My Thick Accent

From Humble Beginnings to Cybersecurity Stardom: Parul Khanna's Extraordinary Journey | Ep. 041

August 10, 2023 Gurasis Singh Season 1 Episode 41
My Thick Accent
From Humble Beginnings to Cybersecurity Stardom: Parul Khanna's Extraordinary Journey | Ep. 041
Show Notes Transcript Chapter Markers

Prepare to be captivated as we journey with Parul Khanna, a cybersecurity standout and the visionary behind the YouTube sensation, Parul TV. A man of remarkable resilience, Parul takes us from his humble beginnings in Jalandhar, Punjab to the pinnacle of cybersecurity, while also detailing his journey of self-discovery and personal growth. His story, punctuated by unwavering family support and a strong commitment to make a positive difference in the world, will inspire you to challenge your own limits.

An account hack served as a turning point for Parul, led him down a path of self-exploration and learning, culminating in the unearthing of his true passion for cybersecurity. Hear how he went from struggling academically to helping police with cases, discovering security vulnerabilities in bank accounts and eventually starting his own cybersecurity company.

Parul's journey is not just about cybersecurity. His unique approach to content creation for his YouTube channel, which offers videos in English, Hindi, Punjabi, and Urdu, has amassed a whopping 42 million plus views, making him a content creation maestro. Parul's journey is filled with significant milestones. Tune in to hear more about Parul's extraordinary journey in cybersecurity and content creation, his challenges, his support system, and his phenomenal success. You won't want to miss it.

Follow the host and the podcast on Social Media channels below:  

_________________________________________

To contact Parul:


Don't forget to leave a comment or a rating!

Stay tuned for the exciting new episode every Thursday and let's continue knowing each other Beneath The Accent!


Want to share your story? Or know someone I should invite next on the show? DM us or write to us at Hello@mythickaccent.com


Gurasis:

Hi, this is Gurasis Singh and you're listening to My Thick Accent Podcast. There are a lot of stories you hear, and then there are stories you want to revisit again and again to get inspired. These are the stories that need to be celebrated, and today we have the privilege of sharing one such remarkable journey. Born in Jalandhar, punjab, our guest path to success has been shaped by his determination, resilience and the passion for making a positive impact in the world. Despite facing challenges and academics, his parents' unwavering support and encouragement allowed him to remain honest with himself regarding his career choices. It was a life-changing event during his teenage years that set him on a path he could have never anticipated, where he took matters into his own hands and embarked on a journey of self-learning, mastering the intricacies of cybersecurity.

Gurasis:

He's a trailblazer who is making waves in the world of content creation, and he is not your average content creator. With a triple threat of expertise in cybersecurity, immigrating to Canada and now personal finance, he stands out in the league of his own and has guided countless individuals towards stability and success in Canada. His YouTube channel has struck a chord with the South Asian community, especially international students from India. He understands the importance of catering to diverse linguistic backgrounds and offers videos in English, hindi, punjabi and Urdu. This inclusive approach has made him a trusted source of information and inspiration for millions of people. What started as a humble channel with just 10 followers has blossomed into a powerhouse platform with over 400,000 followers on social media and a staggering 42 million plus views. Allow me as I introduce the phenomenal and Indian-born cybersecurity executive, career coach and the visionary behind the immensely popular YouTube channel, parul TV. Please welcome Parul Khanna.

Parul:

Hey Gurasis. Hi, everyone!

Gurasis:

Welcome to the podcast, Parul. I think you were one of the initial people I had on my list when I started working on the podcast back in 2021 and I wasn't sure how it's going to happen, how I'm going to bring you on the podcast, but very excited to have you welcome once again.

Parul:

Thank you so much. I think it's my pleasure. When I heard about your initiative, I personally was touched because I have been listening to podcasts for quite a while. I think that there was a gap in Canadian side when you talk about immigrants and there was nobody doing this. The fact because only popular channels are inviting people who are from different backgrounds and different professions the part where the immigrant section hits in. I didn't see many initiatives. I personally make videos for immigrants and international students. I could resonate what you are trying to bring out here and sharing everyone's journey. I think there's learning for everyone from everyone's life story. Definitely, this is a great initiative. I'm glad, thank you.

Gurasis:

Awesome, thank you. Thank you for your kind words. Tell me, if not a YouTuber and if not a cybersecurity expert, what would Parul would have been?

Parul:

YouTube.

Parul:

These are the things that I did not choose myself. They chose me. My life situations were in a way that I had to take this and I had to explore these. I never had a second option. Actually, I could think about myself. I actually wanted to be very frank.

Parul:

When I was in my teenage, I really wanted to be on TV and really wanted to be famous or successful. Whenever I see these things, I really auditioned quite a lot for a lot of shows that come on TV. If it's about singing, I'm going there standing in the lines, I'm going to Chandigarh from Jalandhar. Or if it's, let's say, mtv, youtube Vlogging Hunt and blah blah, I was trying everything and anything that was coming on my way because I wanted to see myself on TV. That was something that I was exploring. But whatever is happening right now, by God's grace that's a reality. But yeah, I would be doing something on TV for sure. That's what my main goal was. But, yeah, there were other plans. I actually auditioned for Big Boss 3 also.

Parul:

No, really Many years ago. Yeah, there was a call out for people from the audience. So I'll share a news clipping with you. You can share it. Add it on the video. So they were going to select somebody from a local audience and I got a chance to be in top 10. I made it by Jalandhar Chandigarh, mumbai auditions and then eventually, I didn't get selected and I was kicked out again. But, yeah, I gave my best. But, yes, we are here now Cybersecurity and YouTube, so I think I'm enjoying the journey. So far.

Gurasis:

What year was that when you auditioned for Big Boss?

Parul:

Big Boss 3. Let me see, I think 2009 or 10, I believe Something like that. Yeah, I have the news. I have the news clipping. I'll go back and check Big Boss 3. I don't know what year was that, but yes, that's quite a fun. I was graduating from my high school and also similarly in that zone, 11th or 12th I think.

Gurasis:

Okay.

Parul:

Okay.

Gurasis:

Well, you did talk about coming on TV. You did not go to that TV, but you created your own TV, which was the power of TV.

Parul:

That's the reason for the name. That's why I chose the name Okay, Because I really wanted to do this. So my life story is more of like a roller coaster. So when we talk about whatever I have been doing, whatever I have been suffering through during my education and everything, we're going to talk about it, I believe. So it's a roller coaster, Right? So I have been getting, sometimes I'm getting a lot of fame and sometimes I'm completely on the ground and then again back to Canada.

Parul:

So the journey is like ups and downs. So at one point I was kind of missing the part of like why people don't know me, Like what am I doing wrong? And that's how, actually, we came into this power of TV journey and I was like let's do try to solve some problem, let's try to share things. And when you know you go online and you see some things and you know that you can do better, I was like maybe I can do better, but no, I don't sound really good or maybe I don't look so handsome to be on screen. So there were some insecurities in the beginning Of course we overcome that with time.

Gurasis:

I think Well we'll definitely get into the power of TV journey, but before that, let's start from the start. Let me take you back to the time you spend in India, specifically Jalandhar, and I feel like those initial years of your life definitely leave some sort of impact to the later years of your life. They build those years. I would say Tell us a little bit about your childhood and what were you doing before you moved.

Parul:

So eventually, let's go back in time now, jalandhar, punjab I was born in. I was born in a very hardworking family. My mother has been running a school for children, sacred Heart School, jalandhar and my father was into higher trade and business. So we were doing really well. And if we talk about my educational and academic journey, it wasn't fun. Trust me, it wasn't fun because I wasn't really smart. When you talk about grades or getting good scores in mathematics or science, it was a mess, like I was barely making from one year to another. But there's a big thing that was supporting me and that was my family, always supporting me and telling me oh, it's okay, you're fine, you can do better next year. So my academic journey hasn't been fun. I actually share that with everyone that I like.

Parul:

People say, oh, I miss my school, I miss my childhood. I do, but not all of it, not the part where I was always, you know, not getting good scores and you know there was the social dilemma of competing and everything outside of school. I was happy. My family is like okay, 35 out of 100, you made it nice, let's go next. I only liked two things when I was in school.

Parul:

When we talk about my school journey computers and English. And these are the only two subjects where I was more proud of myself, rest of them not really fun. I could never take more than 35 marks in mathematics, 7th, 8th, 9th, 10th. So when you know the 10th grade comes in, everyone starts kicking in. Oh I have to go for engineering, I have to go for business, mba, common. For me there was not many options because I wasn't good in any of those core subjects that will decide your career. But I was good in computers. So I was said okay, let's push you in non-medical or try your luck, because if you want to get into computers or IT, that's the only way you can get through. Otherwise, no, otherwise do something on your own. But again, we don't think that that will be that quick. But the safest path is take for engineering, is go for non-medical. I personally failed very badly in physics, chemistry in my science and everything pre-bords. I knew.

Parul:

But I was like let's take the challenge. My family was it's okay, whatever will happen, we are with you. If you're not making it through, nobody's at least will provide you food and everything. So that's what the basic things we can do. But don't then compare yourself with others, because everyone is doing their own and we think you are smart.

Gurasis:

You can do it.

Parul:

I was like okay, we got into non-medical. We had to actually sign some papers with my school because they said eventually, by my history, they said this guy's gonna fail very badly, he's only good for arts or nothing. Don't push him in non-medical. They were like he wants to go, he wants to become a computer engineer. I actually didn't, went for computer engineering later, but that's another part. Anyway, we went for it.

Parul:

High school. You know, when we are in India and plus one, plus two people start joining these engineering entrance exams on the day, one of your class, like like average people like me, are struggling with the CBSC curriculum and the others are already preparing for IIT, eit, eitee, police. It's a mess for me. It's like, oh my God, I don't even have had to go for exams, but let's just pass on by the CBSC exams. So I managed to pass my 11th standard and then when 12th comes in, the reality kicks in and you are in the final stage. It's like you know video game you are on the final level, the dragon level, and I knew that something is going to happen. And eventually, when you go for exams and you come home, you know things are not going right. I told my family already the exams are not going really well. I might get stuck. And they were like okay, if you get stuck, no problem, you can go for an exam again.

Parul:

And eventually, when the results came out, I actually failed in chemistry and I managed to pass in mathematics. I was expecting the opposite, that I might fail in mathematics and I might, you know, have something better in other subjects. They were like okay, fine. I still remember that moment. You know like you are on the computer screen, you put in your roll number and everyone is sitting next to your whole family is like cheering you up, like yeah, yeah, and then it says compartment not qualified.

Parul:

I think that was the biggest turning point of my life Because I never had like that kind of extreme failure, with some pressure and social pressure and the relatives keeping on, you know, asking on what happened. So we're going, your brothers are going, cousins are going there, they have their pictures in the newspapers. I was always compared by some of my relatives with my you know cousins that they are doing really well. They have pictures after their 10th exam. You didn't have anything, you'll do better, blah, blah, blah. So all those things kicked in. It's actually. It sounds like a movie story, but it's actually real, this happens.

Gurasis:

Well, I well, I think it's. It definitely happens with especially the South Asian community, that the relatives play a major role and we do things because of societal pressure and, just like you, I also got into non-medical just because of societal pressure. I didn't want to get into it and guess what, I never touched science after that. And another thing you mentioned, you know, about parents, and I think one thing I've seen among common amongst many content creators is it's either their parents were never supportive and they were a rebel, and then end up the parents end up supporting them, or there were situations where parents were supporting since the beginning and you they were supporting you. So before we even thought of becoming a content creator, tell me, parul, that, how much important it is for these parents to support their children and not put that pressure on them to get good grades or compare them with other people.

Parul:

I think it's really, really important, because this work starts when you like. For example, if we talk about parents supporting children in 11th or 12th grade, I don't think that is going to help much. It should start on the baseline level when somebody is very young. I didn't knew until I was being groomed into somebody who can make his decisions and choices since I was in fifth grade or sixth grade right.

Parul:

So this work should start like many, many years ago, because at that point I wasn't realizing that the kind of support I'm getting. For example, I was never said bars on you are going to get 80% marks will get you a bike or a video game. And even if they they were setting something, they were like, okay, you got 60, you still get it, it's fine. So, like my friends were like, you know, we got 80 and we are not getting all those games, and you got 55 and you're still having fun. How come? I was like I don't know, man, my parents are just cool.

Parul:

I don't know what was in their mindset, but it actually changed my life a lot. I was like, okay, let me do something better. They already had expectations. I didn't do well as per their expectations, even if they had the real expectations or no, I don't know. But you know, next time let's try to do better, maybe they'll feel happier. They are happier already, I know.

Parul:

So I think that kind of psychology when kicks in at the early stages of your life, it shapes your mind into doing something on your own rather than being forced into something becoming a doctor or lawyer, and specifically the part if we're talking about. You know, the phases of 2001 to 2010, versus 2011 to 2020, this 10 years, the technology revolution is completely unbelievable. So those job options are now not very traditional fields where people are pushing their kids to just go into a government job or become an engineer. There are so many things to make money or living these days with online businesses and everything, so I think definitely there should be some push to the parents to you know, start the process of grooming and starts the process of giving freedom to their children in quite early ages so that they can make decisions on their own.

Gurasis:

It's very important.

Parul:

And if the support was not there. So let's take parole of, you know, 2010 or 2009,. When I failed, just imagine if they were pushing me. No, no, no, you failed, you are done by. Nothing can help you now.

Parul:

Just do something, become, you know, a lawyer or something, or just take a license to do some insurance anything they could have pushed me in any trade that could have made money. So their goal was not that I should make money. Their goal was I should do something that I really enjoy and the fact that I was enjoying computers and they give me that path to fail. They might have that idea you know that this guy's gonna fail in 2011,. But they were like let him try. And later they told me they said we wanted you to try so that you don't come back to us many years later that you didn't let me do what I wanted.

Parul:

We knew that you are only good in computers because I was the one you know when you are introduced technology to in quite early ages. You are the one who knows everything. Okay, I can fix your computer. So everyone at this little guy is going to fix my computer or install new windows or make connections. I used to do those kind of things for everyone. I was famous in my whole family. I was famous in my whole family, in my whole neighborhood. So it was already there. I just had to explore which way I'll go and I knew that I'm going to do something with computers only because that's what I'm good with and till date I'm continuing it. I didn't live it.

Gurasis:

Yeah, I mean the way you were saying this clearly shows that that support that they gave you has really made you what you are today. I mean it has definitely fostered that close relationship with your parents. At the same time, you were not pressurized to become something you don't want to become and they still gave you the opportunity to try things which you might have to get it later on. So this is incredible and I really hope that if any of the you all do have listeners from India and if any parents are listening to this or the children are listening to this, make your parents listen to this that this is necessary to really really help students, kind of try and put them in a place where they don't feel that pressurized in this society.

Gurasis:

But let's just talk about you know your first encounter with hacking, and it was just after your 12th grade results. You mentioned that we're. Unfortunately, chemistry was a challenge and you had to give an exam multiple times to clear the grade and then to add more fuel to the fire. Your account, our good account, the famous awkward days got hacked and some not so family, family friendly pictures were posted on your account, and then police was also clueless and then you took the matters in your own hand and you ended up finding the culprit. So my question is who was it? I'm just kidding, no, not that much. Tell us, you were just a teen there. No, how did you process all that?

Parul:

So you know eventually. So let's, let's go back in time. Now I have failed. And eventually you know when you are in school and everyone is, you know, going ahead with their life and relationships and everything, and I had this picture in my mind like what everyone is going to think about me. So that part is there. And then suddenly your online account is hacked, where you have been posting and showing off a lot of things about your lifestyle and everything, whatever you do right, social media was quite new at that time and you're posting and making quotes and everything. And suddenly there are some random pictures and those messages being sent to all the girls of your class.

Parul:

It's like, man, this is so shameful, like I have failed. And now this is like I personally believe that some people might have gone into depression. You know, if you take it that way, that not everyone is super strong. So I was like, okay, whatever it is. So I shared with my parents and then they were like okay, let's report it. You don't know how to do it. I don't know, nobody knows, let's take help.

Parul:

And when we went to the local police and they were like we don't know, man, we already have too many cases. Look, look at this file and they bring somebody else. Hey, this is our IT guy. Tell him what. What's happening with you? We have many other cases where people are losing lakhs of rupees online, online scams. Come on, man, you are nothing, forget about it, just just don't log in anymore. So I was like no, that's, that's not happening.

Parul:

And the fact that I feel there is a in CBC, you get a chance to reappear for the exam in a month. If you are good with that exam, you are okay. You can still go for counseling and get into engineering. I feel that exam too, and I think that was the pressure I was preparing. My parents put me with the teacher. I was not able to like the things were not processing in my head because I was so messed up. I failed again, and once you fail that, you have to wait one year. Then you become a private candidate. You are no more a school student, so you have to wait one year. One year is a long time.

Parul:

And then I think what I'll do for one year. Like everyone is like, hey, I'm going to NIT, I'm going to IIT, I'm going into you know, this university, that college, where are you going? I'm going nowhere, I am at home. And then I was like, okay, let's look into this case. I went to the website. There was a website called hack forums Now it's not not active anymore. So people were sharing their creator fishing page. This is the tutorial. Blah blah started taking it down because I was in computer. Like, okay, let's try this. And I set it up. I set the trap and I eventually was able to investigate on my own some things and I got some numbers, ip addresses, and then I went to the police again. I was like here you go. And they were like oh, okay, not everyone has not many people have static IP address or internet connection.

Parul:

We might get some sort of it. So we tried to investigate it and eventually we were able to get few names from. There was a company called HFCL connect at that time, so connect broadband. Yeah, it's an IP internet company. So we, we, we tried to get something from them and eventually we got to know from which location, roughly this was happening. But then my family said that I know that person.

Parul:

Yeah, I think so I won't talk about it much, but I was told by my family, like you should not let them go, man, it's a. It's a. It's not something that is changing your life. It's not. It's almost almost been eight months now, so forget about it. But then the police guys said that how about you help us with all these cases that we have? The problem in India is that when you are talking with somebody in government and all there, you know there there are a lot of things you have to consider before you work with everyone and anyone. But again, my family supported me. Again.

Gurasis:

They were like okay, you can do something.

Parul:

You can try. You don't have to do anything, don't take any money, just do it to learn. And I was able to help them with one of the cases and then I got to know that there is a full fledged field for this and eventually, online, there are courses and there is a strategic or process. You know, there's a way to do these things and it's like CID or all those TV shows you watch. There's a step by step investigation and forensics. And I started taking those courses on the side.

Parul:

Again, those were paid by my family and I wanted to order the books. So my elder brother, prince Khanna he was earning at that time 7000 to 8000 rupees a month Okay, my family said you want to explore, it's okay, but if you're asking for 10,000 rupees just in a month, we just wait. Man, just do whatever you're doing on the computer. My brother gave his whole one month salary to me to order those books from Amazoncom. In Amazonin there were no books, so you have to order fromcom. It's in dollars. The book is like 50-40 dollars. Like I need 4 or 6 books, man. My brother said, okay, let's get you the books, but I don't have a credit card. So then he asked his boss to use his credit card to help me in buying those books and eventually he will pay him when his salary arrives. So he got me those books and then I get to know the full steps so that I can act more like a subject matter expert when I'm talking to the police or somebody. And we started using those tips and tricks and all those you know, all those vectors added up in and eventually I got to know the whole process and I was doing more work now by just doing these freelance cases.

Parul:

And then one of the cases that came in was there were around 67 lakhs transferred from one of Jalandhar's industrialist account to some random accounts and police was not able to help. So then they contacted me by some references and then eventually I went to them and I took care of it by asking them questions, looking at their computers, investigating. I found there was something on their machines and they were tracking from China and basically they had access to their PNV accounts, punjab National Bank accounts and there was no two factor authentication at that time. You have net making password, boom, you are in. So what the attackers were doing were they were taking 1 lakh rupees every few days from their account and the account was quite big. It was like crores of rupees going in and out every week. So they didn't notice it for months. They noticed it when they were doing the audits for the taxation and all. Where did that? Like 1 crore of rupees missing.

Parul:

So I helped with them, I worked with them eventually and that made to the news and that came into all the front news in the Punjabi English everywhere that 19 year old is helping the police and small businesses. That was again a breaking point, because when you go to a national news, everyone knows you and everyone knows you. If everyone knows you, many of them will have the same problem. And then I started getting more calls or more referrals from police. Hey, we got a call from in those times they have someone your reader who wants to do this, who wants to do that.

Parul:

And then it started piling up so much on my plate that I was like, oh my God, I cannot handle it. Then my parents came back in again. They were like you cannot continue this. Like you know the way you are handling, we wanted you to explore and just do something for no profit. Now people are offering me money 50,000 rupees, 60,000 rupees. They just want me to listen to them. Maybe they have some hope. Because the system is not in place. And I started taking money from some people to eventually 10,000, 20,000, 30,000 rupees. But again my family said you cannot do this on. You know, unofficially register a company. And that's where we came with the third eye ethical hackers. So I branded this name third eye. Basically it's like third eye that is going to help you and see you know, show it.

Gurasis:

You can't see yeah.

Parul:

Yeah, I think we can't see and we came up with this In my family. There is already a business. One of my cousins have third eye intelligence bureau. It's more of like private detectives, so the name was inspired by their business to set. We can do third eye ethical hackers and I'll create a team of hackers which team I don't know yet, but I'll create something because I might need people to help me and we registered this company and then eventually, once you have a company registered, you have a company account so you can go official and charge Right. We started making money and it's been like few months since I failed my chemistry exams and I am already seeing 20, 30, 40,000 rupees in my pocket.

Parul:

Imagine, late in your old in 2010 and every month you are getting 20,000, 10,000, 30,000, 40,000. So then I was like, oh my God, I don't have to study anymore.

Gurasis:

Yeah.

Parul:

Then I start like I was going to revolt with my family. I was like I'm not going for the next chemistry exam, I'm going to do this for my life. This is my life. That's what you think, right, like you're like okay, you see, many of my friends didn't even started their BTEC yet. Yeah, why do I need a BTEC? I'm a star. I was too proud of myself. But then I was reminded no, you are not. You are, but you need academics, they said.

Parul:

Sometimes you will see some stages of your life where you have to be on the table and only people with academic qualification will go on that table. You won't get access to those. You know cases, or maybe we don't know what you're going to do. Please, bro, just go for exam, just pass, just like you have been doing since years. You are good at it. You have to pass. Yeah, just take a degree, right, just take a high school diploma on your name. I was like, okay, we'll do it. And then I really prepared for the exam. But, trust me, when the exam came in front of my eyes, I still didn't get any clue. I was blank, I didn't give answers, I just made random guesses again and I was like okay, maybe it's this. Then I started. I actually got the exam, similar to my first exam which I failed. The final one, I got the exam similar to my first exam.

Parul:

Again I pointed like I went for the exam, the results came out and I passed just exactly on the passing grade, 33, not 30. Maybe they just gave me 33 out of you know out of it, like they were like, okay, let's, let's, let's, let's let him go. Maybe I was at 30 or 31. I don't know, but when I came home and I counted, I was at 26. I was like, oh, I'm done again, and if you fail that one, you have to go for all the subjects again.

Parul:

Yeah, you cannot just have compartment exams every day. Right, you get two chances, otherwise you go to school again. I was like I don't want to be a failure in my class. Man, imagine you go to the class and everyone's like, oh, this guy failed. Right, that's the life I don't want. And I was like I'm already making money Even if I don't pass. Who cares? But I actually passed and then I was like, okay, I'm done with my plus two, I don't want to study further.

Parul:

And basically, you know, when you are a private candidate, you don't have a good list of colleges for engineering, like they prefer people who just came fresh out of class and they will only give counseling and seats to them. I was getting colleges in Uttar Pradesh, jharkhand, some some tier four, tier five, and I was like no, I don't want to do engineering and I think engineering is difficult for me. I talked to my friends, so mostly most of my friends didn't even talk to me after I failed, because in India families push their children to be only with successful kids and not with people who have failed and they were all just trying me yeah yeah, yeah, don't go with him, man.

Parul:

He, he has nothing in his life left. You go ahead. Your life is starting. My life didn't start right. My life was in another way. It's another platform. I don't know which direction it is. So I still was in connection with few of my friends and I talked to them. They were like Parul, we don't think you will be able to do this. Because they were with me in class. They knew me already. So I'm going to go to Parul Mathematics again. Trust us, not worth it. And I kind of trusted them and I kind of knew myself too I am not gonna succeed if I go for engineering and I told my family I don't wanna study. It's done. But now another turning point kicks in because I'm doing all these cases. I got an invitation from one of the college in Jalandhar. It's called HMB college. It's a girls college. They were like come here and present and talk about the cases you have solved, because I was in news. So they wanted somebody to come and talk and give a speech.

Gurasis:

Yeah, Before you talk about the colleges, tell me like, since you were getting this media coverage, people were reaching out to you to solve cases how about relatives reacting, then Tell me about that.

Parul:

Actually, I didn't even bother to check on them when I was working on all these areas. But the reaction was that you are pushing your kid into something that is dangerous, that is criminal and it's not gonna work really well. Because when you talk about ethical hacking or hacking or something like this what you envision right In Indian middle class society a dark room with somebody, matrix on screen and you are kind of stealing things or doing some crazy shit stuff so they were like he's too young for all this and the fact that when I was working on these cases, I used to meet with a lot of police officials there are cars with red lights, you know, revolving around always and I'm going to they were like this thing is not gonna work and eventually you are working on cases that involve criminals. This thing is not going to end up really well because they are gonna come back at one point. There's a lot of speculation and a lot of future projections coming in, but my family they were like it's okay, let him do.

Gurasis:

Well, I'm loving your family. Just hearing about it, I'm loving your family.

Parul:

They were like it's okay, he'll manage, will manage. And the fact just imagine my mom is a principal of a school 200, 300 kids.

Parul:

And their son is not really good in academics. So there were that push also coming in like he's not going for education and you are running like what example you are setting. They were like it's okay, we have an elder brother, he's doing MBA, good for him, He'll do whatever he wants. Because I have a gap of 11 to 12 years with my siblings, my brother and my sister, so I came into this world quite late, so I was the favorite child of the family. Eventually again now we are in a stage where I'm working on all these cases and everything. Family is not caring about whatever anyone has to say, but they were just saying be safe.

Parul:

Don't take any decisions or don't say yes to everything that comes on your way. So my brother and my father used to go with me to the clients and whenever there is a talk about are you gonna do this, can you help us? I was not the guy who will say yes, they used to hit my foot, don't open your mouth. Yeah, they were like. The judgment part goes to them. I am more of like a facilitator.

Gurasis:

I'll just take them and they are the one who guided you to start. The third, I think, are hackers. But that's how it was born, because money wasn't bought, and then also and of course, the increasing cyber attacks and the lack of sufficient awareness was there. And then, to enhance the knowledge of the students and society, you started giving seminars in colleges, like you were talking, and you were doing seminars all around the country.

Parul:

Yeah, yeah, yeah, and there's again a natural selection to this part too. So when you are doing cases and everything, somebody invites you. You're like, okay, let's go and talk about it. So when I started giving it, it came into news. You know, colleges usually put this guy came to talk about expert lectures. So then other colleges inviting me and from their news, another one is inviting me. So it's free so far, but at one point people are asking me questions hey, I wanna get into this. Are there any trainings available?

Parul:

And I knew that whatever I read was more theoretical online and everything that came on my screen or whatever I was selling was self taught. So like, let's create a program and teach and you can create revenue out of it and it's a safe business, as per my family also. I'm not doing cases, I'm teaching. My family is in teaching business. This all connects really well and we are teaching kids, right? Yeah, what can be more better than this?

Parul:

So we started like two days workshop on cybersecurity and there what I do is I just share whatever I did to solve that case or this case or what tools I learned. I wasn't really good in programming, but I was more on the practical side of understanding it. So I just shared that. Okay, you don't have to be really smart or become a great programmer to get into cybersecurity. This is what I did and I was like let me share. If somebody is even doing better than me, who cares? I'm going to do what I'm going to do, right, everyone has their own own or their own expertise. Then people started pushing me again. Oh, you are sharing everything. You are going to be on ground in no time. Everyone will be taking over. I was like who cares man?

Gurasis:

Yeah.

Parul:

I'm not keeping it to myself, because sometimes I met people who knew more than me when they were given some instructions and I was learning from them.

Parul:

So basically, I am just giving them examples. And they were like how about you have done this case like this? Okay, well, that is smart, I'll do this. So this was working in my favor and we started doing series of workshops and then eventually I had somebody from Lodiana that came up with the proposal. This guy and he mentioned to me like I'm going to bring all these contracts to you, you just have to go and present and I'm going to manage everything for you. So that was part two, because that was a challenge for me to talk to each university, set up time, set up a fee and everything. So that guy said I'm going to do everything for you. Just have to take the flight, take the train, go to the place, give you a workshop, you're done. We worked out on that arrangement that gave me a lot of space to study more, learn more, design a better curriculum and also get more business. Then we went and India, lucknow, kerala, new Delhi, aansar University, goodgaon College of Engineering, kerala, montewari, hyderabad.

Gurasis:

SRM.

Parul:

University, everywhere places you cannot even imagine that somebody is actually studying cybersecurity. So they were bringing all those contracts because they were good at their job and I was good at mine and the reachability expanded and increased and with that, news coverage increased, awareness increased and people were getting more attacks. People were going more online. So BTEC and Amtech students didn't actually had any module of cybersecurity in their curriculum. They were software engineers, computer engineers, but there was no course for cyber. So this was our USP that you do this and you can become a dedicated cybersecurity engineer.

Gurasis:

Yeah.

Parul:

You did really well, trust me, it was fun.

Gurasis:

How many? Do you have a number in your mind that how many workshops you did?

Parul:

I think we free and paid. If we put together, we are crossing 100 for sure.

Gurasis:

Oh, wow, that's crazy.

Parul:

But I did free more initially because I was really not that great in public presentation and at some points I felt that if I'm going to a bigger school let's say I did Delhi or some bigger university where big cities and people already are well versed in English and communication and presentation.

Parul:

I was getting stuck. I wasn't able to make or form complete sentences because my training was not really that well of public presentation. So what I did is I picked up colleges and universities in villages of Punjab, or Punjab Technical University or some schools with high school students just to practice my English, like OK, I'll give you a free lecture One hour. I'm coming, you want to have me? They're like OK, no problem, classroom lecture. So I go to Gurdaspur, I go to Hashiarpur, so I started picking up venues at that, places where nobody is going to judge me on my English but more on the content I'm sharing, and I get to learn and practice my English and then so that when I'm presenting in terms of a corporate or businesses, I have practiced my language.

Gurasis:

But you also see that you were just 18 or 19. That's also one considered pretty young at that age. But also the best thing is, you are very true yourself. You knew that. Ok, I'm good in this and I'm not good in that, but I also want to talk about three major events before we get into your Canadian journey, and one of them was you helped a famous Indian cricketer to recover his Facebook account. Tell us about that experience, hey.

Gurasis:

If you're enjoying the content and conversations we bring to you every week, we would love for you to join our growing community. Make sure to follow us on all major podcast directories, including Apple Podcasts, spotify, google Podcasts or wherever you consume your podcast. That way, you'll never miss an episode and you'll always stay in the loop with the latest insights and stories. And, speaking of staying connected, I always, always encourage you to follow your heart. But also also on Instagram, the handle is mythicaccent. We'll be sharing a lot more behind the scenes content, some updates and some even fun sneak peeks. So give us a follow and let's engage even more closely there.

Gurasis:

And to all those who provided their feedback and input, thank you so much. It truly, truly shaped the direction of a podcast, and I would love to hear from any of the new folks who joined us today. Don't hesitate to reach out with any thoughts, ideas or even suggestions for future guests. Drop us an email at helloatmythicaccentcom. Now let's get back to the episode. You helped a famous Indian cricketer to recover his Facebook account. Tell us about that experience.

Parul:

That was fun too, so I am watching this movie, Rowdy, Rathore, in PVR cinemas.

Gurasis:

Okay.

Parul:

And I get a call. They're like hello, I am Harbhajan Singh's assistant and we have to solve a case. The account is hacked. I was like, okay, I actually wasn't into cricket and everything. I was more on computer. So I wasn't into any physical sport. Let me tell you, I was very soft with AC on and video games.

Parul:

I was like, okay, call me later. I'm in a movie. And then again I get a call, pa, of him, we have a case, you have to get it done. I was like I'm in a movie, let me talk to you tomorrow. Then my brother calls me Boy, why you are not answering your phone? There's a call from this guy, he's a cricketer, and everything. I was like, okay, come out of the movie hall, there are people waiting for you to pick you up from the movie hall. So I think, okay, and then there was. You must have seen the news. So I worked with some groups and they shared with me. Like you know, we have been working on this case and we were not able to find anything or everything. We are not able to recover the account. So then I was like, okay, so that's what exactly I was going to do. So I needed some help and I joined hands with somebody in New Delhi. There was a guy I met online on forums. His name was Hemanshu.

Parul:

I was like Hemanshu. This is the case, and if we break you know anything on this case, we are going to be stars and it's a lot of money and a lot of him. And imagine, you know, when you're young. You're very fascinated and excited of being the ideal, because this is something we have to do, and we worked on this account together and we were able to recover it within a day. It was more of like playing with the you know the data and the questions, his previous passwords and try to get into the account anyway, recover. There were different tricks you could use, but we got the access and the moment we got the access again.

Parul:

Now you have national coverage. Okay, when you are solving something for international cricketer, you are on all the websites and all the news portals. Now, when you do this, the other cricketers get to know your name too and the BCCI get to know your name too. Right, and the referrals are going to be great. So we solved it and it was taken really positively by media and everything and everything went well and we started getting more calls, more cases and then BCCI people. From there, anything is happening. We are getting a message to see if we can do it or not. So, yeah, that's how it went well. But yeah, good part, I get to see the accounts of these famous people.

Gurasis:

Did it boost your ego in any way after this?

Parul:

Not really. I was just surprised that the world becomes so small when you are working on something that you are good at and it's unique. And that's something that gave me more kick to practice this more, because I was like why anyone is not doing this? Like you know, you ask yourself like I'm not that smart, but why not everyone is trying this out right. And then there is a course I wanted to take again more.

Parul:

So the good thing about this is that at one point, you know, I was always balancing my knowledge versus my workload and seeing if I'm still out of it or not. Because in this kind of business, if you don't know what's next, if Windows 7 is your expertise and Windows 10 is there or you know, you cannot progress. So you really have to learn. So I kept on my training and I kept on creating my team, training them. This is how we were running.

Parul:

And at one point now let's go back to the education part I have to start my bachelor's. My family is like take admission in bachelor's, man, anyone will offer your admission in bachelor's. Now, now you are on news. So APJ College of Jolander, they offered me a bachelor's of computer science, computer applications, and they were already happy with the fact that I am going there and choosing them and they offered me an exemption on not attending all the classes and everything. I can just go there, go for my exams. The only condition is I must be talking about the college on news that I am studying there and it helps them.

Parul:

It's a win-win for both. So let's do this. I was like, okay, so I joined the BCA course and on the side I'm doing my bachelor's. Thanks to my family for this suggestion, otherwise I wouldn't be in Canada, right? Because you cannot come to Canada without a bachelor's directly into master's. That's another story we'll discuss, but again it helped. I wasn't really fond of studying because I was teaching PhD and master's student cybersecurity and I was like I don't want to go to bachelor's, I'm not learning anything, I know all that already, but you need to have it on paper. That's how I managed to get my bachelor's also.

Gurasis:

Okay, one thing you said. I love that. You know that the world becomes so small when you are good at your job, and that is really a learning from the story. So I was part of also. I end up like I stumbled upon one of your interview from 2013, when you just landed in Canada. That was like nine years ago or so and you talked about these two incidents and you were sharing your experiences of these two incidents, and one of them was the National Security Information Fair, when you were invited for the Ministry of Defence at Indian Air Force and you were felicitated with the Medal of Civilian Honor, and I think that's a huge achievement. I want you to share your experience with that, and you were also saying in an interview that there were more than 300 people, including officers, who gave you a standing ovation. Tell me about that experience and that moment.

Parul:

That's, yeah, that's a golden moment of my life. I don't know, like I didn't expect it, that that that's going to happen. So. So when I was doing all this and there is no Air Force station in Aadampur and somebody reached out to us for a presentation, and at that time I was in my bachelor's and I was doing all this business, every day I'm on news. Now I am a fixed columnist in many newspapers. Where I'm giving my comment, Something happens. They're like okay.

Parul:

Parul what do you think? So the pictures are there and people are reading about it. Right now, everyone is reading and Air Force people are also reading about it, and there was this cybersecurity awareness. You know that there were attacks from China and everywhere and the things were picking up on the cyber side. So awareness is a must. So all the cadets and all the new officers who just came in and they are doing their you know journey and their training they must be aware about cybersecurity.

Parul:

So their leadership actually planned this event called information warfare 2013, I think something like that, and they invited me as a speaker to talk about national security and the threats that we are facing in future. Again, this is more of like a topic that you can research on or, you know, envision. That's what's going to happen, and they wanted me to talk about it. That itself was an honor. So I only knew this part, that I'm going to go there and talk, and my family was like dude, just go there, talk, don't say anything extra, don't say anything less. Be yourself.

Parul:

So I didn't expect it that they are going to have the full hall, you know, of people, and there are people from all backgrounds, from Air Force, you know command and all those levels and ranks. So I went there, I prepared a deck national security and battle of minds that's what I called it, because it's actually a battle of minds and I presented on my experience and like what happened in the past and what was going to happen in the future, as per me, and why everyone should know about cyber security. So, and when I went to the hall, dude, everyone is wearing their uniforms, it's all full. I am usually presenting to students, right, this is a setting I have never imagined, I have never prepared for and something that is giving me more, you know, like goosebumps. So I presented and even after my presentation, they were like thank you so much for coming in. Now we would like to. We have decided to award you with the medal. It's like that. You know that silver plate, it's actually silver, it's made of silver and it's in the jewelry box.

Gurasis:

Wow.

Parul:

Oh my God. So when they so, I think there's a process to when they do that they give it to you.

Parul:

Everyone stands up and oh man, I cannot explain it in words. What was that? And I usually I am the guy who always asks people to take a lot of pictures. This time I didn't ask somebody for a picture, but somebody was already taking pictures for me and they came to me later and I showed that to my family and they were like wow, what is this? And even I was like wow. And when that event was done and I was on my way back home, I was like what am I doing? Like what is happening, man? Like I didn't plan for all this right, and now the kind of respect I am getting. I was like am I even worthy of this respect? Like like I was like you know, right, these people are officers. And like I was like like what am I doing, man? What kind of business I came into. And that's what I shared with my family too, on the emotional level, like I don't know what I'm doing. And they were like we know what you're doing and we're proud of you and that's what matters.

Gurasis:

As one should be.

Parul:

Again, family kicks in, right. I was like, okay, my mom still has that. You know everything I came. So even they have preserved the flowers and everything that I got till date. When I went to India recently and it was there in my room, they just kept it like this and they clean it and I like it's here, it's for you and that's what you have. And I got a clock also that has Air Force logo, and my mom still has that clock in her room in Jalandhar that has that Air Force logo. It's not something you can buy right. It's more of like you earned it.

Parul:

So definitely that part was the best experience of my life. And after that I came to Canada the consecutive year so I didn't continue to partner with the you know these organizations more, but it was fun part. I gave you the full breakdown of this. And when you go there, when the car crosses, when you get into the Air Force zone, so wherever you know somebody comes to receive you on the door. So from wherever the car is passing through, everyone will salute. It's like I think it's a process. So whenever the general's car is going, everyone stands. I was like what's happening, man?

Gurasis:

That's crazy, this is unbelievable.

Parul:

This is 12th fail, right? Just imagine, come on man, if I wouldn't have failed, I wouldn't have been experiencing this that level of fame and that level of fun and that level of experiences is something, oh man. I don't want to explain you further. I can talk about it whole day.

Gurasis:

Well, all in all, I think my crux is that you are the testament. That these marks, these failures, doesn't, doesn't matter. All these failures, basically, is the redirection. Literally, these failures are redirection and they put you in places you never even thought and life has its own mysterious ways of unfolding.

Parul:

See, this is the process Exactly. I completely agree with you. At that time maybe I wasn't agreeing with everything that's happening, right, but now I realize that it's the process that's important. It's not like if you are going to get all the greens on all stages of your life, then there's no fun. This is the process. So you were realized that five years later, in the grand scheme of things, this is going to work out much, much better for you. Now, if I was at that point comparing myself with all the students who were in my class, many of them might be in a job right now, after their graduation, just living their life happily. But who could have imagined, right, that I would walk out like this and just, you know, do all these things and get to travel and have fun and go abroad and everything.

Gurasis:

I think I always say that nothing happens to you, it happens for you.

Gurasis:

You just have to find the good in every adversity that come your way, but in your case, varul, your list of echo lights didn't stop there. You were also invited to the mobile and wireless solution forum 2023, al Qaeda, lampur, malaysia. And tell us about that, and it was also the first time you were sharing. I saw a video that you were traveling in business class. You had that experience. You said I saw that in movies, but finally I'm there. And in that interview you were also telling me that you were telling into the interviewer that the moment your name was announced, you got on the stage and all the spotlights were on you and they followed you to your podium.

Gurasis:

Tell me about that experience.

Parul:

That's fun too. Again, amazing. So 2013, by the way, 2023 is now, so we are going back in time. So when I was doing all these seminars and everything, I got an invitation from a conference in New Delhi. It's called Nullcon, it's very famous even now, and I was just there to attend. That's it. And then I got to know that these conferences invite people from US or Canada or UK to give a 10 to 15 minute speech. And I was asking my friends who were attending the conference did they invite somebody to talk for 15 minutes? All the way from New York, like this FBI guy is there just to present for 10 minutes, and he's done. He's like, hey guys, he's cheering up. It's like, wow, this is amazing, is this even real? Does that happen so often? If you are good at your craft, people?

Parul:

were like for sure, if you are doing these things, international companies invite you. That's what we're talking about. It's 2012. When I'm attending this, 2013 January, I wake up. I am sleeping next to my brother and I get this email you are invited to a conference in Kuala Lumpur World Trade Center to talk about wireless security or mobile security. This is in reference to some news articles that were published.

Parul:

So, again, all that news came in. So they found me. It was too good to be true for me. I showed it to my brother. I was like wake up, look at this, is this fake scam? Like you do this every day? Of course it's scam.

Parul:

Like then, I did my research. I checked the domain, check the ownership of domain, the event management company, linkedin, everything. It's like these things are real. These guys are real man. They already had these events in 2011, 2010. This thing is real. Let's reply. So I replied and they came up with all the details the speaker package. You will get these many dollars, you will be traveling business class, we will host you in a hotel, your meals are paid, you will be presenting for 20 minutes. Your slot will be at 1 to 4 pm, if you are available, reply. I was like oh, if, if you don't have visa, we will get you the visa, we will pay for the visa, everything is there. So I went with the process and flow and everything was done. And here you go, business class.

Parul:

I remember seeing a movie, gajini, where you know the Gautam Singh Hania, I don't know Sanjay Singh Hania comes out of the plane and I was always thinking man, this is life. And now, when I'm in the same kind of setting business class. I've been always traveling economy in my whole life. I don't know what business class means. And you have the bigger chair, you have food served in glass utensils and glasses and wine glasses. That was the moment of my life.

Parul:

Again, I was like, let's take some pictures and go to this conference. The moment you get out of the airport there's a guy with your name. So I take pictures of him. I take pictures of everything so that I can keep watching it and enjoying it. I still have those pictures. Sometimes they show up in my Google photos memories. So this guy is standing there with my name, he picks me up, there's a nice car BMW 7 series Staking to the hotel and then there is somebody to greet me already and they give me like a speaker package kit that gives me all the schedule. They give me the card and everything. It's fun. I go to the stage and now the view has changed because this is an international event. They have people from all across the world and when they are inviting speakers usually it's like hello guys, good morning. Today my name is Parul, but here it's like somebody saying his name is Parul.

Parul:

And right on and there's a name on the two screens that's like IFA awards for me. Oh my God, what is this?

Gurasis:

Living the dream.

Parul:

Crazy man and everyone has that sheet in their hands. That has, you know the sheet. I got this program schedule with my photo and everyone has my picture and I know everyone has my picture. That's the same kit I had.

Gurasis:

Unbelievable.

Parul:

And. But at that point I was challenged with some questions I don't know answer to because the level of the challenge has increased. Now to another level, you know like a bank is asking me how do you protect data of 50,000 employees, 100,000 clients?

Gurasis:

I don't know.

Parul:

I was like, okay, I just, you know, answered them. But inside my you know head I was like, dude, this is going somewhere that's going to end up badly. I have to level up, but I don't have training, I don't know how to learn. So from that conference, somebody said are you available? Next month we have a conference, we'll do everything they have done, we'll match everything. You want to come? You have the visa. This time I have the visa. I was like okay, I'll come. So next month I'm going again in business class.

Parul:

Then from that event, somebody else comes in hey, this was great, we want to have you at an event, company event in Kuala Lumpur. It's a new conference, enterprise architecture. Can you talk about cyber crime and cases? I was like, oh, this is my photo, let's do it. So this way, I did like four or five visits to Malaysia. It was like everyday thing now for me. Two months ago it was a dream to go abroad and even save for it. This is all free. That's the fun part for me. All free and all fun. But again, I knew that the challenges are increasing now and I have to study. And then the next phase comes in, which is moving to Canada, part.

Gurasis:

This is so inspiring. I don't know if you really understand the depth of it, how inspiring this is. Seeing your journey from literally let's just use the word failing from those classes and coming to this ground, where you are standing in this room with professionals and you are presenting in front of them and just on the basis of your expertise in a particular topic. This is incredible, Awesome. Hey, thank you for making it this far. I'm going to cut this episode here, Otherwise it will get way too long. I wanted to come back next week for the part two of my conversation with Parul where we delve into his Canadian journey, talk more about his YouTube channel, how he started it, how he deal with trolls and much, much more. Here's a sneak peek of that.

Parul:

There are videos that sometimes hit millions of views, like, for example, you remember that car video where I'm cleaning and I'm saying don't come to Canada. 15 million views on YouTube and similarly 15 on Instagram. That's a 30 million views. Now imagine the number of comments that contains love, hate. I don't do that. I'm not an immigration agent, but I cannot trust any immigration agent out there to the market is messed up. I know I get sometimes a lot of hate comments to that you are commercializing everything. If I don't do, then how come people will take me seriously, right? Some people think that YouTube is the way I make my living out. To be very clear, I can right now say that on your podcast for the first time.

Gurasis:

And what's the most expensive thing you would like to own? Parul: Wow, I don't want to share that actually. Gurasis: So stay tuned and let's continue knowing each other beneath the accent.

Inspiring Journey in Cybersecurity and Content Creation
Importance of Parental Support in Education
Online Account Hack and Personal Resilience
Teen Ethical Hacker Journey
Academic Pressure to Cybersecurity Teaching
Shares Journey and Achievements
Fame in Speaking Engagements
Surreal Experience in Malaysia