The Week That Was: 11/08/2017

In this first edition of The Week That Was, we find…

  • Marcus Hutchins, the white-hat hacker known for stopping the WannaCry worm was charged with creating the Kronos banking trojan, a widespread piece of malware used to steal banking credentials for fraud and is accused of selling it to cybercrime market sites. He has denied any wrongdoing and pleaded not guilty.
  • The Californian Court of Appeal in a majority rule in Cross vs. Facebook held the plaintiff could not claim a violation of his right of publicity; the plaintiff could neither demonstrate that the advertisements used his name or likeness, nor could he demonstrate that any of the advertisements were created by, or advertised, Facebook – that the advertisements only appeared in content posted to Facebook by third parties. Facebook was held not liable.
  • The DC Circuit recognised that in a situation where “an unauthorized party has already accessed personally identifying data”, substantial risk of harm could be said to exist, that this risk of future injury, of identity theft, was sufficient to give the plaintiffs standing under Article III.
    • See more on: JDSupra
      • Find the case here [Attias v. CareFirst, Inc., No. 16-7108 (D.C. Cir. 2017)]
        • See also similar decisions by
        • Contrarily see opposing decisions by
  • Senators in the United States seek to pass a bill to regulate the Internet of Things requiring vendors to provide “the internet-connected equipment to the U.S. government to ensure their products are patchable and conform to industry security standards.”
  • The function-creep that is Aadhaar could soon be linked to Voter IDs. A notification recently mandated Aadhaar numbers for obtaining Death Certificates.
    • Re: Voter ID, See more on MediaNama
    • Re: Death Certificate, See more on LiveMint.
    • Further, more than 20,000 Aadhaar numbers were [inadvertently or otherwise] published on a Punjab Govt. website
  • India blocked access to Internet Archive’s Wayback machine. This was due to Court Orders obtained by Bollywood Studios
    • See more on: MediaNama,  EconomicTimes.
    • Further, as per the Minister of State for Electronics and IT, in 2017, till June, as many as 735 social media URLs and 596 websites had been blocked.
  • Biologists at USENIX Security claim that encoding malicious software into physical strands of DNA is possible; such that when it is analysed by a gene sequencer, the resulting data would become a program that would corrupt the gene-sequencing software and take control of the underlying computer.
  • The UK Govt announced a Data Protection Bill which introduces a “right to innocence” which would allow individuals to instruct social networks to delete anything they posted before the age of 18
  • ‘Self-driving cars’ might be common in the future, but we can already see some of the issues that could arise. Security researchers at University of Washington have found ways which could cause the computer vision systems to misidentify the road signs.
  • The National Cyber Coordination Centre, the Indian government’s cyber security project which scans and records meta data on the Internet is live. It would likely have access to NATGRID and other intelligence/surveillance wings such as  NMW, EMMC.
  • Scientists used a powerful gene editing tool called Crispr-Cas9 to fix mutations in embryos made with the sperm of a man who inherited a heart condition
  • Around 175,000 connected security cameras manufactured by Chinese company Shenzhen Neo Electronics  are vulnerable to cyber attacks, according to a report by BitDefender.
  • A Google Employee in the United States of America was fired over a controversial memo on gender diversity. Sundar Pichai, Google’s CEO reportedly said that the memo suggesting that some individuals would “have traits that make them less biologically suited to that work” was offensive and a violation of their “basic values” and “Code of Conduct”
  • WhatsApp seeks to enter the FinTech industry in India, with plans to enable payments over UPI [Unified Payments Interface]
  • Russia and China seem to be even more aggressive in clamping down on VPN services
  • Checkers, Chess, Go, and Poker were seemingly not enough, Google’s DeepMind now seeks to take on the videogame StarCraft II
  • BabyQ and Little Bing,two experimental chatbots in China were reportedly taken down due to voicing criticism of the Communist Party.

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