I am Balachandran Sivakumar, a millenial from the southern state of Tamil Nadu in India, currently living with my wife in Bengaluru. I grew up in Chennai and later in Tiruchirappalli (Tiruchi for short). I did my B.E. in Thiagarajar College of Engineering, Madurai, graduating with a B.E. in Computer Science and Engineering. My seniors, alumni and staff in the college introduced me to Free software and GNU/Linux for the first time - My time with such wonderful people in GLUGOT and Glug-Madurai has significantly shaped my thoughts, opinions and ideology on knowledge in general and software in particular. This also has given me a reasonable understanding of the political ideologies of "free software" and the pragmatism of "open source", and hence I go with the term FLOSS whenever I talk about free and/or open source software.
I currently work for a cyber security startup and my day job primarily focuses on Network security, and intrusion prevention. Prior to this, I worked for McAfee Enterprise for several years, focussing on Email Security, Data Protection and privacy. And, as an ardent supporter of and evangelist for Free/Libre Open Source Software, knowledge liberation and personal privacy, I devote a significant part of my free/personal time towards various FLOSS development efforts.
Having been in the cyber security industry for over 13 years (as of 2022), I have first hand experience of the kind of attacks and crimes the cyber landscape has. I have worked with some of the biggest names in the defense, insurance, finance and banking industry in deploying large state-of-the-art security systems, both on-premises and in the cloud. I have first hand experience on how extensive and focussed the data exfiltration and data thefts are, and how serious phish campaigns can be. I have seen people and corporations lose money (and credibility too for corporations) as a result of cyber crimes and more recently ransomware. Helping people stay safe and secure online is not just a day job for me, it is also a personal cause. As amazing and informational the Internet is, it has its share of predators and criminals that terrorise innocent people. It needs help from every possible source to keep the Internet a safe place.
God has given me great parents, a great wife and through various phases in my life, some excellent teachers, mentors and friends. I will always have a debt of gratitude to Ms. Mary and Mr. Satyanarayanan who taught English and Mathematics respectively in class (a.k.a grade in some countries) 9 and 10. Mr. RSV (Mathematics), Mr. SSN (Physcis), Mr. RC (Chemistry), Mr. VR (Mathematics) and Mr. VSR (Physics) - some of the best teachers in the country who taught me the said subjects in class 11 and 12 have all had profound impact in how I think and live. The country needs more such teachers to nurture students into highly ethical, moral and brilliant minds. During my short time at Motorola Solutions (since acquired by NSN) and later at McAfee, I have had as mentors, some of the most brilliant minds in the software industry. Not only have they lead and lived by example, but they have also been guiding and supporting me as friends. I owe any and all achievements in my career to those wonderful people. I hope that I’ll be just as good to the people that I get to mentor and lead in future.