The Olympics has been hit by new and destructive malware

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The Olympics has been hit by new and destructive malware

Newly identified software called Olympic Destroyer is ravaging systems in Pyeongchang.

The news:Following a spate of hacks, Cisco security researchers have announced that it found malware at the Olympics that’s designed for destruction. It deletes backups and boot files, in order to brick computers and servers.

The damage so far: The Guardian reports that the malware has briefly taken down the Pyeongchang Olympics website, shut down wi-fi networks, and grounded drones. It could well strike again.

Who’s behind it:So far, that’s unclear. Researchers at Crowdstrike suggest Russia; those at Intexer say China. Whoever it is, they appear to have deemed the attacks worthy of the time required to build new tools.

Source:

Image credit:

  • France Olympique | Flickr

Posted by Jamie Condliffe

February 13th, 2018 10:14AM

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Today

The Olympics has been hit by new and destructive malware

Newly identified software called Olympic Destroyer is ravaging systems in Pyeongchang.

The news:Following a spate of hacks, Cisco security researchers have announced that it found malware at the Olympics that’s designed for destruction. It deletes backups…Read more

Newly identified software called Olympic Destroyer is ravaging systems in Pyeongchang.

The news:Following a spate of hacks, Cisco security researchers have announced that it found malware at the Olympics that’s designed for destruction. It deletes backups and boot files, in order to brick computers and servers.

The damage so far: The Guardian reports that the malware has briefly taken down the Pyeongchang Olympics website, shut down wi-fi networks, and grounded drones. It could well strike again.

Who’s behind it:So far, that’s unclear. Researchers at Crowdstrike suggest Russia; those at Intexer say China. Whoever it is, they appear to have deemed the attacks worthy of the time required to build new tools.

Source:

Image credit:

  • France Olympique | Flickr

Posted by Jamie Condliffe

February 13th, 2018 10:14AM

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The UK government had its own AI built to block extremist video

New software, intended for use by small tech firms, can pick out Isis propaganda with reasonable accuracy.

The news:Developed by London-based data science firm ASI on behalf of the British government, the $800,000 AI is trained on thousands of hours…Read more

New software, intended for use by small tech firms, can pick out Isis propaganda with reasonable accuracy.

The news:Developed by London-based data science firm ASI on behalf of the British government, the $800,000 AI is trained on thousands of hours of video to spot extremist content. It can identify 94 percent of Isis propaganda with 99.99 percent accuracy, and is designed to be used to block the upload of such material.

Who it’s for:It will be offered to small tech firms that can’t afford to develop such systems. The likes of Facebook and YouTube already have similar algorithms , though the British government hasbeen critical of how widely and quickly they have been put to use by tech giants

AI by law?The UK’s home secretary tells the BBC that use of the new AI could potentially become a legal requirement.

But:Because the AI is trained on historical data, extremists will likely be able to develop new ways to circumvent its watchful eye.

Source:

Image credit:

  • United Nations

Posted by Jamie Condliffe

February 13th, 2018 9:44AM

Editor’s Pick

Social networks are broken. This man wants to fix them.

In the past, if you wanted to change the world, you had to pass a law or start a war. Now you create a hashtag.

Ethan Zuckerman studies how people change the world, or attempt to, by using social media or other technological means. As director of the…

Read the full story →

In the past, if you wanted to change the world, you had to pass a law or start a war. Now you create a hashtag.

Posted by Rachel Metz

February 13th, 2018 10:15AM

How Trump’s budget would hit US science and tech

Donald Trump has sent Congress a $4.4 trillion budget proposal for the 2019 fiscal year, and it’s a mixed bag for technology. Despite adding $984 billion to the federal deficit next year, it would also introduce some serious cuts for scientific research.…Read more

Donald Trump has sent Congress a $4.4 trillion budget proposal for the 2019 fiscal year, and it’s a mixed bag for technology. Despite adding $984 billion to the federal deficit next year, it would also introduce some serious cuts for scientific research.

What’s safe:The National Institutes of Health, National Science Foundation, and Department of Energy’s Office of Science all get funding continued at 2017 levels. The Food and Drug Administration gets a funding boost, as does NASA (for space exploration, at least).

The cuts:The DoE’s ARPA-E energy moonshot unit, five NASA earth science missions, the International Space Station, and some research programs at the Environmental Protection Agency, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, and the Geological Survey are all for the chop. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention also faces cuts.

Now what?Congress gets the last word, and it may yet dismiss many of the cuts.

Source:

Image credit:

  • The White House

Posted by Jamie Condliffe

February 13th, 2018 9:03AM

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Yesterday

This entrepreneur wants to make automation a major campaign issue in 2020

Andrew Yang is vying for the 2020 Democratic presidential nomination . His mission? Preparing America for automation.

Who he is:A New York businessman and entrepreneur, Yang is the founder of Venture for America, an entrepreneurship fellowship.

His platform:…Read more

Andrew Yang is vying for the 2020 Democratic presidential nomination . His mission? Preparing America for automation.

Who he is:A New York businessman and entrepreneur, Yang is the founder of Venture for America, an entrepreneurship fellowship.

His platform:He believes AI and automation will soon eliminate millions of jobs. For example, he told the New York Times that self-driving cars will make truckers obsolete. “That one innovation will be enough to create riots in the street,” says Yang. “And we’re about to do the same thing to retail workers, call center workers, fast-food workers, insurance companies, accounting firms.”

His solution:Yang believes in universal basic income. He wants to provide a monthly stipend of $1,000 to every American aged 18 to 64. Under the plan, funding would come from companies that profit from automation. It’s a popular idea among supporters of guaranteed income , but it still has many obstacles to overcome before it could be considered practical.

Want to stay up to date on the future of work? Sign up for our newest newsletter,Clocking In!

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Image credit:

  • Yang 2020

Posted by Erin Winick

February 12th, 2018 2:58PM

DeepMind’s latest AI transfers its learning to new tasks

By using insights from one job to help it do another, a successful new artificial intelligence hints at a more versatile future for machine learning.

Backstory:Most algorithms can be trained in only one domain, and can’t use what’s been learned for…Read more

By using insights from one job to help it do another, a successful new artificial intelligence hints at a more versatile future for machine learning.

Backstory:Most algorithms can be trained in only one domain, and can’t use what’s been learned for one task to perform another, new one. A big hope for AI is to have systems take insights from one setting and apply them elsewhere—what’s called transfer learning.

What’s new:DeepMind built a new AI system called IMPALA that simultaneously performs multiple tasks—in this case, playing 57 Atari games—and attempts to share learning between them. It showed signs of transferring what was learned from one game to another.

Why it matters:IMPALA was 10 times more data-efficient than a similar AI and achieved double the final score. That’s a promising hint that transfer learning is plausible. Plus, a system like this that learns using less processing power could help speed up training of different types of AI.

Source:

Image credit:

  • DeepMind

Posted by Jackie Snow

February 12th, 2018 10:49AM

Google will allow anyone to use its custom AI chips via the cloud

Dedicated machine-learning hardware could help Google fight off rivals in an increasingly competitive cloud AI market.

Backstory:Last year, Googleannouncedit had designed a new chip, called a tensor processing unit (TPU), built to crunch the math…Read more

Dedicated machine-learning hardware could help Google fight off rivals in an increasingly competitive cloud AI market.

Backstory:Last year, Googleannouncedit had designed a new chip, called a tensor processing unit (TPU), built to crunch the math AI uses. At the time, it ran the chips itself and allowed just a select group of researchers to make use of them.

What’s new: The New York Times reports that Google will allow other companies to make use of the hardware via the cloud. “We are trying to reach as many people as we can as quickly as we can,” Zak Stone, leader of Google’s TPU team, told the newspaper.

Why it matters:Putting AI in the cloud isbig business. Google, Amazon, and Microsoft all provide AI software on their cloud servers, and China is joining the race , too. By offering dedicated hardware for AI grunt work, Google will hope to gain a competitive edge over the others.

Source:

Image credit:

  • Google

Posted by Jamie Condliffe

February 12th, 2018 10:33AM

Editor’s Pick

A phone that says “no” to little kid fingers

It may soon be possible for your phone to automatically figure out whether it’s you or your five-year-old who’s swiping the screen—and, if it’s the latter, block apps you want to keep off-limits to kids.

That’s the vision of researchers at the University…

Read the full story →

It may soon be possible for your phone to automatically figure out whether it’s you or your five-year-old who’s swiping the screen—and, if it’s the latter, block apps you want to keep off-limits to kids.

Posted by Rachel Metz

February 13th, 2018 10:15AM

Yesterday

A cryptojacking attack hit thousands of websites, including government ones

Surreptitious mining of cryptocurrency by hackers is spreading very, very fast.

The news:Over 4,000 websites, including those of the US federal judiciary and the UK National Health Service, have been weaponized by hackers to mine the cryptocurrency… Read more

Surreptitious mining of cryptocurrency by hackers is spreading very, very fast.

The news:Over 4,000 websites, including those of the US federal judiciary and the UK National Health Service, have been weaponized by hackers to mine the cryptocurrency Monero on their behalf .

How it worked:Hackers injected malware into a widely used plug-in called Browsealoud that reads web pages our loud as a way of helping partially sighted people navigate the internet. The malware is based on the popular app Coinhive, a piece of software that uses processing power on someone’s device to mine cryptocurrency. The malicious version of the app does this without people’s knowledge, coopting their computing power to enrich hackers.

Why it matters:Cryptojacking is rapidly becoming one of the world’s biggest cyberthreats . This news shows how easy it is for crooks to spread the trick, by infecting a single product used across multiples sites with a single hack.

Source:

Image credit:

  • PaliGraficas | PixaBaby

Posted by Jamie Condliffe

February 12th, 2018 9:46AM

February 9, 2018

Amazon is taking package delivery into its own hands

A new report claims Amazon will take on FedEx and UPS with its own delivery business.

The news: The Wall Street Journal says Amazon will roll out a delivery service in Los Angeles in the coming weeks. Called Shipping With Amazon, it will initially handle…Read more

A new report claims Amazon will take on FedEx and UPS with its own delivery business.

The news: The Wall Street Journal says Amazon will roll out a delivery service in Los Angeles in the coming weeks. Called Shipping With Amazon, it will initially handle transportation of packages from third-party sellers to their customers. It will reportedly roll out more widely later on, eventually handling deliveries for other businesses, too.

A long time coming:Frankly, it was only a matter of time before the tech giant took over delivery of its goods. Last yearAmazon tested what was essentially a trial of this service, with the goal of getting more goods to customers inside two days.

Why it matters:This will put Amazon in direct competition with FedEx and UPS, which have handled deliveries for the company in the past. Plus, the Journal says Amazon plans to undercut its competitors on price. The incumbents may be in for a rough ride.

Source:

Image credit:

  • Credit: Amazon

Posted by Erin Winick

February 9th, 2018 12:08PM

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