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Microsoft deploys generative AI for American spies

Microsoft deploys generative AI for American spies


Law enforcement agencies in the United States, United Kingdom and Australia this week named a Russian national as the person behind LockBitSupp, the pseudonym of the leader of the LockBit ransomware gang that the United States says is responsible of having extorted $500 million from his victims. Dmitry Yuryevich Khoroshev was sanctioned and charged with 26 counts in the United States, which could result in a prison sentence of 185 years. In other words, if he is ever arrested and successfully prosecuted, it would be an extremely rare event for suspects living in Russia.

Elsewhere in the world of cybercrime, WIRED's Andy Greenberg interviewed a representative of the Cyber ​​Army of Russia, a group of hackers who have targeted water utilities in the United States and Europe and allegedly ties to the notorious Russian military hacking unit known as Sandworm. Responses from Russia's Cyber ​​Army were littered with pro-Kremlin talking points and some curious admissions.

An FBI deputy director urged agency employees to continue using a massive foreign surveillance database to search the communications of American individuals, drawing anger from privacy and civil liberties advocates who are unsuccessfully fought for such searches to require a warrant. Section 702 of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act requires that targets of the surveillance program be based outside the United States, but text messages, emails, and phone calls from people in the United States may be included in the database 702 if one of the parties involved in the communication is foreign. An amendment that would have required the FBI to obtain a warrant for 702 searches of American persons failed in a tied vote earlier this year.

Security researchers this week revealed an attack on VPNs that forces some or all of a user's web traffic to be routed outside the encrypted tunnel, defeating the entire reason for using a VPN. Dubbed TunnelVision, the attack affects almost all VPN applications, and researchers say the attack has been possible since 2022, meaning it's possible it has already been used by malicious actors.

That's not all. Every week, we round up security and privacy news that we haven't covered in depth ourselves. Click on the headlines to read the full stories. And stay safe out there.

Microsoft has developed an offline generative AI model designed specifically to manage top secret information for US intelligence agencies, according to Bloomberg. This system, based on GPT-4, is isolated from the Internet and accessible only through a network exclusive to the US government. William Chappell, Microsoft's chief technology officer for strategic missions and technology, told Bloomberg that in theory about 10,000 people could access the system.

Although spy agencies are keen to exploit the capabilities of generative AI, concerns have been raised about the potential unintentional leak of classified information, as these systems typically rely on online cloud services to data processing. However, Microsoft says the model it created for the US government is clean, meaning it can read files without learning from them, preventing secret information from being incorporated into the platform. Bloomberg noted that this was the first time a major language model had worked entirely offline.

Sky News reported this week that the British Ministry of Defense was the target of a significant cyberattack on its third-party payroll system. On Tuesday, Grant Shapps, Britain's defense secretary, informed members of Parliament that the pay records of around 270,000 current and former military personnel, including their home addresses, had been accessed in the cyberattack. State involvement cannot be ruled out, he added.

Although the government has not publicly identified a specific country involved, Sky News reported that the Chinese government was suspected. China's Foreign Ministry denied the allegations, saying in a statement that it firmly opposes and combats all forms of cyberattacks and rejects the political use of the issue to defame other countries.

The payroll company, Shared Services Connected, knew about the breach for months before reporting it to the government, according to The Guardian.

The United States Maritime Special Operations Command (MARSOC) is testing robotic dogs that can be armed with artificial intelligence-enabled firearms systems. According to a report from The War Zone, the maker of the AI ​​gun system, Onyx Industries, confirmed to reporters at a defense conference this week that no fewer than two MARSOC robot dogs, developed by Ghost Robotics, are equipped with its weapons systems.

In a statement to The War Zone, MARSOC clarified that the robot dogs are currently being evaluated and are not yet deployed in the field. They noted that weapons are just one possible application of this technology, which could also be used for surveillance and reconnaissance purposes. MARSOC stressed that they are fully compliant with the US Department of Defense's policies on autonomous weapons.

The United States Marine Corps has already tested robotic dogs armed with rocket launchers.

Days after a hacker posted a proposal to sell the data of nearly 50 million Dell customers on BreachForums, the company began notifying customers of a data breach on a corporate portal. According to the email sent to the data subjects, the leaked data contains names, addresses and information about the purchased equipment. The information involved does not include financial or payment information, email address, phone number or any highly sensitive customer information, the email to affected customers said.




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