Saket Modi’s job is to break into the IT systems of India’s central bank. Because Saket Modi is a white hat, an ethical hacker, more and more companies, including top commercial lenders such as HDFC Bank and ICICI Bank, want him to do the same for them, too.
The 26-year-old is the co-founder and CEO of Lucideus, a four-year-old startup he launched as a student of Jaipur’s LNM Institute of Information Technology. Lucideus scans the IT systems of its clients for possible hacking or malware attacks and suggests remedies and services if the systems are found to be vulnerable. Some of these scans are automated, others manual.
The firm, whose other co-founders are Vidit Baxi and Rahul Tyagi, was set up in 2012 and later incubated at SINE, the Indian Institute of Technology, Bombay’s startup incubator.
Today, New Delhi-based Lucideus is more relevant than ever.
It has grabbed illustrious clients, such as the country’s digital payments regulator, the National Payments Council of India and food chains such as Pizza Hut and KFC. And unlike most other startups in India, it is already making profits – Rs1.3 crore in fiscal 2016. The company has access to some of the most sensitive data in the country but their services are needed now more than ever.
The year 2016 was particularly notable for hacking incidents in India. First, millions of debit cards came under attack, indicating a broader risk to the banking sector in Asia’s third-largest economy. Then, a group of anonymous hackers, which calls itself Legion, took over the Twitter handles of prominent Indians.
Now, with Prime Minister Narendra Modi encouraging citizens to go cashless, cyber security has become increasingly important. The industry is estimated to reach $38 billion in India by 2025, according to Nasscom, a software lobby group.