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Do not use ZOOM !

Computers appeared in the second half of the 20th century and revolutionized the world. The French Academy defines computer science as "the science of rational processing" by automatic machines. This new tool facilitates the processing of information and communications. Computer science will quickly conquer the world and will never stop evolving. It is defined as an integral part of the scientific, technical and industrial field of activity. In this science everything is done thanks to more or less sophisticated programs that are managed by machines. A robot that has made it possible to popularize computing to the general public is none other than the computer. Recently it is the videoconferencing software ZOOM that has faced many accusations. We will study this case with the help of a cyber security expert at the end of this article. First of all, let's go back over the history of this science.


Even if today this technology is completely rooted in our society, its history only begins in 1834. An English mathematician, Charles Babbag, imagined the concept of the first programmable machines. Considered a visionary inventor, he was inspired by the work of Blaise Pascal and invented the principles of programming and automated production. He will also create the basis of the works that will later become the first computers. Unfortunately, he will never be able to implement his ideas because his time did not allow it.


Computers came into being thanks to several technological and scientific advances. First of all, there was an important mathematical discovery with algorithms. The term was first used in 1840. Ada Lovelace, a mathematician, defined the principle of using different successive steps in the execution of an operation by Algorithm. Then in 1884, Herman Hollerith created a tabulator. It is the first machine that can process information. It is this man who is going to create the company so known IBM. It is in 1924 that he renames his company Tabulating Machine Corporation into International Business Machine (IBM). In 1935, IBM released the IBM 601 calculator capable of multiplying in 1 second, which was revolutionary for the time. Intended mainly for scientists and accountants, it is only 2 years later that an innovation now makes it possible to solve mathematical problems. Created by Alan M. Turing, a British mathematician and cryptologist, he simply called it Turing's Machine (the first computer in history). In 1938 Shannon succeeded in linking electrical circuits and Bool's algebra. This algebra describes mathematics from an algebraic point of view of logic using variables, operators and functions on logical variables. It then defines the binary digit "BIT" for BInary digiT.


Alan M.Turing


Then came the Second World War, which allowed a major breakthrough in the world of computers. During this period, electronic circuits, capacitors and relays were invented to replace mechanical components. Digital computing was replaced by analog computing. Thus, from 1937 to 1944, a large number of computer models such as MODEL K or the Havard Mark 1 are used to decipher the military communication codes of enemy countries. The computers of that time have nothing to do with those we know today and are several meters high and wide.


Model K

It is from 1946 that the first modern computers appeared, completely electronic like the ENIAC (Electronique Numerical Integrator and Computer) designed by Presper Ecker and John William Mauchly (American engineer and physicist).



ENIAC


The early 1950s, IBM launched several models with the invention of the microprocessor and an improvement in the miniaturization and power of systems.

It should also be taken into account that at that time, computers did not have the same functions as today's computers. Initially, there were only two uses: scientific calculations and business management. In the 1960s, the appearance of integrated circuits allowed machines to automate calculations. It was then that the United States saw the future in computing and decided to invest money in the development of important programs. We can mention artificial intelligence, coding, cryptography and machine translation.


From 1975 onwards, there was an increase in the power and reliability of computers. All practices such as research, design, marketing, publication and communication have been areas taken over and transformed by computers. Little by little, computer data entry is changing the world of printing and replacing the typewriter in companies and then in homes. The computer offers more possibilities, such as changing the size and shape of the font. For the anecdote, in June 1975, Bill Gates and Paul Allen renamed their company Traf-O-Data, created in 1972, to Microsoft (later to become Microsoft).


Computers spread so easily around the world that in February 1976, Bill Gates wrote an open letter complaining about the hacking that was becoming more and more widespread.


To complete this technological revolution came the Internet. It all began in October 1957 with the Soviet satellite Sputnik sent into space in the middle of the Cold War. (For more information on Sputnik and the conquest of space, read this article : This leads to the creation of the US government agency DARPA to monitor America's continued technological superiority over the rest of the world. In 1962, Professor Licklider devised a networking system so that computers could exchange information more easily between laboratories and universities. Two years later, Paul Baran put forward the idea of creating a decentralized network that would allow the computer system to continue to function even if one of the machines was attacked. In 1968, ARPANET took up the work of this professor and created the first large-scale computer network.


One year later, the American army develops a secret navigation system capable of resisting a nuclear war. The army asks the universities to create a decentralized network that would continue to function even if an attack takes place. In 1972, the engineers' determination paid off. March marks the appearance of the first major network for ARPANET (the first packet transfer network developed in the United States). This network is based on communication between users by sending e-mails. This system is based on the exchange of data by packet. That is to say that information is cut into small pieces by the sender, they travel on the network independently before gathering at the reception. When sending the first message via ARPANET by a university, the word login, the system bugs when sending the fourth letter. Yet the engineers are not worried, convinced that they have a promising innovation.


ARPANET owns about twenty computers but mainly an e-mail system. In January 1973 "only" 73 machines were connected to the ARPANET network. Other networks were also created such as UUCP, NCP, X.25 and exchanges became complicated. It is then that two men (Vint Cerf and Bob Khan) will propose in 1974 the TCP protocol which will become later TCP/IP (this protocol gathers all the various networks). This protocol allows to simplify in an exponential way the exchanges between networks. This will make it possible to identify each computer by an IP address. To briefly explain the transfer of information; the transfer is done between two computers identified by an IP, the information is cut into small

packets and each packet will circulate on the network with the shortest path to reach the recipient. A great revolution occurred in 1991 when a researcher at CERN (European Council for Nuclear Research) created the World Wide Web (www), which became the World Wide Web. The "www" that you see in the URL of web pages is a Hypertext system operating exclusively on the Internet. The web thus becomes one of the many uses of the Internet. This revolution consists of consulting pages, hosted on a server with the help of a browser inter-connected by links, which allows the Internet user to switch to different contents intuitively. Achieving this requires a very important work as he develops the HTML language, invents the http protocol and the URL format (elements constituting the web as such). Moreover, Tim Berners-Lee will decide not to commercialize his work and to offer it to humanity because the Web is an important creation for its evolution. It is largely thanks to him that we can navigate the web today. As a result, the giants of the Web develop, as do search engines such as Yahoo in 1994 or Google in 1998.


Tim Berners-Lee


Today, 46% of the world's population is connected to the Internet, i.e. 3.4 billion people.



Yet, as we have seen, the desire to acquire as much of a user's personal information as possible and hacking have always been present in any form.

Recently it is the videoconferencing software "ZOOM" that has suffered the consequences.

On March 26th, Vice's tech site, after analyzing the ZOOM codes, revealed that the iOS version of the application would disclose private information of users with Facebook, a giant social network.


But the accusations continue. On March 31, ZOOM's corporate directory feature was studied and it was announced that anyone can have access to all contacts using an email with the same domain name as him. Hundreds of strangers could access their personal data such as their email address, photos and even call them by video-conference.


The accusations persisted and it was on April 1st that an ex-NSA worker claimed to have discovered 2 major flaws in the application. One let a hacker into a user's computer and could therefore access the audio and video streams of the application and do whatever he wanted on the computer in question. ZOOM accounts were even sold on the Darkweb. The Darkweb is a place on the web where, with of course protections such as a VPN, any individual is not controlled, ... Illegal products are therefore sold on this part of the web, such as weapons, drugs, credit cards, ... Warning, the Darkweb is not to be confused with the Deepweb (representing 90% of

the web).

The Deepweb corresponds to everything that is not accessible by others with a simple URL. Let's take the example of your mailbox, only you have access to it with a login and a password. The Darkweb is accessible via platforms such as Tor, I2P, Freenet, ... where the URLs are specific to the platform you're using and accessible to everyone.


A graph might help you better understand :


Grunge News decided to interview a cyber security expert for you.


He introduces himself to us :

"Hi, my name is Leonard and I study Cyber Security at Saarland University in Germany."


Grunge News : How do you know if an application / software is reliable in terms of keeping the user's personal data ?

Leonard : If you are really concerned about your privacy and the actual functionality of a software, it is always good to use Open-Source solutions. This means that everyone has a free preview of the software code and can therefore easily see what the software does behind the curtain. Even if you have no idea about the coding, you still benefit from the fact that other people can supervise the software developers. Nowadays, there are open-source solutions for almost everything.


Grunge News : How best to keep personal data on the Internet knowing that today almost everyone is on social networks ?

Leonard : The importance of personal data is often underestimated. Many people apparently don't care about their data, which is extremely unwise. Passwords can often be guessed with a bit of social engineering and OSINT (Open Source Intelligence), because people share keywords and dates with the Internet. You should always change your privacy settings directly after registering on a website or online social network. If you want to keep your profile public, at least remember not to share real names, important dates or similar things online.


Grunge News : What do you think of the ZOOM application ? Recently, it was said that the application doesn't respect users' personal data and shares them on Facebook !

Leonard : I strongly recommend not using Zoom. However, this is not because of what you mentioned. Zoom shares data with Facebook because Zoom used the Facebook API incorrectly. You can assume that this was not done on purpose. What makes Zoom much more dangerous is the fact that they themselves seem to have a huge amount of security vulnerability in their code. There have been many major flaws discovered in the last few weeks that should never happen. Currently, there are also 2 so-called zero-day exploits (meaning that this vulnerability is currently not exploited, which means that developers probably don't know about it). On sale on the Darkweb for $500,000. Currently, you can buy two types of ZOOM hacks on the Darkweb. These hacks are called zero-day exploits because they are not commonly discovered at the moment. This means that someone found a vulnerability in ZOOM and is now selling it on Darknets of the Darkweb for $500,000. No one else knows about the vulnerability yet except the person selling it.


Grunge News : As long as there are so many new vulnerabilities found every day, I can only recommend using alternatives such as Microsoft Teams. Grunge News: What are the dangers for personal data of downloading third-party applications to smartphones via alternative stores such as Cocernutx, Appvalley, Tutuapp, ...?

Leonard : You should never download and run third party software that you don't explicitly trust. Advertisements like "Free Spotify" are almost never free of threats. You have to remember that people who offer these things don't do it because they're nice people. They want to make money and there are many ways to do that and exploit your device without you even noticing.

For example, the application can add your device to a botnet, start the encryption. In the best case, you get a lot of boring ads and that's it. In the worst case, they get full access to your device and can access everything, including all personal data, such as pictures, videos, contacts. Standard App Stores like PlayStore offer better control of their listed applications. They also sometimes have malicious applications to download, but these are usually removed from the store within a few days.



So IT was not created in a day, yet it has evolved rapidly, with every decade new innovations appearing on the market. The 1970s were decisive in the evolution of this science, networks began to grow, the Internet appeared and then conquered the world, ... However, the hackers, always present, never tire of this technology and always reinvent their modes of action in order to break into a private individual's operating system or not. We have also seen with this article the dangers of badly protecting personal data. Take Leonard's advice to live in better conditions. Let's live better, let's live hidden !

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