Friday, May 30, 2014

When reality surpasses predictions

"I think Facebook is the next Microsoft in both the bad and the good senses. That's an amazing company that is going to do a lot of good and bad things.” You cannot say Jimmy Wales, one of the founders of Wikipedia, that he didn’t anticipate it, since he said this words in 2007 (Wikiquote). In fact, both good and bad things are present in Facebook... often outside of Facebook itself.

A few days ago, FireEye warned the community about the activities of Iranian hacker group called Ajax Security Team, and now iSIGHT has reported the existence of what they have considered "the most elaborated cyber espionage campaign in recent years" (that is to say "in history"). The campaign consists of recreation of extremely well-imitated fake social media profiles, especially on Facebook, specifically designed to contact U.S. intelligence officers and all kind of politicians worldwide.

In cyberwar, as in love and war, anything goes. And it may be too late when you realize that we are at cyberwar if you have not done it yet. The talk given by Spanish researchers Juan Antonio Calles and Pablo González at the last RootedCON was precisely about cyber war. The video of their participation is finally available, and you can find it on their web channels: Flu-Project.

Another well-known Spanish researcher, Chema Alonso, put the Android’s app marketplace"upside down" yesterday by publishing the detection of made-in-Spain malicious apps able to take over user’s data. Today he extends that story, since these applications have suddenly disappeared from Google Play (but not from the devices), and takes advantage to explain how these applications work in more detail.

Maybe you have the impression that the malware market is going crazy. If so, we have bad news: you are right. According to a report by Panda Security, all records have been beaten again: over 160,000 new samples appear every day. And those are only the ones detected. Imagine what could be the actual figure. Scary? Well now you must also take into consideration the trend of malware infecting specialized systems in customizing our habits based on biometric recognition. You know, who says personalized service, can also mean... privacy invaded.

In any case, privacy is one of those values ​​in the new scenarios that will have to face redefined rules of the game. We already saw a few weeks ago how the European Court forced Google to respect the so-called "right to be forgotten". Well, we will see how long this game fighting the messenger, but not the source, take. For now, Google has announced that all European internet users will have within unspecified time a tool to delete personal references on the search giant. They will have to use precisely some type of biometric system. Contradictions of the times: forget my personal information in exchange of... even more valuable information.

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