Saina Kakkar, is an extraordinarily talented, insightful, and passionate 16-year-old student, who radiates both warmth and confidence, and already making a huge impact in the world of cybersecurity as an entrepreneur, researcher, inventor, author and a true advocate for cyber safety for teenagers. As a young person Saina has grown up in the digital age and studied high school during pandemic, she understands the allure of social media and the internet, but she has also seen the darker side of these technologies. As she speaks with unwavering conviction, “It’s easy to get lost in the online world,” she explains, “and many teenagers don’t realize the potential consequences of their actions. That’s why it’s so important to educate them about the risks and how to navigate the online world safely and responsibly.”
For Saina, this mission has become a personal one. She has made it her life’s work to help her fellow teenagers stay safe online, and she has done several things dedicated to this cause. “It breaks my heart to see so many young people fall victim to cyberbullying, online predators, and other dangers,” Saina says, her voice shaking with emotion. “I want to do everything I can to protect them and help them stay safe.” As she speaks, it’s clear Saina’s passion for this cause runs deep. She knows that she can make a difference, and she is willing to do whatever it takes to ensure that her peers are protected in the digital world.
Saina Kakkar is not just a thought leader in the field of cybersecurity, she has also published research paper on ‘PRIVACY IN PANDEMIC – impact of covid19 on high school students’ privacy in india’ in International Journal of Novel Research & Development (https://www.ijnrd.org/papers/IJNRD2302048.pdf).
Saina has filed a patent for her novel work Pause-Before-You-Post (Govt. Of India Patent Office application) which detects Personally Identifiable Information (PII) for example phone numbers and sensitive images to alert user to pause-and-think before they post the content. This is based on her other research that suggests that 88% of the time, adolescents in India (ages 12-18), who had originally been willing to post PII or other sensitive message, changed their mind and edited the post.
In Saina’s dedication to give back to the community and make an impact, Saina founded and runs a non-profit organization, www.TeenCyberShield.org, which sponsored 20+ children from Grace Trust Orphanage (www.grace-trust.org) and 700+ students in various schools in India to help them better understand and protect themselves from cyber threats.
Saina’s book – ‘Navigating the Social Media Maze’ (www.amzn.to/3HSZi3Q), written under the guidance of Group Captain P Aanand Naidu(retd) (https://www.linkedin.com/in/paanaidu ) – already got adopted in a CBSE school’s curriculum in NCR region, provides practical tools for school children to protect themselves online, make smart choices, and be good digital citizens. The book is available for free download on https://copconnect.app/resources/. One can download free mobile app “copconnect” to read the blog posts by Saina.
Saina is also a vice president and co-founder of Junkguards (www.junkguards.com), a privacy aware recyling ecosystem, founded in line with the vision of the Government of India and the Central Pollution Control Board of India, to ensure proper management of E-Waste and Private Data stored in it. In her words, “E-Waste and Data Security Go Hand-In-Hand, and it’s important to take your e-waste to a privacy aware recycling firm with security experts to truly wipe your device clean of all sensitive and personal identifiable information (PII)”. So far, she is instrumental in collecting 700 kgs of e-waste in these bins, which was then given away for scientific disposal.
Saina Kakkar’s efforts have not gone unnoticed, she got recognized by ISAC (Information Sharing and Analysis Center – www.isacfoundation.org) to become India’s youngest Cyber Crime Intervention Officer (CCIO) after clearing the AICTE NEAT 2.0, Min of Edn, GoI approved CCIO and Professional Ethics Certification (CPEW) and a volunteer in National Security Database (NSD) helping cybercrime victims and make a positive impact in the community. ISAC offered both age waiver and INR 50,000/- scholarship to pursue National Security Database empaneled technical certifications.
Saina has engaged with her networks to ensure the success of her chosen activities. She has collaborated with Trumsy (www.trumsy.com ) to build good online habits that are essential to a teenager’s success but are difficult to master. She has offered a gamified solution to building online safety habits by recurring tasks that are easy and quick to do for children. Over 1000 parents use the Trumsy app and cards. Saina has initiated petitions to support Cyber Safety Clubs in every school in India, she is founder and captain of Cyber Safety in the school, and has built a strong community to address the issues of teen privacy and cyberbullying. During this period of India’s presidency of G20, she has taken pledge to support Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology (MeitY) in creating awareness among citizens including specially-abled persons to stay safe in an online world. (http://surl.li/fqgxc)
Saina Kakkar’s expertise and contributions to the field were recognized as a panelist at “Enabling Parents and Teens to Safely Navigate the Cyber-World” event, alongside various distinguished panelists from well-known tech companies such as Google, Uber, LinkedIn, and India’s leading non-profit organization – ISAC (Information Sharing and Analysis Center). Saina’s tireless efforts to address cyber safety issues in India have earned her recognition from the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO).
When most teenagers are spending their time traveling and enjoying their youth, it’s truly remarkable what Saina Kakkar has achieved to become India’s youngest Cyber Crime Intervention Officer (CCIO), the impact she has made at such a young age by supporting 1200+ children and her journey is sure to inspire many more young people to take up the cause of cyber safety and security. Saina is also active member of International Women in Security organiations (https://www.bbwic.com ). To learn more about Saina’s work follow her on LinkedIn and Twitter.