Author Topic: China interferes with gmail in subtle ways  (Read 1578 times)

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Offline nslay

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China interferes with gmail in subtle ways
« on: March 20, 2011, 10:58:51 PM »
http://www.guardian.co.uk/technology/2011/mar/20/google-gmail

I think this is the future of hacking ... attacks that are not obviously attacks and might even be mistaken as a simple bug. Such subtleties can be used to modify user behavior or deter use of convenient features or services.  My opinion is that advertisers already do these types of attacks with digital video recorders, smart phones, TVs, and various other types of devices - and it's easy to get away with it.

EDIT: Let's take Comcast's PVR for example. A year or two ago, they added a "convenient feature" where fast forward and rewind would move back or forward respectively on resuming play, depending on how fast you fast forward/rewind. However, despite this "feature," I've yet to master positioning video, often having to wait through some advertisement. There are also complaints about this "feature".

Another example. Comcast's PVR strangely cannot gracefully switch between HD and analog (has always been this way).  Sometimes, HD channels get analog commercials. Hence, if you're fast forwarding/rewinding too fast through recorded HD and you hit an analog commercial, you risk crashing the PVR software or prematurely fast forwarding to the very end of the recording.

I'm not necessarily claiming Comcast did this to intentionally deter use of these features, but if they did ... who would know?  Hence, it is very possible that a subtle bug could be maliciously introduced (or remain unfixed) with the intent of modifying user behaviors (in this case, annoying users to watch a little bit of advertising). These are such subtle annoyances it's very easy for the user to ignore these problems or for a company to ignore complaints, play dumb or even deny the existence of said bug. It's so easy to get away with it.
« Last Edit: March 20, 2011, 11:13:55 PM by nslay »
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