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ChatGPT’s arrival raises personal data theft, hacking risks many times over



ChatGPT’s arrival raises personal data theft, hacking risks many times over

New Delhi: As millions embrace AI-powered chatbots like ChatGPT, cybersecurity risks associated with generative AI models have become a pressing concern for individuals and businesses alike.

While these generative AL models are designed to facilitate communication and provide helpful responses, experts have raised concerns that these pose great risks of hacking and data breaches that could compromise personal information.

A report by Palo Alto Networks Unit 42 showed recently that ChatGPT-related scams are surging and despite OpenAI (the creator of ChatGPT) giving users a free version of ChatGPT, scammers lead victims to fraudulent websites, claiming they need to pay for these services.

“They might collect and steal the input you provide. In other words, providing anything sensitive or confidential could put you in danger. The chatbot’s responses could also be manipulated to give you incorrect answers or misleading information,” said researchers from Palo Alto Networks Unit 42.

The report observed an increase of 910 per cent in monthly registrations for domains related to ChatGPT between November 2022-April 2023.

AI has long been a part of the cybersecurity industry. However, generative AI and ChatGPT are having a profound impact on the future.

Neelesh Kripalani, CEO of IT services and consulting company Clover Infotech, said: “ChatGPT can impact the cybersecurity landscape through the development of more sophisticated social engineering or phishing attacks. Such attacks are used to trick individuals into divulging sensitive information or taking actions that can compromise their security”.

With the ability to generate convincing and natural-sounding language, “AI language models like ChatGPT could potentially be used to create more convincing and effective social engineering and phishing attacks,” he warned.

OpenAI admitted in March that some users’ payment information may have been exposed when it took ChatGPT offline owing to a bug.

The Microsoft-backed company took ChatGPT offline due to a bug in an open-source library which allowed some users to see titles from another active user’s chat history.

OpenAI discovered that the bug may have caused the unintentional visibility of “payment-related information of 1.2 per cent of the ChatGPT Plus subscribers who were active during a specific nine-hour window”.

OpenAI then launched a bug bounty programme for ChatGPT and other products, offering up to $20,000 to security researchers to help the company distinguish between good-faith hacking and malicious attacks, as it suffered a security breach.

In addition to cybersecurity risks, it’s also key to understand that ChatGPT may trigger identity misuse of people.

In an unusual incident, ChatGPT falsely named an innocent and highly-respected law professor in the US on the list of legal scholars who had sexually harassed students in the past as part of a research study.

Jonathan Turley, Shapiro Chair of Public Interest Law at George Washington University, was left shocked when he realised ChatGPT named him as part of a research project on legal scholars who sexually harassed someone.

“The programme promptly reported that I had been accused of sexual harassment in a 2018 Washington Post article after groping law students on a trip to Alaska,” Turley said. As a matter of fact, he has never taken students to Alaska, and The Post never published such an article.

Turley said he has “never been accused of sexual harassment or assault by anyone”.

The US Federal Trade Commission (FTC) Chair Lina Khan warned that modern AI technologies like ChatGPT can be used to “turbocharge” fraud.

“AI presents a whole set of opportunities, but also presents a whole set of risks,” Khan told the House representatives last month.

“I think we’ve already seen ways in which it could be used to turbocharge fraud and scams. We’ve been putting market participants on notice that instances in which AI tools are effectively being designed to deceive people can place them on the hook for FTC action,” she stated.

A number of well-known AI researchers, including Twitter CEO Elon Musk and Steve Wozniak, Co-founder of Apple, signed an open letter urging AI labs around the world to halt the development of large-scale AI systems, citing concerns about the “profound risks to society and humanity” that this software is alleged to pose.

Moreover, Meta (formerly Facebook) discovered malware creators who are taking advantage of the public’s interest in ChatGPT and using this interest to entice users into downloading harmful applications and browser extensions.

The company said they have found around 10 malware families posing as ChatGPT and similar tools to compromise accounts across the internet.

Meta also detected and blocked over 1,000 of these unique malicious URLs from being shared on their apps.

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Chinese spacecraft returns to Earth after spending over 9 months in orbit



Chinese spacecraft returns to Earth after spending over 9 months in orbit

Beijing: A reusable uncrewed space vehicle returned to Earth on Monday morning after spending 276 days in orbit, according to a media report.

There is not much information about the space vehicle as China’s space authorities have not released any pictures or technical data, and experts suspect it could be used to gather intelligence, South China Morning Post reported.

The reusable experimental spacecraft, was launched with a Long March-2F rocket from the Jiuquan satellite centre in Inner Mongolia in 2020.

Space defence contractor China Aerospace Science and Technology Corporation said the classified mission is a “complete success” and “marks an important breakthrough” in China’s research into the technology.

The reusable spacecraft “will provide a more convenient and cost-effective way for peaceful use of space”, the company was quoted as saying.

The spacecraft resembles the US Air Force’s Boeing X-37B, Xinhua news agency had reported earlier.

The X-37B is an unmanned space plane that operates like a smaller version of the Space Shuttle, which is launched by a rocket and cruises back to earth for a runway landing. It has flown four classified missions to date, carrying secret payloads on long-duration flights in Earth orbit.

According to some experts, the Chinese craft could be equipped with advanced imaging and sensing equipment to gather intelligence on potential targets or monitor sensitive areas of interest, the report said.

Another potential use is the deployment of small satellites or other payloads into orbit. This could include communications satellites, navigation systems, or other types of sensors that could be used for military or government purposes.

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Centre asks ICEA, MAIT to ensure FM Radio is active in all mobile phones



Centre asks ICEA, MAIT to ensure FM Radio is active in all mobile phones

The government has asked the Indian Cellular and Electronics Association (ICEA) and the Manufacturers’ Association for Information Technology (MAIT) to make sure that FM Radio is accessible on all mobile phones to help people during natural calamities and emergencies.

In an advisory, the IT Ministry said that it should be ensured that wherever the mobile phone is equipped with an inbuilt FM Radio receiver function or feature, that function or feature is not disabled or deactivated but is kept enabled/activated in the mobile phone.

“Further, it is advised that if the FM Radio receiver function or feature is not available in mobile phones, it may be included,” MeitY told ICEA and MAIT, asking them to circulate the advisory among all the mobile phone manufacturers/brands on priority basis.

The move will help people get access to information through radio service in remote areas during natural disasters.

The IT Ministry said that during the last 4-5 years, there has been a drastic fall in mobile phones with FM tuner feature, thereby affecting not only the ability of the poor to get free FM Radio service, but also the government’s ability to disseminate real-time information during emergencies, disasters and calamities.

“The FM broadcast is a robust and reliable communication system. FM stations serve as important communication links between the local authorities and people in times of natural disasters (in catastrophic situations),” the ministry added.

As per the International Telecommunication Union (ITU), in times of emergencies and disaster, radio broadcasting is one of the most powerful and effective ways of delivering early warnings and alerting the public to save lives.

Further, there is need for speedy, timely, and reliable communication via FM-enabled mobile phones (apart from regular standalone radio sets and car receivers) during disasters as this can save precious lives, livelihood and also prepare us better to deal with disasters.

“The availability of a vast network of FM transmitters and FM radio in the country played a key role in India’s fight against the Covid-19 pandemic,” said the ministry in its advisory.

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IISER Bhopal team creates organic molecules that emit near-infrared light



IISER Bhopal team creates organic molecules that emit near-infrared light

Researchers at the Indian Institute of Science Education and Research (IISER) Bhopal have created a new family of organic molecules that emit light in the near-infrared (NIR) range, opening possibilities for OLEDs for various applications.

Light-emitting diodes or LEDs are tiny light-emitting devices that are commonly used in applications such as television screens, gadget displays, etc. They are different from traditional filament bulbs in that while bulbs emit light when heated, LEDs emit light when electricity (in the form of electrons) passes through them.

OLEDs are a form of LEDs where the light emitting materials are organic molecules — chemicals made largely of carbon and hydrogen.

Although visible light-emitting OLEDs have already found mass application in displays for gadgets, televisions, and lighting, producing NIR-emitting OLEDs is challenging due to their unique molecular energy structure.

Light-emitting molecules generate light when electrons fall from a high energy state (HOMO) to a low energy state (LUMO) inside the molecule, and the colour of the emitted light depends on the energy difference between the two states. The energy difference in organic molecules corresponds to visible light, making visible light-emitting OLEDs easier to design.

The team at IISER created new organic molecules that have a very low-energy LUMO. This means that the energy difference between LUMO and HOMO is smaller, resulting in near-infrared light.

“We have achieved a nitro group containing polycyclic aromatic molecules that exhibit fluorescence (light emission) in the near-IR wavelengths,” said Prof. Jeyaraman Sankar, IISER Bhopal, in a statement.

The team’s new approach to obtaining stable electron-deficient molecules with NIR emission using nitration as a strategy is unique and has been published in the journal of the Royal Society of Chemistry – Chemical Science.

The innovation lay in fine-tuning the structure of the nitro-group-containing molecules that typically do not fluoresce and are therefore usually non-light-emitting.

Another challenge is to position the emission in the near-IR region. The team engineered the structure of the molecules such that they emit near-IR light. In addition, the synthesised molecules show strong electron affinity values, excellent stability, and structural rigidity.

The fluorescence quantum yields (the amount of near-IR light emitted) are among the best for any known near-IR light-emitting electron-deficient materials, the team said.

Apart from their use in OLED applications, the strong electron affinity, NIR emissive nature, high stability, and redox robustness of these molecules make them excellent candidates for catalysts.

These molecules can also be used for near-IR devices that help in side effect alleviation, after selected chemotherapy procedures.

The potential applications for near-IR-emitting OLEDs are vast, including biomedical sensors, short-range communication, night vision, and security.

The discovery could potentially extend the use of organic light-emitting devices beyond visible light, with implications in a range of applicationsAfrom medical equipment to advanced security gadgets, the researchers said.

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Leading biotech firm Twist Bioscience lays off 270 employees



Leading biotech firm Twist Bioscience lays off 270 employees

San Francisco:  Leading biotechnology company Twist Bioscience Corporation has announced to lay off 270 people, or about 25 per cent of its workforce, as it aims to accelerate its path to profitability.

The company enables customers to succeed through its offering of high-quality synthetic DNA using its silicon platform.

Twist said it will focus resources on the support of key commercial and development opportunities that have the potential to deliver significant return on investment.

“Twist conducted a comprehensive review of the business and is resizing many teams throughout the organisation and reducing its workforce by approximately 270 employees, or about 25 per cent,” it said while delivering its fiscal second quarter 2023 financial results.

The biopharma team has been resized to focus on revenue-generating partnerships and Twist said it will moderate its investment in DNA data storage while maintaining its competitive lead.

“We reported a strong quarter overall, breaking the $60 million revenue threshold for the first time and exceeding our guidance,” said Emily M. Leproust, CEO and co-founder of Twist Bioscience.

“In January, we shipped the first products from the Factory of the Future and are now manufacturing the vast majority of our genes, gene fragments and oligo pools in our Wilsonville facility,” Leproust added.

Additionally, Twist plans to maintain its global commercial presence to drive top-line growth while streamlining teams including R&D across the business to focus on programmes, where the company believes it has a clear competitive advantage and sees the greatest potential for long-term profitable growth and value creation.

“Following a strategic and holistic analysis of the business, we prioritised and reengineered our cost base, and with these substantive changes, we believe we are operating from a position of strength, operating as a leaner organisation,” said the company CEO.

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Android’s Nearby Share now available globally for Windows



Android’s Nearby Share now available globally for Windows

San Francisco:  After its initial release earlier this year, Google has now made Android’s Nearby Share feature available for Windows PCs to nearly all countries worldwide, signalling a significant expansion in its accessibility.

“We are very excited to announce that Nearby Share for Windows is now available worldwide, so even more of your devices can work better together,” Google said in a blogpost.

Through Nearby Share, Android users can share files wirelessly with their PCs, whether they are desktops or laptops, and through Android’s native menus.

Google initially limited the feature to only a few countries, with a primary focus on the US.

Now, according to Google’s support page, Nearby Share Beta for Windows PCs is available in the US and most countries globally, however, support is currently not available for Cuba, Iran, North Korea, and Syria.

Users can easily set Nearby Share Beta for Windows by just downloading and installing the app on their PCs.

Users then be able to send files to nearby Android devices or send files to their PC based on their device visibility preferences.

Meanwhile, Google has rolled out new Material You design for its Nearby Share app on Android phones and tablets.

The Material You revamp brings visual changes to the main UI users interact with on the Nearby Share app.

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