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Infamous "Hacker" Ankit Fadia revealed (forbesindia.com)
103 points by manojlds 1522 days ago | hide | past | web | 53 comments | favorite

Off topic but this is a wonderful example of how ad-driven pagination can go wrong.

At the end of the first page it still wasn't clear that the author was being sarcastic. Since most people would have clicked back by that point, the majority of readers will see the article as endorsing Ankit.

That's, in fact, exactly how I felt after reading what I thought was the entire article (but I'm finding out right now was only the first page).

Suppose I'll go read the remainder now...

I kind of got the gist after the first page myself. He praised Ankit for his ability to promote himself. Which basically harkens images of blow hard pretty boys from movies. The authors thrust seemed clear.

I have done exactly that. Thanks for telling me :-)

Amazingly, this has been debated over on his Wikipedia page and yet the current page doesn't indicate the controversy at all, except noting the lack of sources for some of his claims. And yet the article has no header about controversies...this guy has a longer article than many historical figures


Given wikipedias strict standards on living biographies and non notable people, never mind frauds, it is somewhat surprising to see the article as it is

The Wikipedia page talk compensates though http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Talk:Ankit_Fadia

There's added a Controversy[1] section


Looks like it was just added. I know Wikipedia's a big site, but I just got the impression that editors were quite strict on the "notable" policy, to the point that many other editors rebelled. I guess there's not really any systematic checking, just various pages that do get noticed and debated over?

Yes. The removals, just like additions are rampant and erratic. I see a lot of DO-UNDO-DO-UNDO for sections which actually deserve to be there.

He just replied: https://twitter.com/ankit_fadia/status/306659820910542848


He seems to be converting this whole episode to his advantage and using it as a marketing opportunity.

Hilarious. I almost mistook it to be a parody account.

All of his tweets seems to be sarcastic (not sure if it was supposed to be): https://twitter.com/ankit_fadia/

This is why we shouldn't feed the trolls, they feed on attention.. Forbes fed the troll here, as are we..

"I dont bother remembering my account passwords, I just hack into them."


Social hacking

Shoudda learn how to make this kind of excuse! :-))

If I were him, my takeaway would be "top reporter apologizes for ever having doubted me".

This guy is a genius! A liar, but a genius. I mean, building such a bussiness out of zero knowledge, this guy has some serious marketing skills.

All respect to him, I bet I make 10 times less with 10 times the IT skills.

Nobody who builds something on the back of a lies deserves, or gets, my respect.

To me, it would be in the same vein as saying, "All respect to him, he kidnapped and murdered people, but he makes 10 times the amount I do and hasn't been caught. Genius!".

Well murdering people is on an entirely different level.

I admire him purely for the ability to self promote.

>Well murdering people is on an entirely different level.

It is a different level, but dishonesty (particularly continuing and for the purposes of self enrichment) is still nothing to be proud of.

> I admire him purely for the ability to self promote.

He's not self promoting. He's promoting something that is not himself. Its fairly easy to make yourself look good and promote yourself by lying. Its much harder to do it in an honest way, someone who can genuinely self promote themselves based on their actual skills/achievements is someone to admire.


I was in first year of engineering when this guy (then in high school) walks in and gives a talk filled with such obvious bull and then gets a standing ovation from the faculty, most of whom weren't too knowledgeable either. I consider him a genius because of his ability to fool people, just like all the Indian godmen who have a great time cheating the Indian populace.

Problem, basically is.

1. Many folks are really computer illiterate beyond internet surfing and basic computer usage. If you show them a few tricks- you create the same effect a magician has on kids. People get mesmerized.

2. You can really fool people by marketing campaigns. "Best selling author" , "Helps crack emails for intelligence agencies" etc kind of campaign forces people to ask "Why would so many people buy his books, unless he has something genuine to write" - Hence increasing the books sales in this cycle.

A relative of mine did a ethical hacking certification from this guy. He showed it to all other relatives like waving a flag out of pride. Nothing that I told convinced the audience as to why the certification wasn't even worth the paper it was printed on. It was all like they were asking me to shut up and stop spewing negativity about it. They were like "At least he learned something through the certification".

3. Job promises and resume decoration, If you tell some one your are a certified ethical hacker. Ordinary joe, who knows nothing of the topic will not only believe you but rather offer you job over say an actual ethical hacker.

4. We like degrees, certificates and titles next to our names.

And lastly we just love famous people. Even if all they do is nothing. Bollywood is full of such examples.

Confirming that this guy isn't bullshitting about Bollywood.

Dont Worry, if you have been fooled.. The Music Channel - MTV had honoured him with the "Youth Icon" award, some years ago.. A big corporation like MTV could be going wrong, then think of your faculty...

By that logic, every successful sociopath is also a genius we should admire for being successful.

If we start appreciating charlatans for their marketing skills, we are going to be worse off in the long run.

Replace IT with Finance and you get Bernie Madoff. Not convinced that you'd call Madoff a genius in similar vain.

I had to read the article twice to make sure the author was being sarky. That's taking sarcasm to the next level (or was he being serious? I still can't tell for sure).

Well, he is making a lot more money than me. That's the beauty of the article: it works both if it's sarcasm or not, because both sides are true.

'm on this with you. I was like, this can't be on HN front page just for this, before I saw the pagination.

No One on HackerNews knows him, that means it is only the few Indians who were fooled...

and I am an Indian who was not fooled..

I didn't know of him, but I was certainly fooled by Herbert Schildt when I started getting into programming...

Schildt plays the same game, just on a subtler, smaller, more unassuming level.

care to explain what is wrong with Herbert Schildt?

On the back of writing some fairly solid workaday code in C that was very MS-DOS specific and publishing several books about it he had the unmitigated gall to dare write an annotated guide to The C Language Standard in which he got a fair bit of detail about C the language of the C Virtual machine wrong.

The first level of being a C Guru is an intimate understanding of Your C Compiler on Your OS using Your Hardware. The second level is the self realisation that everything you thought you knew was wrong.

Poor old Herb positioned himself as an expert, wrote a book on that basis, angered the Gods who counter attacked with an annotated guide to what he got wrong and rubbed salt in by coining the term Bull Schildt.

Frankly he did a service by taking a bullet like that as there now exists a kind of Platonic dialogue in which you can read the C Standard, read what someone thought it meant, and then read a commentary on that.

Those C chaps can be a prickly bunch :/

To be fair, if you get something wrong in C, your computer might catch fire (not really, but you see my point. C will let you do a lot of things that you maybe shouldn't be doing, and getting something wrong can have more consequences than it does in many other languages. Accuracy is very important.)

He does write pretty comprehensive Java books though.

His C++ books became canonical examples of books not to read if you wanted to learn C++.

... and a bunch of students that study in Singapore's SMU were fooled too[1]. It's not hard to find information and people's outrage about this crappy guy. I heard of him via one of my students who studied in SMU and have been waiting for the day someone unmasks him.

[1] http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ankit_Fadia#Career

There have been some discussions about him here before:

http://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=4316574 http://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=4536439

I have never heard of him. And the article is written in a way that I didn't read beyond first page and never guessed the author's sarcasm. Only after reading some other comments, I came to know there are two more pages.

So, here is the single page link: http://forbesindia.com/article/beyond-business/ankit-fadia-r...

Here is a hilarious but true answer about him on quora http://www.quora.com/Expertise/What-are-examples-of-experts-...

Quora answer says, even the top engineering institutes of India aka IITs, invited him for workshops. Now that's really sad.

He was kicked off box.sk (hackingtruths.box.sk) back in mid-2002 for plagiarizing directly from other box.sk sites at the time. I haven't heard anything about him since, but this is mildly hilarious. Stanford? Really?

This guy has been in this page for ages: http://attrition.org/errata/charlatan/

there are comments going back over a decade http://attrition.org/errata/charlatan/ankit_fadia/

I bet his next book carries the statement "Covered by Forbes and Hacker News".. We need downvotes in real life for this kind of thing, "Down voted into oblivion"..

I remember him, back when I was 11 my elder brother had bought one of his books and it seemed like he had a fledgling business. If anything, he was a Salesman more than a hacker.

Never heard of that dude

You probably aren't an Indian then.

Come on guys, he's a comedian. Live with it. I'm surprised that someone even took the pains to verify his claims to disprove them. He didn't deserve all this precious time and attention.

Just look at his twitter feed, I'm not even sure if he thinks he's clever, doesn't understand sarcasm, or if he's just 'living with it'.

oh crap.. not this liar again... he's gonna say "they recognize me"!! NOOOO!!! NOOOOOOO!!! NOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!

What do Indians mean when they say ethical? In the US we rarely find the need to qualify our degrees with such superlatives.

It is because most people hear the term "hack" for the first time in a context like "Someone hacked my computer", meaning the term "hacking" is associated with say breaching security, which may be illegal in some jurisdictions. So he qualifies it with "ethical" meaning don't use those techniques (whatever he claims) for unethical acts.

You know what, I'm outta here. This article is messing with my head, and that is the only solution to it.

TL;DR? Writing and pagination insulting.

For starters, who is this about and why should I care?

For some reason, I find this to be a very disturbing story overall.

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