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AI is Being Used For Hacking By North Korea and Iran, According to Microsoft

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AI is Being Used For Hacking By North Korea and Iran, According to Microsoft

Microsoft stated on Wednesday that generative artificial intelligence is being used, mostly by Iran and North Korea, and to a smaller extent by Russia and China, to launch or coordinate offensive cyber operations.

Microsoft said that it worked with business partner OpenAI to identify and neutralize numerous attacks that tried to take advantage of AI technology they had created.

The corporation stated in a blog post that although the methods were “early-stage” and neither “particularly novel nor unique,” it was still vital to make them public given that US competitors were using large-language models to increase their capacity for network breaches and influence operations.

Machine learning has been utilized by cybersecurity companies for a long time in defense, mostly to identify unusual network activities. However, the usage of it by malevolent actors and hostile hackers has increased since large-language models, such as OpenAI’s ChatGPT, were introduced.

Microsoft has made billion-dollar investments in OpenAI, and the company released a paper on Wednesday indicating that generative AI is anticipated to improve malevolent social engineering, resulting in more advanced deepfakes and voice cloning. A danger to democracy in a year when elections are being held in more than 50 nations, amplifying misinformation and already happening,

Microsoft gave a few instances. It said that all generative AI assets and accounts of the specified organizations had been disabled in each case:

The models have been utilized by Kimsuky, a North Korean cyber-espionage group, to gather information from international think tanks that cover the nation and to produce content suitable for spear-phishing hacking operations.

Large-language models have been utilized by Iran’s Revolutionary Guard to help with social engineering, software issue troubleshooting, and even researching ways for hackers to avoid discovery in a hacked network. This involves sending out phishing emails, “one of which purports to be from an international development agency and another of which aims to entice well-known feminists to visit a feminism website created by the attacker.” The production of emails is accelerated and enhanced by AI.

The models have been used by the Russian GRU military intelligence organization, often known as Fancy Bear, to study radar and satellite technology that could be connected to the situation in Ukraine.

Targeting a wide spectrum of sectors, universities, and governments from France to Malaysia, the Chinese cyber-espionage outfit Aquatic Panda has communicated with the models “in ways that suggest a limited exploration of how LLMs can augment their technical operations.”

Maverick Panda, a Chinese organization that has been pursuing US defense contractors and other related industries for over ten years, seems to be assessing large-language models’ usefulness as a source of information regarding “potentially sensitive topics, high profile individuals, regional geopolitics, US influence, and internal affairs.”

OpenAI said that their current GPT-4 model chatbot offers “only limited, incremental capabilities for malicious cybersecurity tasks beyond what is already achievable with publicly available, non-AI powered tools” in a different blog post that was published on Wednesday.

Researchers in Cybersecurity Anticipate That to Alter

“There are two epoch-defining threats and challenges,” Jen Easterly, the director of the US Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency, stated to Congress in April of last year. Artificial intelligence is the other, and China is the first.

Easterly stated then that the US needs to make sure security was taken into consideration when developing AI.

The public release of ChatGPT in November 2022, as well as later releases by rivals like Google and Meta, have drawn criticism for being recklessly hurried, given that security was essentially an afterthought throughout development.

CEO of cybersecurity company Tenable Amit Yoran stated, “Of course bad actors are using large-language models—that decision was made when Pandora’s Box was opened.”

It would be more responsible for Microsoft to concentrate on making large-language models more secure rather than developing and marketing solutions to remedy flaws in them, as some cybersecurity experts have complained about.

“Why not create more secure black-box LLM foundation models instead of selling defensive tools for a problem they are helping to create?” asked Gary McGraw, a computer security veteran and co-founder of the Berryville Institute of Machine Learning.

While the use of AI and large-language models may not present an obvious threat right away, according to NYU professor and former AT&T chief security officer Edward Amoroso, they “will eventually become one of the most powerful weapons in every nation-state military’s offense.”

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Biden, Kishida Secure Support from Amazon and Nvidia for $50 Million Joint AI Research Program

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As the two countries seek to enhance cooperation around the rapidly advancing technology, President Joe Biden and Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida have enlisted Amazon.com Inc. and Nvidia Corp. to fund a new joint artificial intelligence research program.

A senior US official briefed reporters prior to Wednesday’s official visit at the White House, stating that the $50 million project will be a collaborative effort between Tsukuba University outside of Tokyo and the University of Washington in Seattle. A separate collaborative AI research program between Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh and Tokyo’s Keio University is also being planned by the two nations.

The push for greater research into artificial intelligence comes as the Biden administration is weighing a series of new regulations designed to minimize the risks of AI technology, which has developed as a key focus for tech companies. The White House announced late last month that federal agencies have until the end of the year to determine how they will assess, test, and monitor the impact of government use of AI technology.

In addition to the university-led projects, Microsoft Corp. announced on Tuesday that it would invest $2.9 billion to expand its cloud computing and artificial intelligence infrastructure in Japan. Brad Smith, the president of Microsoft, met with Kishida on Tuesday. The company released a statement announcing its intention to establish a new AI and robotics lab in Japan.

Kishida, the second-largest economy in Asia, urged American business executives to invest more in Japan’s developing technologies on Tuesday.

“Your investments will enable Japan’s economic growth — which will also be capital for more investments from Japan to the US,” Kishida said at a roundtable with business leaders in Washington.

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OnePlus and OPPO Collaborate with Google to Introduce Gemini Models for Enhanced Smartphone AI

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As anticipated, original equipment manufacturers, or OEMs, are heavily integrating AI into their products. Google is working with OnePlus, OPPO, and other companies to integrate Gemini models into their smartphones. They intend to introduce the Gemini models on smartphones later this year, becoming the first OEMs to do so. Gemini models will go on sale later in 2024, as announced at the Google Cloud Next 24 event. Gemini models are designed to provide users with an enhanced artificial intelligence (AI) experience on their gadgets.

Customers in China can now create AI content on-the-go with devices like the OnePlus 12 and OPPO Find X7 thanks to OnePlus and OPPO’s Generative AI models.

The AI Eraser tool was recently made available to all OnePlus customers worldwide. This AI-powered tool lets users remove unwanted objects from their photos. For OnePlus and OPPO, AI Eraser is only the beginning.

In the future, the businesses hope to add more AI-powered features like creating original social media content and summarizing news stories and audio.

AndesGPT LLM from OnePlus and OPPO powers AI Eraser. Even though the Samsung Galaxy S24 and Google Pixel 8 series already have this feature, it is still encouraging to see OnePlus and OPPO taking the initiative to include AI capabilities in their products.

OnePlus and OPPO devices will be able to provide customers with a more comprehensive and sophisticated AI experience with the release of the Gemini models. It is important to remember that OnePlus and OPPO already power the Trinity Engine, which makes using phones incredibly smooth, and use AI and computational mathematics to enhance mobile photography.

By 2024, more original equipment manufacturers should have AI capabilities on their products. This is probably going to help Google because OEMs will use Gemini as the foundation upon which to build their features.

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Meta Explores AI-Enabled Search Bar on Instagram

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In an attempt to expand the user base for its generative AI-powered products, Meta is moving forward. The business is experimenting with inserting Meta AI into the Instagram search bar for both chat with AI and content discovery, in addition to testing the chatbot Meta AI with users in nations like India on WhatsApp.

When you type a query into the search bar, Meta AI initiates a direct message (DM) exchange in which you can ask questions or respond to pre-programmed prompts. Aravind Srinivas, CEO of Perplexity AI, pointed out that the prompt screen’s design is similar to the startup’s search screen.

Plus, it might make it easier for you to find fresh Instagram content. As demonstrated in a user-posted video on Threads, you can search for Reels related to a particular topic by tapping on a prompt such as “Beautiful Maui sunset Reels.”

Additionally, TechCrunch spoke with a few users who had the ability to instruct Meta AI to look for recommendations for Reels.

By using generative AI to surface new content from networks like Instagram, Meta hopes to go beyond text generation.

With TechCrunch, Meta verified the results of its Instagram AI experiment. But the company didn’t say whether or not it uses generative AI technology for search.

A Meta representative told TechCrunch, “We’re testing a range of our generative AI-powered experiences publicly in a limited capacity. They are under development in varying phases.”

There are a ton of posts available discussing Instagram search quality. It is therefore not surprising that Meta would want to enhance search through the use of generative AI.

Furthermore, Instagram should be easier to find than TikTok, according to Meta. In order to display results from Reddit and TikTok, Google unveiled a new perspectives feature last year. Instagram is developing a feature called “Visibility off Instagram” that could allow posts to appear in search engine results, according to reverse engineer Alessandro Paluzzi, who made this discovery earlier this week on X.

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