LookBack 2014 part 2

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Well, with a slight delay I am back with the final lookback post. Here I have tried to cover the most important breakthrough or shocking event in the tech field.Have a look and do let me know if I have missed any thing important or what according to you shouldn’t have been here at all.


No.5: FLAPPY BIRD

Flappy Bird, the mobile game was released on May 24, 2013 for iOS but it received a sudden rise in popularity in early 2014. By the end of January 2014, it was the most downloaded free game in the iOS App Store. Flappy Bird was developed by Vietnam-based developer Dong Nguyen and published by GEARS Studios, a small, independent game developer also based in Vietnam.flappy_bird

The Android version of Flappy Bird was released to the Google Play store on January 30, 2014. However it was removed from both Apple’s App Store and Google Play by its creator on February 10, 2014, due to guilt over what he considered to be its addictive nature and overuse. Nguyen twitted: “I’m sorry ‘Flappy Bird’ users, 22 hours from now, I will take ‘Flappy Bird’ down. I cannot take this anymore.”

After removing the game, Nguyen’s Twitter account received abuse from fans unhappy with the decision. Nguyen received several threatening messages of murder and suicide. The game’s popularity and sudden removal caused phones with it pre-installed to be put up for sale for high prices over the Internet. In early 2014, Nguyen claimed in an interview with The Verge that the game was earning around $50,000 a day in revenue through its in-game advertising as well as sales. Therefore, creating a lot of ruckus all around the world among mobile game lovers.


No.4: The Fappening

August 31, 2014 saw another shocking event of hacking. A collection of almost 500 private pictures of various celebrities, mostly women, and with many containing nudity, were posted on the internet, and later disseminated by other users on websites and social networks such as Imgur, Reddit and Tumblr. The images were believed to have been obtained via a breach of Apple’s cloud services suite iCloud.
Apple later confirmed that the hackers responsible for the leak had obtained the images using a “very targeted attack” on account information, such as passwords, rather than any specific security vulnerability in the iCloud service itself.

The event, which media outlets and Internet users referred to under names such as “Celebgate” and “The Fappening”, was met with a varied reaction from the media and fellow celebrities. Critics felt that the distribution of the images was a major invasion of privacy for their subjects, while some of the allegedly depicted subjects questioned their authenticity. The leak also prompted increased concern from analysts surrounding the privacy and security of cloud computing services such as iCloud—with a particular emphasis on their use to store sensitive, private information.

A total of 26 celebrities including Jennifer Lawrence, Kaley Cuoco-Sweeting, Avril Lavigne, Vanessa Hudgens, Kim Kardashian were at the receiving end of this hacking episode. After some reaction of the celebrities, the hacker came up with a series of images naming it Fappening 1, 2,3.. and so on. Overall apart from these celebrities it was Apple Inc.who had to face the music for the alleged privacy breach.


No.3: Pirate Bay Down

Pirate bay is perhaps synonymous to internet for almost a decade now. It went smooth so far until second week of December last year. 9th December, police raid took it offline which happen to be most popular place to grab the latest episode of Game of Thrones or The Big Bang Theory months before the Blu-ray hits stores.

It was claimed that in 2006 alone, piracy cost it some $6.1 billion. Naturally, it went after the biggest target to exact its revenge: the Sweden-based site known as The Pirate Bay. Given Sweden’s lax laws regarding copyrighted materials, Hollywood had to enlist the United States government for help cracking down on the site who in turn pressurized the Swedish government. That led to Swedish police raiding the outfit in 2006, confiscating enough servers and computer equipment to fill three trucks and making two arrests. Three days later, the site was back up and running and more popular than ever thanks to a swell of mainstream media coverage.

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The Pirate Bay was the 97th most-visited website on the entire internet in 2008, according to Alexa data. During the 2009 trial that saw co-founders Fredrik Neij, Peter Sunde and Gottfrid Svartholm charged with $3.6 million in fines, along with time behind bars for aiding in copyright infringement, it was reported that The Pirate Bay had some 22 million users then.

Working of the pirate bay is well-known among its aficionados all over the world Instead of hosting the copyrighted material itself, The Pirate Bay maintained a database of the tracker files needed for users to download the “torrents” not the actual copyrighted content. Because you need a separate piece of software to actually use the torrent file and illegally download the content. The Pirate Bay saying it personally doesn’t break copyright law is technically accurate.

Depending on a few factors, you could get an HD version of the hour-long show in roughly 15 minutes or less. It was incredibly fast and easy enough for just about anyone to do, which made it especially dangerous.Last month, Swedish police raided a Stockholm-area server room and left with “several” servers and computers, with official counts unavailable. This took not only The Pirate Bay down, but also related sites bayimg.com, pastebay.net and The Pirate Bay’s message board, suprbay.org. As of now, The Pirate Bay proper remains offline. It’s hard to say whether that’s a result of the website’s raid countermeasures or police success.

Variety reports that the day before the shutdown, nearly 102 million IP addresses were downloading torrented movies and TV shows. That dropped to 95 million the day after the December 9th shutdown, but by end of December, pirate traffic was back up to just over 100 million IP addresses performing peer-to-peer downloads. And if the latest reports are to be trusted, it may be back again by the end of January, 2015.


No.2: Facebook buys Whatsapp for $19 billion

February 19th, 2014 , we witnessed world’s second largest tech take over. Facebook, agreed to buy mobile messaging service WhatsApp for $19 billion, making it the company’s largest acquisition. As per the terms and conditions of the deal, all 55 employees of WhatsApp including its founders will be granted restricted stock worth $3 billion that will vest over four years after the deal closes.

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg posted on his Wall, explaining why he bought WhatsApp.
The text of the letter is given below: More and more social networking

“I’m excited to announce that we’ve agreed to acquire WhatsApp and that their entire team will be joining us at Facebook.

Our mission is to make the world more open and connected. We do this by building services that help people share any type of content with any group of people they want. WhatsApp will help us do this by continuing to develop a service that people around the world love to use every day.

WhatsApp will continue to operate independently within Facebook. The product roadmap will remain unchanged and the team is going to stay in Mountain View. Over the next few years, we’re going to work hard to help WhatsApp grow and connect the whole world. We also expect that WhatsApp will add to our efforts forInternet.org, our partnership to make basic internet services affordable for everyone.”


No.1: Sony hacked

Last but not least, the event that made the world stop and take the hackers seriously was Sony hacking episode.
On November 24, 2014, personally identifiable information about Sony Pictures Entertainment (SPE) employees and their dependents, e-mails between employees, information about executive salaries at the company, copies of unreleased Sony films, and other information, was obtained and released by a hacker group going under the moniker “Guardians of Peace” or “GOP”. The identities of the hackers are currently unknown. There is no information currently available regarding whether or not individuals at Sony Pictures Entertainment assisted in the system compromise.The hackers are widely believed to be backed by the North Korean government, which is furious at Sony for producing The Interview, a movie that depicts the assassination of North Korean leader Kim Jong Un. On Wednesday, a terrorism threat against theaters showing the film caused Sony to cancel its planned Christmas Day release.

When Sony Pictures employees got into the office on Monday, November 24, they discovered that their corporate network had been hacked. The attackers took terabytes of private data, deleted the original copies from Sony computers, and left messages threatening to release the information if Sony didn’t comply with the attackers’ demands.

Notably, this is not the first time Sony has been targeted by hackers, but it is the most damaging incident.
In 2011, Sony’s PlayStation network was attacked by hackers who stole personal information about millions of PlayStation gamers and took the network down for weeks. This attack was motivated by anger about Sony’s lawsuit against an American hacker who attempted to reverse-engineer the PlayStation 3 to allow users to play third-party games not authorized by Sony.

Meanwhile the FBI is still investigating. In the past, the perpetrators of major attacks have often been apprehended. A huge amount of data has been released already, and much of it hasn’t been carefully analyzed. There might be more data coming out in the future. We don’t know if any major scoops are still hidden in that vast haystack.


Honorary Mention: Orkut Shutdown

Yes, it’s gone and gone forever. Although we live in an era of facebook but we cannot forget Orkut, the first very popular social networking website owned and operated by Google.orkut_logo_screenshot_official_youtube
Named after its creator, Google employee Orkut Büyükkökten, it became very popular among the youth. However,on June 30, 2014, Google announced it would be closing Orkut on September 30, 2014 and no new accounts could be created starting from July 2014. Users could download their profile archive by Google Takeout. Adios Orkut!!

The world witnessed a roller coaster of events filled with shock and awe,some were quite utopic whereas some made us ponder but what binds us more than everything that divides us is that we refuse to give and subdue our thoughts.
Coming year 2015 shall be another very important year of us tech geeks for sure.Wish you all a very happy nad a prosperous new year 2015. May God bless you.
Chao!!