Professor Shiva Prakash: On Internet safety, promising collaborative research and positive vibes of ETU "LETI"
Dr. Shiva Prakash, Professor at JSS Science and Technology University, India held a lecture course on cybersecurity for the students of the English-taught master's program of ETU "LETI."
The purpose of the visit of Shiva Prakash, Professor of the Department of Information Science and Engineering at the JSS Science and Technology University (Mysuru, Karnataka, India) to ETU "LETI," was to give a lecture course on cybersecurity to the students of the English-taught master's program Computer Science and Knowledge Discover. The professor from India was a guest at the university in October-December 2019.
In the interview, the professor gave several tips on safety on the Internet for common users, spoke about promising research with scientists from ETU "LETI," and shared his impressions of the positive vibes of the university.
– Dr. Prakash, we are very glad to have you at ETU "LETI." Please, tell us about yourself and the university you came from.
– I’m working as an Associate Professor of the Department of Information Science and Engineering at JSS Science and Technology University, Mysuru, India. I came here to work with Professor Kirill Krinkin, and I work as a post-doctoral research fellow and also as a visiting professor to teach a course on fundamentals of computer science and cybersecurity, IoT, and also mobile power management in wireless mesh networks.
– More and more experts highlight the importance of cybersecurity not only for huge companies but also for ordinary people. Why did that trend appear and why did you choose this topic for your research?
– This particular era is the digital era. You can notice that all data is stored digitally. Once you store and maintain the information on a server, laptop, or even your smartphone, there are a lot of possibilities of getting hacked and misuse of this data. That is the reason why now cybersecurity is becoming a trend because every piece of data has to be secured. We can take a simple example of bank transactions; this is for a common man. Some forgery could happen, and your data could be hacked when a query is sent. You are just using your ATM card and withdrawing some money. But the malware can be written in such a way that it alters the query and says that money will be transferred from the actual costumer to another account. Also, there are a lot of applications with real-time data accessing, real-time information processing. In these cases, cybersecurity also plays an important role. So that is the reason for conducting this course because students should be aware of this. It is purely for educational purposes. For example, let’s say that someone has hacked my system. I should know how this has happened. And this course is focused on what are cybercrimes, who are cyber criminals, how they plan their attack, and what tools do they have. The Internet of Things is another reason because we use a lot of devices. For example, one person can use three devices at the same time: smartwatch, a smartphone, and also a tablet. These things are connected via Wi-Fi, so someone can hack the system and manipulate data that you are supposed to save. So that are the reasons we need security.
– Could you give some advice to simple Internet users on how to protect their data privacy on the web?
– Nowadays, you can notice that people are becoming very lazy; they don’t bother entering the password. Rather than that, they start saving their password in browsers. So next time when they log in, they have to just click on the username and that’s it. Automatically password will be saved. So the first important thing is that you are not supposed to save the password within the browser. The second is to keep changing the passwords, so make sure that you don’t give the common password for all sites that you use. Thirdly, it is necessary to use services offering multifactor authentication. That is a simple way of protecting ourselves without any technical knowledge.
– What are your impressions about the students of the master's program in English "Computer Science and Knowledge Discovery"?
– I taught for two groups in the master’s programs on Computer Science and Knowledge Discovery at the Department of Software Engineering and Computer Applications. It is a master’s program in English. One group had second-year students, and the other had first-year students. I found that these students are very enthusiastic and eager to learn things. They are very interested in knowing practical things. I was successful enough to attract their attention because I was able to hack a smartphone practically and showed them their contacts. We were even able to successfully take a picture from a smartphone of the guy, who was holding his smartphone in his hands. I was able to hack it and students found it really interesting. I found that the students are really honest and well-disciplined. It made me very happy to know them better.
– It is not your first time at ETU "LETI" and you have spent the last two and a half months teaching here. What are your impressions of our university?
– My first visit to LETI was in 2012. I came here to present my research paper. I came again in 2018 as a keynote speaker at the INTELS conference. Primarily, I work with Professor Kirill Krinkin who is the head of the Department of Software Engineering and Computer Application. I have an association with him for more than 10 years, so he is the person who made me visit here. I should be thankful to him first of all. This particular visit gave me more understanding of LETI than my last two visits. I was able to move around and see the infrastructure. Now since I stayed there for more than three months, I was able to see and understand the university better. One interesting thing that I could notice is that here you don’t have any elevators so it means everyone should walk, even a professor who is more than 70 years old. He is used to climbing on the third floor. That really motivates. We, researchers, should work like them. Another thing is you have a good team. I was able to meet Dmitry Klionsky and other professors, with Margarita Ladgina, who helped me get settled in. They are all very friendly and also very punctual. It made me very interested in this university. They are knowledgeable, friendly, and also trustworthy. Everyone trusts each other here, and this separates this university from others. It is a pack of everything: you have the knowledge, good people, punctuality, and trust. Having these things is really wonderful, and definitely, I will carry these positive vibes that you have in this university to my university.
– What is the difference between academic rules followed in Your University in India and ETU "LETI"?
– In our university, students have two components: attendance and examination. Attendance is compulsory. If students do not have 75% of their attendance, they are not supposed to appear for an exam. Here, I could notice that the aspect of attending is not so important, and a student should be able to appear for the exam. That is the difference. And another thing is the methodology that you follow in teaching. We have 50% of theory and 50% of practice. Here, I could notice that every topic should have a practical component, and there is 30% of theory and 70% of the practice, including 35% in the lab, and 35% as a home assignment. This is the difference that I could notice between our university and LETI.
– Could you share some plans on cooperation with ETU "LETI" in either education or research?
– I’m really glad to collaborate now and in the future. I’m already working with Professor Kirill Krinkin on research. We work on robotics, visual odometry, machine learning, artificial intelligence, and networks. These are topics that are now being actively developed and their demand is constantly increasing. In the future, I’m thinking about collaborating with student-oriented projects. Several students from here and several students from our university should be able to communicate with each other, and we should establish a platform for them. They will be able to participate in events organized here, and this university's students will be able to participate in events in India. That way, they can learn about the culture and also share knowledge. They will work on a common project. We can publish the results and showcase to the world that collaboration between LETI and JSS Science and Technology University developed with a product that will be used around the globe. This will may be helpful for both universities.
– And could you tell us more about existing research with Kirill Krinkin?
– I came here to work on power management in solving the SLAM problem, simultaneous localization and mapping, for autonomous robots. Right now, I got a chance to conduct experiments. Also, we applied an extended common filter for solving the SLAM problem. By finding the depth in stereo images, analyzing the optical flow and taking into account the readings of the inertial sensor, we try to predict the trajectories of mobile robots moving in three-dimensional space (to simplify the picture, we can assume that this is a quadrocopter with a minimum of restrictions on movement). The resulting model of the environment, together with information about the energy in the batteries of a pack of robots, is used for route planning.
– You have spent a lot of time in Saint Petersburg. Do you have any favorite places in our city?
– During my first and second visit, I was able to visit some places. But this is the first time when I came during the winter. I have never been in such kind of temperature. I could feel and see the snowfall. Even though you have snowfalls, this is a very clean city and a beautiful city. It is picture-perfect. Also, I liked the Hermitage Museum, it’s really wonderful, Aurora ship, opening and closing of bridges. These things are very beautiful. I will definitely recommend all my friends to visit this place at least once in their lifetime.
Comment by Dmitry Klionsky, Head of the English-taught program, Deputy Dean of the Faculty of Computer Science and Technology on International Activities
– The visit of Professor Prakash Shiva was very fruitful for the international English-taught program. International students got acquainted with popular and advanced fields of knowledge (cybersecurity, social engineering, cloud computing, Internet of Things, big data analytics, embedded systems) and foreign teaching methods. The learning process in both groups was accompanied by the high enthusiasm and active interest of students in both the information itself and the research.
Such visits increase the level of international educational programs at our university and attract new students. I am grateful to my international students for their enthusiastic interest in the lectures of Professor Prakash Shiva, and to the university for providing the conditions of Professor Shiva's stay in our university and the city. Foreign professors have a friendly attitude to students, the ability to see rare and extraordinary abilities, interest in each individuality, and openness for perspective interaction with bilateral benefit.