Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Hack in the Box: Dubai 2007

Here are some pics of my participation at a recent Security Conference that took place in Dubai, UAE.

Hack in the Box Security Conference Dubai 2007

Image Hosted by ImageShack.us

My Certificate from HITB:

Image Hosted by ImageShack.us

Snapshot with the HITB Banner:

Image Hosted by ImageShack.us

Sam Abdul Rahim Foroutani

Security Advisor Middle East

How many users know how secure are their information systems from possible cyber-attacks?

With technology evolving steps forward into the future, more devices are being manufactured to reach the flexibility of the end users. Information Systems provide end-users the ease to browse through their daily interests, conduct their businesses and simply add value to their knowledge knowing what a huge library the internet represents.

With all the benefits users are taking advantage off, other users tend to generate malicious intentions to cause destruction to different targets. These targets varry from a huge Multi-National Firm, down to a single user.

The moral behind this post is to educate people about Security awareness and its importance. It is important to know your systems very well, and not only to simply "Think" you're secure, but to also put security into practice by making attempts to breach your own systems to test whether your security features are in place.

The key to all the security emphasis remains in the hands of the users themselves. Whether they were regular home-users or security professionals, the need to approach a safe environment for internet users must be intact. Regular users must not totally depend on security experts to solve their problems, however small breaches made by many people turn out to be a reason of not giving much attention and simply lack of awareness.

Hackers and Crackers are everywhere and regular internet users are either not aware of their existence or are aware of them but in both cases don’t give much consideration. What my aim is pointing at clearly is the problem of both “Awareness” and raising the issue to alert people how important “Awareness” means and what significant changes could be done if they only had knew about security measures.

The big problem is, nobody is willing to dedicate belief into implementing the right security features UNTIL disaster strikes. That's when the feeling of regret kicks in and they finally tend to learn from their mistakes, but not all of them do. In Fact, the biggest threat to security is the human-being himself.

Finally, before you actually think of how strongly these tools you have installed are protecting you, it might be good idea to think of how aware are you of what malicious activities hackers could conduct to cause your network damage, steal your credentials, bring down your website, simply causing an inconvenience that's going to make you think "ONLY IF i knew about how important investing into security was, I wouldnt have suffered such loss or damage".

There is no 100% Security, but God gave us brains to gain knowledge and get educated. So educate yourself first, then think if it's really worth passing it onto others. Remember, with Security Awareness, you're always contributing to a safe, hacker-free, environment for all users to enjoy the use of technology and make use of its advantages of how it could simplify many things in our daily lives.

Recently I was interviewed by a lead Security Magazine "Security Advisor, Middle East" on the importance of educating the next generation users on how essential security becomes as technology evolves.

Here's a pic of both the Magazine, and the Interview.

Image Hosted by ImageShack.us

Image Hosted by ImageShack.us

Sam Abdul Rahim Foroutani

Sunday, April 1, 2007

Sinful Combo: Lie & Deception

Liars.... Liars..... Liars.... they are all over this world... A lie is basically an "UN-TRUTHFUL" statement made to someone else with the intention to deceive. Clearly a very bad intention and if transformed into a habit, it could lead to severe consquences in this life and the here-after. What makes people lie and deny the truth is a feature that exists in every human brain.

I directly quote this feature found in every human brain from the Quraan, where Allah (SWT) says: "Lies, aggression and hostility come from the prefrontal lobe of the brain (behind the forehead)". Below is an image that represents the words said for better explanation.

Image Hosted by ImageShack.us

Image Hosted by ImageShack.us

Truthfulness is one of the pillarson which the moral survival of the world depends on. It is the foundation of praiseworthy characteristics and the foundation of the prophethood.

On the other hand, Islam has its perception on lying by allowing it to happen strictly with 3 cases, as described from the Sunnah.

It was narrated that Asma’ Bint Yazeed said: “The Messenger of Allah (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) said: ‘It is not permissible to tell lies except in three (cases): when a man speaks to his wife in a way to please her; lying in war; and lying in order to reconcile between people.’”
(Narrated by al-Tirmidhi, 1939)

A quote coming from Man-kind's perception on lies:

"Liars begin by imposing upon others, but end deceiving themselves"

Last but not least, i really support this paragraph as it really makes you think twice before you actually want to end up lying and become a slave to other people in this world. We are all slaves ONLY to one superior God, nothing more, nothing less....

"People think that a liar gains a victory over his victim. A lie is an act of self-abdication, because one surrenders one's reality to the person to whom one lies, making that person one's master, condemning oneself from then on to faking the sort of reality that person's view requires to be faked. And if one gains the immediate purpose of the lie - the price one pays is the destruction of that which was intended to serve.

The man who lies to the world, is the world's slave from then on"

Sam Abdul Rahim Foroutani

Saturday, February 24, 2007

The gift in your heart: " Hope "

In our everyday life, we tend to face challenges of different kinds. Some are harsh, some are easy to tackle. No matter what challenge shines on me, the question that I raise to myself always is, who's my only true, existent hope that I know if I refer to & believe in, will never leave me hopeless?......

Hope is our desire for something to happen, while expecting or being confident that it ill come true. My view shows me that in order for me to always retrieve something confidently, I will have to look onto a source who has the power to allow anything to happen. This source should be able to allow the impossibles turn into possibles when there is evidence to the contrary.

Whenever a problem occurs to us throughout our life-time, we tend to be impatient about it being solved and getting rid of this misery that could cause us enter in many dilemmas and confusion. Who doesn't like to live happily without having any issues rolling through one's head?!
The level which diffrentiates the people who are able to solve this misery from the people who are impatient and tend to give up easily is simply a matter of "Hope".

Solving a problem doesn't only stop at being hopefull, but it stops at which source are you seeking "Hope" from. Could it be from another human who has limited abilities and cant guarratee you'll be getting what you were aiming for? Naturally, no matter how big the problem is, or how small it can become, your One & Only hope is above the heavens & the skies watching upon you every single second. He sees how much of him do you remember, and how many times do you refer to him.... When all tunnels show you a dark dead end to a problem, always let that hope in your heart come out because that hope ALWAYS remains shining at the end of the tunnel facing the skies.

We were all born with this hope embedded in ourselves. The true challenge is who can make use of this hope to lead him confidently against obstacles in life.

I Quote Stallone from Rocky Balboa saying: " Its not about how easy you could face the challenges in life, but it's how hard life hits you, and how long you keep standing on your feet everytime you get hit".

That's an important teaching coming from a simple human-being who is simply like myself & everyone else. Does this achieve full confidence in yourself? Does this guarrantee you will be stronger in life? It could boost your self-esteem for a while but it's not going to last long, bcoz these words are of certain powers that lasts till a certain phase until it perishes away and is replaced with new words by someone else.

Look on the other hand, the true hope that lies inside you gifted by your sole creator, Allah. The words of Allah, are certainly never to be replaced by any other words ever. I quote Allah (SWT) Saying: "64:11. Nothing happens to you except in accordance with GOD's will. Anyone who believes in GOD, He will guide his heart. GOD is fully aware of all things."

He who is a true believer in Allah would naturally recognize that nothing happens without God's will. So if there's anything you want from this life, it's him and only him that you should refer to.

Last but not least, I sum this up with a final quote from the Quran. Allah (SWT) says: "When my servants ask you concerning Me, I am indeed close (to them). I listen to the prayer of every supplicant when he calls on Me. . ." [Baqarah:186]

Ask him.... He will never let you down, on the condition that you believe in him and submit to him.

May I remain from those believers who will always refer, in good/bad times, to the lord of creations, the One and Only, Allah. Amin.

Image Hosted by ImageShack.us

Sam Abdul Rahim Foroutani

Monday, February 19, 2007

Trust? You Decide!

Trust?..... Who to Trust?...... When to Trust?..... How to Trust?..... all these questions raise controversial issues revolving around the centerpoint of "Trust".

Thinking about Trust, already, we put a lot of trust in people we dont even know. For example, we are trusting, when we drive down the road, the person in the next lane wont swerve into us. We also trust that the grocery store where we buy our food, is selling us healthy safe food. We even trust that when we walk down the street, no one will come up with an axe and chop us apart! lol :) We put our lives in the hands of bus and taxi drivers, pilots, doctors, butchers, and just about every time we step outside our homes, we are putting a certain amount of trust in someone else.

Maybe you are thinking, that you dont trust anyone, but, if you didnt trust anyone, then you would probably never ever leave your home right :) Well guess what? Even in your home, you are still trusting that the construction company builder has built you a safe long-lasting place to live in.

Coming to a message, from these examples, is that we all trust other people to a certain extent. Above all we trust Allah because he was, is and will always be our sole creator and our Lord who gave us this existence on earth.

Sometimes, you should think about how to start the journey of trusting yourself before you can actually trust others. People have done mistakes in their lives, and nobody is close to perfection.

My Advice, no matter what, always have Trust in your parents, they are the sole people on this planet that always want the best for their children.

Trust Allah, Trust Urself, Trust Ur Parents....... Live Life with a Smile without any worries :)

Wednesday, February 14, 2007

The Best Reward: Honouring One's Parents

Parents, who are they truly? Is it just the regular concept of having a Mother & Father? Or perhaps a couple who Allah joined together to bring you to life? There's a lot more to honour in them.....

All religions and societies have given parents an honoroable status. From a material viewpoint, we find ourselves indebted to our parents, in specific our mother. She not only nourished us in her womb, but she also went through a lot of pain and suffering. She loved to have us even before we were born. She toiled us when we were totally helpless infants. She spent sleepless nights caring for us. She simply did a lot more, along with the help of our father, just to see us grow from infants into teenagers into Adults.... Is that enough to highlight their importance in life?

Our parents, formed as a team, have seeked to provide with the best physical, educational, psychological and in many instances religious, moral and spiritual help. It becomes obligatory for us to offer utmost kindness, respect and obedience to them.

From a religious viewpoint, Islam addressed the importance of parents in great detail. The Quranic commandments, as well as the sayings of our beloved Prophet Mohammed(PBUH) guide us in this matter.

The Holy Quraan has mentioned the importance of parents at least 15 times. Allah has clarified to his creations that he demands us to turn our attentions and highlight the importance of honouring one's parents. As an example, taken from the Holy Quraan, Allah (SWT) Says:

"And We have enjoined on man (to be good) to his parents. In travail upon travail did his mother bear him, and in two years was his weaning. Show gratitude to Me and to thy parents; to Me is thy final goal." (Chapter31: verse14)

According to the above verse, gratitude to Allah is incomplete without showing gratitude to one's parents. Since being grateful to Allah is a form of Ibada (Worship) which earns heavenly rewards, it can therefore mean that being grateful to one's parents also earns heavenly rewards inshALLAH.

Our beloved Prophet Mohammed (PBUH) had given important talks about parents. From the Hadeeth, I quote our Prophet (PBUH) saying:

"Paradise lies under the feet of the mother"

"God's pleasure is in the pleasure of the father, and God's displeaure is in the displeasure of the father".

"He who wishes to enter Paradise through its best door must please his parents".

"It is a pity that some people may not attain Paradise, on account of not serving their old parents".

"If a person looks with love at his parents, God writes in his favor the reward equal to the performance of one Hajj."

Read these quotes and think how amazingly important parents are to be treated. Look at the teachings of our Prophet (PBUH). I hope inshAllah all believers in Allah will have a chance to think deeply on how significant this concept is. Just remember, your parents are your friends, are your family, are your soul...... Love them and Care for them from the bottom of your heart.... Follow the teachings of Islam...... and never forget the tremendous reward you'll be receiving in return for being faithfull to them.....

The question is, have you thought enough if you've managed to give them back 1/4 of what they gave you throughout your entire life?.....Think about it....

Let us pray to Allah that He guide us to be respectful, kind, and obedient to our parents, and that we continue to show them humility regardless of the power, position, wealth, and influence we may possess.

Let us also pray that we be patient, kind, thoughtful, and friendly with our children, as we guide them through their lives, and that we discharge our responsibilities towards them as required by our religion, so that Allah may be pleased with us, and may He Bless and reward us, both in this world and in the Hereafter.

Mama, Baba, I really Love you a lot and may Allah have Mercy on your souls and allow you to enter the highest levels of Heaven in the after-life. Amin.

Image Hosted by ImageShack.us

Sam Abdul Rahim Foroutani


- Holy Qur'an, Abdullah Yusuf 'Ali's Translation

Sunday, February 11, 2007

My Empire

This is a non-fiction story on how Samsoom's Empire began ---progressed--- grew to become what it is presently.

It all started with the creation of a Blood clot in the womb. There I was, born on Dec 9th, 1984 with Iranian/Lebanese Nationality at Dubai Hospital located in the United Arab Emirates. My journey began into this life with the submission of faith to our creator(Allah).

I was brought up by two lovely parents who showed complete care & devotion into raising me with best manners, best behaviour, biggest heart to love and forgive, best education, best success, and strongest committment to a beautiful religion known as Islam.

I began my life right from Kindergarden where I attended a French Nursery in Jumeirah for a few years. Knowing how shy I am, my mother suffered quite a bit to get me into the school without having to run outside the main entrance a few times! ;) Fun times! I recall that I used fall a lot and broke my middle finger several times for running away! haha, guess it was my punishment for not listening to my mother :) Anyhow, I was a good boy in class, and the Nursery Owner loved my potentials to learn the French Language and get along with the other kids. cUTe DaYz! :)

Here's a picture of Samsoom :)

Image Hosted by ImageShack.us

It was then time for me to begin High School. Ive earned my Highschool education at Al Mawakeb School, Dubai. I spent all my 12 years learning at that school where I came accross a lot of amazing friends who I've grew up with till this very moment. Guys, if you're reading this, you know its you guys that im talking about ;) Fdeitkom! =)

By June 2001, the 12 years were complete, having earned 12 years of education, my Highschool career came to an end. The day I waited for during those years finally appears in the picture :)

Image Hosted by ImageShack.us

It was then time for me to carry on to a higher level of education by enrolling at The American University in Dubai to pursue a Bachelors Degree in Information Technology. I spent 4 years learning about computers and information systems. At the sametime, I went through a lot of Ups and Downs in my personal life. But thanks God 1st and 2nd to my parents, I managed to succeed and reach the end of these 4 years with success and achieve what seems to be shown in the picture :)

Image Hosted by ImageShack.us

Was my educational success all over by that time? Nahhh! it was time to move on to an even higher level, but this time it was at a different location. With the help of an Istekhara, guidance from my parents and support from my friends, I decided to carry on to earn a Masters Degree. I applied to Royal Holloway, University of London and got accepted. This was just the beginning of a journey that taught me a lot about independancy and the true meaning of living life on your own.

I pursued my Masters Degree in MSC Information Security. Recalling at the fact that I was into computers and technology, i decided to carry on within the same field, except this time from a different perspective.... Yes... Security! ;) Hackers? Here I come!!!

It was the first time I lived abroad without having my family by my side. I managed to find a lot of difficulties the first couple of months as the "HomeSick" feeling began to kick in.... Nevertheless, I thank God for responding to all my prayers of making me stronger and make me believe that i was destined to face challenges during life only to make myself stronger. The case was true :) I did become much stronger and carried on with the degree! Al Hamdillah I have succeeded, made my parents very proud of me, at the same time earned my respect in the business world.

It was finally time to come back HOME SWEET HOME to Dubai where I believed my future will carry on from here rather than remaining in London. It was time for my Working Career to begin establishing slowly towards setting my goals that I aim high to achieve with time inshALLAH! :) I began working close by my Father(may God protect him) in the family business which involves The World of Hand-Made Iranian Carpets (FARCO Establishment).
URL: www.farco-est.com
- Largest Hand-Made Carpet Showroom in the UAE
- Owned the Worlds Largest Hand-Made Carpets in 1997, 2001, 2003.
- Guiness Book of Records holder for Largest Hand-Made Carpet in the World.

Image Hosted by ImageShack.us

Although you might be thinking huh? computers? carpets? two different worlds... Indeed you are obviously correct. But what I did exactly was I returned my father's favor with total respect to his wants by helping him out in the business knowing that I will have to be taking over the company in the future inshAllah. At the sametime, I surely didnt put an end to my field of study, where i managed to find an amazing job at SCANIT (The Security Company)
URL: www.scanit.net
- Security Services for Telecom, Oil/Gas, Airline, Banking Sectors.
- Protection of the entire Middle East Region against illegitimate Hackers & Crackers.

Image Hosted by ImageShack.us

So now, working with 2 jobs, 6 days a week, it can sometimes become very hectic :) But my advice to whoever is reading this.... If you dont put your efforts and keep trying, you will never succeed in the future. Work hard to achieve your goals. Commit to all your duties for religion, seek help from Allah, and seek support from family & friends. This way, you will be on your way to the top of the peak inshAllah.

To conclude... there really is no conclusion to My Empire as long as im still alive (hamdillah)... I just thank all the people who supported me and thank God for allowing all this to happen... May i reach my goals successfully, and may I use my powers to spread the kheir(good-will) accross this world, save the poor, raise a family, make my parents proud and last but not least most importantly earn ridha Rabbi :) Amin.

One day..... One day....... One day....... InshAllah.....

Sam Abdul Rahim Foroutani.