Ankit Fadia is an Indian computer security consultant based in Silicon Valley, USA. He has authored several books on computer security. Fadia is currently pursuing his Bachelors in Management Science & Engineering at Stanford University.
Fadia was educated at Delhi Public School. He started a website called “HackingTruths”, which he claims was judged as the “second best hacking site in the world by the FBI”. He claims that when he was 14, he trashed the front page of an Indian magazine’s website. He then sent an e-mail to the editor confessing to the hack, suggesting counter measures. At 15, his book on Ethical Hacking made him the youngest author to be published by Macmillan India. He claims that in 2001, he discovered links between the Chinese government and the China Eagle Union, a cracker group responsible for defacing many U.S. web sites. He stated that the “long-term goal of the Chinese government is actually to take over the internet and control all parts of the internet”. However none of these claims have been proved by substantial evidence so far.
As per his claims, in November 2001, Fadia was consulted by a classified intelligence agency for breaking an encrypted message which was believed to have been sent by one of Osama Bin Laden’s men. No evidence has ever been found to support this claim too. Many publications wrongly reported that Fadia is associated with FBI or CIA, however, he himself denied this.
In April 2002, Rediff.com published an interview with Ankit Fadia. Anti-India Crew (AIC), a Pakistani hacker group noted for defacing Indian Government websites, rubbished the claims that Fadia had made in the interview. Fadia had claimed that his alert to a U.S. spy agency had prevented an attack by Pakistani hackers. However, he never divulged the name of the agency, citing security reasons. AIC and another Pakistani hacker group WFD defaced an Indian Government site, epfindia.gov.in, and “dedicated” it to Fadia in mock deference to his capabilities to hack or prevent hacking. AIC also said that it would be defacing the website of the Central Board of Excise and Customs (CBEC), www.cbec.gov.in, within two days and challenged Fadia to prevent the attack by patching the vulnerable website. AIC maintained that Fadia should stop calling himself a hacker, if it succeeded in hacking the CBEC website. AIC kept its promise and defaced the CBEC website after two days. At another defaced website (bhelhyd.co.in), AIC termed the claims of Indian media about Ankit Fadia as “Bullshit”.
Fadia’s earlier site, Ankitfadia.com, was attacked in 2003, by a cracker who self-identified as SkriptKiddie. Fadia explained that he was using a private web server for hosting his website and they were responsible for the lack of security.
Fadia has also claimed that he works closely with the Government of Singapore. He has also conducted many lectures and workshops for companies, college students and several law enforcement agencies.
In 2005, Fadia said that he is going to write a thriller on the lines of Dan Brown’s Digital Fortress, which he hopes to make into a movie. He claimed that a production company has approached him with a blanket offer. He said that he was also planning a restaurant in Pune or Ahmedabad.
Ankit Fadia has been honored with numerous awards, including the IT Leader Award 2005 and the Indo-American Society Young Achiever Award 2005. In 2002, the Limca Book of Records declared him among the “People of The Year”. Ankit Fadia has also sponsored the “Ankit Fadia Information Security Award”, which is given annually by The Singapore Management University, to an outstanding student in the Information Security and Trust Course under the Bachelor of Science (Information System Management) degree programme.
In 2006, questions were raised about authenticity of Fadia’s various claims at many discussion groups, forums, and mailing lists. This was triggered by a post titled “Ankit Fadia : The real picture”. His critics claim that he is overhyped and point out that he is that he has never developed any hacking technique, tool, or algorithm, and none of his tutorials or books had original content.
Many experts in India have dismissed him as just another fad. Many reviewers at Amazon.com said that he had copied outdated hacking tutorials from the Internet and compiled them into a book.
Ankit Fadia is listed on attrition.org’s Security Scene Errata: Charlatans webpage alongside individuals such as Steve Gibson and Carolyn Meinel. This page seeks to “point out a few cases of fakes walking among us”. Elsewhere on the Errata section of the attrition site, Fadia’s claims in interview are treated with extreme skepticism and subjected to criticism.