Tuesday, June 10, 2014

A dangerous red button, an algorithm in the board and the right to be forgotten

The magnetism of a red button has been repeatedly reflected in literature and films. It is usually a round, thick and appealing button that invites you to be pressed even though the consequences are always completely unpredictable. Maybe you never realized that most of the TV remote controls today have a button like that.

In fact, modern TV devices are usually connected to the Internet and the main function of such button is to display web pages related to the content broadcasted. The problem is that some researchers have found that the standard (HbbTV) that develops this feature is vulnerable and can be exploited by evil minds to run malicious applications.

It has also been detected a vulnerability in Vanguard Daktronics software that controls traffic light signals. This weakness could allow an attacker to change the signal messages remotely. Thus, you might find signs that warn of all kinds of absurd or unbelievable facts.

Speaking of amazing facts, a venture capital fund in Hong Kong has appointed a computer algorithm to its board of directors. This unusual executive called "Vital" will vote on the investment decisions of the firm, after analyzing large amounts of data. The intent of its creators is to generalize the use of this software. Can you imagine a Vital at every company’s board? What if it is hacked to change the meaning of a vote?

Well, it is possible that such initiative does not have the repercussion they expect and ends up falling into oblivion. Something like that will happen to all the content removed by Google prior users’ request under the "right to be forgotten", recently recognized by the European Union. Google now is planning to leave a little trail of that information through a notification which would explain why that specific content was deleted.

In any case, there are facts that should never be forgotten as the signing of the "Iberoamerican Cooperation Agreement on Research, Assurance and Obtaining of Proof of Cybercrime" conducted by officials from the governments of Guatemala, Nicaragua, Portugal, Peru and Uruguay at the Ministers of Justice from Ibero-American Countries Conference (COMJIB) in Madrid on May 28.

Moreover, the first four countries of them plus Argentina, also signed the "Recommendation on the Criminalisation and Punishment of Cybercrime", whose goal is to achieve an impact on the legislation of each of the COMJIB member countries. Both documents are the proof that there is still a long way to go in the fight against cybercrime in Latin American countries.

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