Tag Archives: inLab FIB UPC

An app to keep care homes for the elderly in touch with relatives of residents

Daily contact between care homes for the elderly and relatives of residents is a delicate relationship. Particularly in the first weeks of residence, it requires a great effort by both parties to ensure that the adaptation is satisfactory, and that the residents are receiving the care and attention they need.


David Sadurní, CEO of Smart Technologies Development, is well aware of this. His father, who has Alzheimer’s disease, lives in a specialized centre in Castelldefels (Barcelona). The need to find a vehicle to channel important information for families, including the schedule of activities, nutrition-related aspects or a simple photograph to check how the resident looks, led to the creation of GerApp, an application for keeping care homes in touch with relatives of residents through the mobile phone. To carry out the project, Smart Technologies Development approached inLab FIB, which is a member of the UPC Technology Center (CIT UPC).

The work was carried out over five months by a five-person team, led by Marta Cuatrecasas, the coordinator of the Project Development department at inLab FIB UPC. “They had a clear idea and asked us to undertake the technological development of the application, with the requirement that it could function on three platforms (iOs, Android and Windows)”. To achieve this, inLab used Phone Gap, a framework that enables apps to be implemented on the main supports.

For inLab FIB UPC, the work involved putting all their efforts into a project that was focused 100% on marketing the product, “which was very stimulating”, explained Marta Cuatrecasas.

This is one of the technological developments that inLab FIB UPC has launched in collaboration with companies, and particularly with start-ups. This model of collaboration is gaining importance and is of great benefit to both parties.

For David Sadurní, the experience of working with a university centre was satisfactory: “We came with the idea and sought the technological support of inLab FIB, who we’d collaborated with on another project, and the result was as expected. They were highly committed, and treated us well. They work on a range of projects, but were still always available for GerApp”. It is hoped that the collaboration will continue, currently with the design of a manager for the application, which will also be designed in the technology centre’s laboratories.

The heads of Smart Technologies Development are now introducing the application in the first care homes for the elderly, and are looking for sponsors to fund its use, which should be at zero cost for the families and the homes. Meanwhile, the Associació Catalana de Recursos Assistencials (ACRA) has given an award to the idea, as the best innovation in dependency and the promotion of personal autonomy.

Cybercrimes are still on the rise

There are some who think that phishing has gone out of fashion. But according to reports by the Anti-Phishing Working Group (APWG)1, the number of attacks of this kind rose again in 2014 to reach the highest ever levels (a new case every two minutes; almost 250,000 a year in total). In the same year, the number of web domains set up for identity theft also increased by 7%, whilst the total number of domains in the world grew by a slower rate of 3%. Phishing attacks on social networks still have a 125% annual growth.

Manel Medina

Manel Medina

The real danger for society is that phishing has led to spearphishing or attacks aimed at a person or group within an organization. These attacks increase at a rate of 8% a year and cause average losses of €75,000. They consist of very specific messages, apparently from people we know or colleagues, with topics and contents copied from our normal emails.

The last report published by APWG on phishing trends and activities and cybercrime in general, indicates that during the last quarter of 2014:
– A total of 549 corporations were attacked by phishing, which is up almost 4% from the previous quarter.
– Every three months around 100,000 individual phishing attacks are recorded. There is a certain degree of seasonal variation, as at the start of the year (the post-Christmas crunch, Chinese New Year) there are fewer attacks, and at the end of the year (Christmas campaigns, Black Friday, etc.) more are recorded. This number is still rising, after a drop in 2009. For example, PayPal receives almost 100 attacks a day, and Apple registered the most, with an average of over 120 attacks a day.
– Over 70% of all attacks are on activities related to financial transactions: e-commerce is the main target (32.4%), followed by banks (25.7%) and correspondent banks (12.8%).
– Only 1.7% of the domain names used to steal information have a name similar to that of a well-known commercial brand. So if we look at the URLs that we are going to visit, we could avoid over 98% of attacks.
– Every day, almost 230,000 new forms or varieties of malware are registered on average.

Other sources indicate that just in the USA in 2014, a total of 621 major incidents of this kind occurred, leading to the theft of 77,890,487 user records. The credit and banking sectors reported 24 major incidents in the same year, which compromised 1,172,320 client records.

In Europe, personal data theft is increasing at a rate of 25% a year, according to the ENISA report (ENISA Threat Landscape 2014), and tends to be focused on data that have a financial impact on the victims.

A total of 80% of cyberattacks are made possible by weak passwords.

A total of 29% of security incidents have been related in some way to social networks, with average losses of €20,000 to 80,000 per attack. Scams based on identity theft or theft of contact data or friends from social networks lead to losses of over 10 billion euros, which are also the estimated losses due to what are known as 419 scams.

Cybercrime continues to increase and we continue to fight against it. Coming up is the I Symposium on Electronic Crime Research (eCrime 2015) in Barcelona, organized by the APWG, an organization in which I am chair of the Organizing Committee. At this conference, we will look at how we can face the new challenges of cybercrime at global level, and we will study how the latest research responds to the latest cybercrime techniques.


In the same field, but in the area of dissemination, the book Cibercrimen will be presented in Barcelona today at the Librería HispanoAmericana (Gran Vía 594). In a simple way for any internet user, we will learn how to move through cyberspace without exposing ourselves to cybercrime, through useful self-protection techniques.

We look forward to seeing you there!

PhD. Manuel Medina

Professor at the Universidad Politècnica de Catalunya (UPC), Scientific Coordinator of the European division of APWG (APWG.EU), a member of the advisory council of ISMS Forum Spain (2013), and the founder and director of esCERT-UPC (which is part of inLab FIB UPC).