1. Prologue
  2. Security: Heartbleed bug
  3. Security: Bash / Shellshock bug
  4. Security: IoE-Internet of Everything
  5. Security: Vishing- Voice Phishing
  6. Security: COWL
  7. Chip: Raspberry Pi
  8. Chip: System on Chip (SoC)
  9. Soc.Service: Facebook’s Internet Drones
  10. Soc.Service: Facebook Safety Check App
  11. Soc.Service: Google ILIA
  12. Soc.Service: Saransh tool by CBSE


  • Collection of IT related topics from Sept. to Nov Week1 in Hindu.
  • Relevance: Mains GS3- Awareness in the field of IT.
  • I believe maximum “aukaat” of any of these topics = 100 words question. Hence not going very deep.

Security: Heartbleed bug

Heartbleed bug

Heartbleed bug Mechanism

  • When? Reported in April 2014
  • OpenSSL: Open Secure Sockets Layer- is a security standard encrypting communications between user and server.
  • OpenSSL sends “signal” from user computer to sever, at regular interval, to ensure that server is online. This mechanism is called “Heartbeat”.
  • But there was a coding-mistake in it. Hacker could send a “malicious” heartbeat (signal) to server, and server would responds back by sending him your username, password and other sensitive information.
  • Hence called “heart-bleed” bug.
  • Solution : servers need to patch their openSSL system and users need to change their passwords.
  • Danger level: Heartbleed bug considered less dangerous than Shellshock bug, because it allows hackers to only ‘spy’ on the data transfer between user and server.but he cannot control the user’s system.

Security: Bash / Shellshock bug

  • When? Reported in September 2014
  • Linux, Android and Mac-OS are Unix based operating systems.
  • Bash is a shell-command software in Unix computers and servers.
  • Using a security vulnerability in this software, hacker can control entire system.
  • Solution: Companies have released software patches but experts believe they’re incomplete.

Why Shellshock more dangerous than Heartbleed?

  • Doesn’t require professional hacking expertise. Even a “script-kiddie” can copy paste a few codes and hack the system via internet.
  • Any internet connected device is vulnerable- even the linux system used in cars, cameras, android phones, iphones and even the Raspberry Pi.
  • Using Hearbleed, hacker could only “spy” on your computer but he couldnot “control” your system. But shellshock permits both spying and system-control. So, hacker can even commit “first online murder” via “internet of everything”.

Security: IoE-Internet of Everything

  • At present, We are living in “Internet of Things”. But 99% of the things are not connected to Internet.
  • CISCO research predicts by 2020, we’ll evolve to next stage-“Internet of everything” (IoE).
  • IoE concept: Using micro sensors  and internet, everyday objects will become connected and intelligent.
  • For example- lights, Air-conditions, doorlocks, wearable heart monitors that are controlled via internet.
But hackers can misuse such technology
2007 Ex-US Vice President Dick Cheney asked doctors to disable “wireless” facility in his pacemaker. He feared terrorists could hack and stop the pace-maker to assassinate him.
2014, Oct
  • EU’s cybercrime centre says first online murder can happen by 2014 end.
  • Faster internet, cloud computing, gadgets that store your time and location information- all these things will help in perfect murder.
  • Directly: via hacking Pacemakers, insulin pumps, hospital ventilators etc.
  • Indirectly: via spying on your personal data or framing you for a cybercrime=>extortion =>suicide.

Security: Vishing- Voice Phishing

  • When? Going on since a long time but Hindu column in Oct 2014.
  • Vishing means Voice Phishing. In phishing: you’re misdirected to a fake bank website. In Vishing: you’re misdirected to a fake helpline. Modus Operandi is following:
  • Fraudster obtains your profile picture, date of birth, education, residential information from your social media profile.
  • He call you claiming “I’m from bank. I need to verify your details.” He mentions your DoB, education etc. to gain trust.
  • Then he says “there is a security problem, your account is deactivated because of unauthorized transaction, please call the call this xyz emergency number.”
  • But he has created a fake helpline number, with automated voice messages. Customer believes it to be authentic bank helplines, and gives credit card PIN, CVV; netbanking username, password etc.
  • Another trick- he says you’ve won i-phone but need to transfer xyz sum to xyz account as courier charges.

Security: COWL

  • Confinement with Origin Web Labels (COWL) launched in 2014, October.
  • Works with Mozilla’s Firefox Google’s Chrome web browsers.

Yes but what’s its function?

  • Nowadays, website aggregate content from multiple sites and display information. For example, a blogpage with embedded youtube video and picasa/flickr slideshow.
  • Hackers design such innocent looking webpages with malicious JavaScript code hidden in them.
  • COWL confines the JavaScript  only to the given browser tab and prevents malicious codes from information to unauthorised third party website.

Chip: Raspberry Pi

Raspberry Pi

Raspberry Pi compuer

When? This device launched in 2012 but making news again in Hindu September 2014. hence important.
Who? UK based Raspberry Pi foundation.
  • A credit-card sized chip.
  • Weighs less than 50 grams.
  • Plug it in your TV, attach a keyboard and it can do everything that a desktop PC can do- work on spreadsheet, word-pressing, play HD videos upto Blueray!
  • 700 Mhz CPU chip similar to mobile phones.
  • Doesn’t require separate CPU-heatfan or Air-conditioned environment like a regular PC.
  • Hence energy consumption very low.
Max RAM 512 MB
Storage 6 to 32GB SD cards.
  • cannot run Microsoft Windows or Android Operating system because of low memory.
  • can linux based operating systems such as Pidora and Raspbian.
  • 25-35$ depending on model.
  • 40 lakh pieces sold so far
  • They’re Planning to add touch-screen to it next year to make a dirt cheap tablet.
  • Will help bringing down digital divide in South Asian and African countries.
  • Lot more can be written about its potential uses, but max. aukaat of such gadget topic is 100 words. For that, above content sufficient.

Chip: System on Chip (SoC)

When? Been in news since 2010-11. But again appeared in Hindu Nov 2014. Hence important.
Who? DRDO- Defence Research & Development Organisation
  • miniaturised embedded computer on a chip.
  • For missiles, drones, airplanes and ships.


  • At present, missiles have on-board computer (OBC).
  • With separate components like CPU, memory, IO-devices weighting ~4-5 kilos.
  • Together, they launch and guide the missile towards its direction.

Now, DRDO combined all those components into a single chip called “System on Chip” (SoC). Benefits of SoC?

  • Processing speed increased by 6-7 times.
  • 50% cheaper in cost.
  • Hardly 200 gms weight. Means more space for fuel and warheads.
  • Reduced power consumption.
  • Will be used in Astra missile (Air to Air), Tejas, Mig-29 and Su-30 MKI.
  • SoC is not a completely new invention. USA, Israel, China already have such chips. But this one is indigenously developed in India= just like Nirbhay we got “experience building”, will help in future inventions, will make us self-reliant.

Soc.Service: Facebook’s Internet Drones

  • Today only 1/3rd of world population has internet connectivity.
  • Mark Zuckerberg and internet.org aim to provide affordable internet to remaining 2/3rd of world population.
  • They plan to launch Internet-carrying solar-powered drones by 2015.
  • They’ll beam wireless internet using laser. Thus those drones will act as ‘wifi-hotspots’.
  • Size: big as Boeing 747 commercial aircraft.

Challenges in regulation:

  • These drones will have to fly above weather at 65,000 feet. But no international regulations exist for that range.
  • Present rule is “One pilot per plane”. Need new rules to permit 1 (ground based) pilot/operator to manage multiple drones.

Competition from google:

  • Google already acquired Titan Aerospace- start company making such solar-powered drones. Facebook had to buy another British company.
  • Google already working on “Project Loon” to give net connectivity via balloons in stratosphere. Although facebook brags that drones tougher and long-lasting than ballons.

Soc.Service: Facebook Safety Check App

Facebook Safety app

Facebook Safety app for Disaster Management

  • 2011: Japan Tsunami, Facebook had created a separate message board to help Japanese members tell their friends they’re ok.
  • 2014, Oct: Based on that model, Facebook  launched the “Safety check app”
  • During an earthquake and other disasters, user can tick “I’m ok or I’m not in the area”. User can also mark his friends as ‘safe’.
  • His friends will be notified, so they can stop worrying.
  • Will benefit facebook’s 1.3 billion users
  • Will work even on basic phones in third world countries.

Soc.Service: Google ILIA

When? Nov 2014
What? Indian Language Internet alliance (ILIA)
Who? Google, CDAC, NDTV, Network 18 & other content providers.
  • Serve digital content in local language-  websites, apps, videos and blogs.
  • To 300 million Indians
  • Deadline: 2017

But why?

  • ~200 million Indians know English.
  • 5 million net users added every months, Most of them via mobile devices and don’t know English.
  • Google has implemented voice search in Hindi, and launched a website, www.hindiweb.com, to help users get Hindi webpages.

Soc.Service: Saransh tool by CBSE

Saransh CBSE tool

Saransh CBSE tool for Class9 to 12-school & student performance

  • CBSE: central board of secondary education.
  • Since 2009 they were conducting two tests on class 9 to 12 students.
    • Continuous and Comprehensive evaluation (CCE)
    • Problem Solving Assessments (PSA).
  • Now those statistics loaded into CBSE’s Online tool “Saransh”. (2014, November)
  • At present, only teachers given username and passwords. Later facility will be given to parents as well. So they can check performance of their kids and even decide which school is better for admission.
  • Schools can compare performance of their students at state, regional and all India level. And make corrective steps accordingly.