Monday, August 25, 2014

Frying your brain is risky business

“I like nonsense; it wakes up the brain cells.” At the time when writer Dr. Seuss made such statement, probably no one could imagine that, in the XXI century, researchers at University of Oxford will discover that electrical brain stimulation kit can improve attention.


Transcranial direct current stimulation (TDCS) technology applies small electrical currents directly onto the scalp, thus stimulating neurons. The results in the laboratory are promising, but it is still an immature technology. However some companies are using the hype to bring this kind of devices to the market targeting gamers, which could be harmful if they are swayed by advertising claims without knowing the risks. Therefore, some voices in the scientific community are calling for its immediate regularization.

Precisely the users of Sony Playstation console in USA suffered a 10-hours outage on Playstation Network and Sony Entertainment Network due to a major distributed denial of service (DDoS) attack that gave the Japanese company a hard time yesterday. The hacker group which claimed to be responsible for the attack even managed to divert the plane of Sony Online Entertainment President, John Smedley, by a bomb threat via Twitter.

Traditionally, video game fans have had a different path to TDCS to give a boost to their neurons: drugs. In fact, it is becoming easier for them to buy drugs conveniently and anonymously via the Internet, in what is known as the 'darknet'. Hidden under the anonymity offered by Tor network, several sites are changing the industry of drug dealing through clever payment mechanisms, feedback systems, and real competition which is increasingly giving more power to consumers of this type substance against the dealers.

While some cybercriminals seek to make drug dealing easier on the Internet, others try to make it difficult for users’ security. According to Kaspersky’s Q2 2014 report, 30% of  computers in Spain have had to deal with any threat. For instance, cases of financial malware like Heartbleed, Pandemiya, Zeus or the World Cup in Brazil grew by over 36% between April and May. In many cases, the user’s  lack of interest in keeping his devices secured is what encourages criminal minds to manufacture and use Internet malware for their misdeeds.

In this sense, famous Spanish hacker Angelucho gives some tips on his blog: to have an updated antivirus solution, to maintain your programs and operating system up to date, to use strong and different passwords for each service, to turn off the your devices’ connectivity when not need...

We would add one more to Angelucho’s recommendations: Keep yourself well informed about current risks posed by the use of Internet and technology. To do this, you do not need any drug or electrical stimulation, but to follow us through our social channels (find the links at the right sidebar) or here on our blog.

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