over the years it’s become a cult favorite. There are other movies like ‘the Net’ or Sneakers that also covered Hacking/hackers but none of them had the lasting impact Hackers did.

Always remember: “This is our world now… the world of the electron and the switch, the beauty of the baud. “

#hacktheplanet

– Suramya

September 14, 2020

Fusion is possible in the Future – First Article by my Nephew Vir (8 years old)

Filed under: My Life — Suramya @ 9:05 PM

My 8 year old Nephew Vir has written his first article on “Fusion is possible in the future”. Since I am really proud of him I am sharing it here for you all to read as well.

—- Start Article —-

Fusion is possible in the future

Fusion is a reliable source of clean energy made by plasma when it is put in a nuclear fusion reactor. But not just any plasma will do, we need HE-3/ a radioactive isotope of helium (2 in the periodic table of elements) found on the moon.

2.Nucear fusion is the process that makes the sun shine.

When nuclieses of atoms collide they release tremendous amounts of energy . An atom is the most basic matter, made of quarks and electrons .The quarks make protons and neutrons which makes a nucleus.
For fusion to occur plasmas need to be hotter and denser than they naturally exist.

If fusion reactors were possible now they would use @2@ ways to get plasma hot and dense enough . way !1!. First: they would use super powerful lasers and an electromagnetic field to do that . Way @2@ .second we would put it in a donut shape reactor and use magnetic fields to compress the plasma. A donut shape reactor works like this:The magnetic field comprises the hot plasma and the plasma generates its own heat .
All of this is very costly, that’s why we can’t do it YET.

So in the future, we could possibly use way @2@ because it’s less costly and much safer.it’s safer because if the reaction fald the plasma would expand and cool

—- End Article —-

What do you think of the Article? I am not going to write much in this post as I want the focus to be his article.

– Suramya

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