Thursday, 20 July 2017

Please consider supporting Wikipedia

Wikipedia is possible because of a powerful idea: that people, like you and me, can participate in building the world’s knowledge and making it freely available to everyone, everywhere.

Today, thanks to the support of millions of volunteer contributors and supporters, you can wander Wikipedia for hours. With more than 40 million Wikipedia articles and 35 million freely licensed images, Wikipedia can answer almost any question, and take you places you’ve never been.

Your donation supports the creation and sharing of free knowledge in real, practical ways. It helps us make Wikipedia fast, secure, and accessible to everyone in the world. It helps us bring free access to Wikipedia in places where high mobile data costs prevent people from going online. It helps us support people who are digitizing knowledge currently locked away in analog archives. It protects Wikipedia from threats to free knowledge and the open internet.

Your support means that you can find the information you need now, wherever you may be—to settle a bet with a friend at a dinner party, or to understand the world around us.

Wikipedia will continue to evolve, grow, and meet new challenges. We’re excited and eager to meet these and more. Your donation will help us get there. We can’t thank you enough for your support. On behalf of the Wikimedia Foundation, thank you for investing in our future and taking this journey with us.

Wednesday, 19 July 2017

Intel AMT Critical Firmware Vulnerability

Overview: On May 1, Intel published a security advisory regarding a critical firmware vulnerability in certain systems that utilize Intel® Active Management Technology (AMT), Intel® Standard Manageability (ISM) or Intel® Small Business Technology (SBT). 

The vulnerability could enable a network attacker to remotely gain access to business PCs or devices that use these technologies. Consumer PCs with consumer firmware and data center servers using Intel® Server Platform Services are not affected by this vulnerability.

Until firmware updates are available, we urge people and companies using business PCs and devices that incorporate AMT, ISM or SBT to take steps to maintain the security of their systems and information.

We understand you may be concerned about this vulnerability. We have created this page to help you understand the issue, assess whether your system is impacted, and take appropriate action.

Tuesday, 18 July 2017

Elon Musk says: regulate AI before it becomes a danger to humanity

Elon Musk’s thoughts on artificial intelligence are pretty well known at this point. He famously compared work on AI to “summoning the demon,” and has warned time and time again that the technology poses an existential risk to humanity. At a gathering of US governors this weekend, he repeated these sentiments, but also stressed something he says is even more important: that governments need to start regulating AI now.

I have exposure to the very cutting edge AI, and I think people should be really concerned about it,” Musk told attendees at the National Governors Association summer meeting on Saturday. “I keep sounding the alarm bell, but until people see robots going down the street killing people, they don’t know how to react, because it seems so ethereal.”

Monday, 17 July 2017

Inside the cyber-attack on parliament

On 23 June the British parliament came under a sustained cyber attack. In a matter of hours hackers made around 200,000 attempts to get into online user accounts. It was Rob Greig who got the call: "You need to get yourself over there right now." And so battle began.

The attack - which led to officials disabling remote access to thousands of email accounts of MPs, peers and their staff - was first spotted by parliament's security operations centre.

His team fought to keep the attackers out of the system by blocking access to particular services - but then the attackers adapted.

"Their attack vector changed and they came for a different service," says Mr Greig.

"So someone was sat there watching. It wasn't just [an automated] script running. Someone was reacting."

"What I would say is that it doesn't look like to me to be an amateur attack," says Mr Greig.

"My direction of travel in terms of where we are going from this, it looks more like a state activity than anything else."

Apple Malware secretly installs "Signal" as part of scheme to steal users' banking credentials

New Mac Malware is mysteriously pushing the Signal private-messaging app onto victims' mobile devices as part of a scheme to steal their banking credentials.

The threat, which goes by the name OSX/Dok, uses phishing mail laden with a malicious application as its attack vector. Those who crafted this campaign purchase Apple certificates (US $99) to sign their malicious application. Such willingness helps the malware bypass Gatekeeper's ever-watchful gaze.

Upon successful installation, OSX/Dok modifies the OS settings with a shell command that disables security updates. It also alters the local host file so that all communication with various Apple websites, as well as VirusTotal, gets redirected to the local machine. These changes prevent the machine from contacting outside services that the victim could use for detection and recovery.

Read more here:

Facebook's AI invents it's own language that we can't understand. What could possibly go wrong?...

Bob: “I can can I I everything else.”

Alice: “Balls have zero to me to me to me to me to me to me to me to me to.”

To you and I, that passage looks like nonsense. But what if I told you this nonsense was the discussion of what might be the most sophisticated negotiation software on the planet? Negotiation software that had learned, and evolved, to get the best deal possible with more speed and efficiency–and perhaps, hidden nuance–than you or I ever could? Because it is.

This conversation occurred between two AI agents developed inside Facebook. At first, they were speaking to each other in plain old English. But then researchers realized they’d made a mistake in programming.

“There was no reward to sticking to English language,” says Dhruv Batra, visiting research scientist from Georgia Tech at Facebook AI Research (FAIR). As these two agents competed to get the best deal–a very effective bit of AI vs. AI dogfighting researchers have dubbed a “generative adversarial network”–neither was offered any sort of incentive for speaking as a normal person would. So they began to diverge, eventually rearranging legible words into seemingly nonsensical sentences. 

“Agents will drift off understandable language and invent codewords for themselves,” says Batra, speaking to a now-predictable phenomenon that Facebook as observed. “Like if I say ‘the’ five times, you interpret that to mean I want five copies of this item. This isn’t so different from the way communities of humans create shorthands.”

Indeed. Humans have developed unique dialects for everything from trading pork bellies on the floor of the Mercantile Exchange to hunting down terrorists as Seal Team Six – simply because humans sometimes perform better by not abiding to normal language conventions.

Saturday, 15 July 2017

When MCN needs to know - who do they turn to? ;0)

Motorcycle News (MCN) asked the question: 
If you had £20k to spend on a bike, what would you buy (& why)? 
This is my answer:

I have a Crosstourer, which I love, My wife Kim has a Grom, which is brilliant fun!

I often try bikes from the various dealerships that we are Blessed to be surrounded with in Hampshire. I usually enjoy the rides, but only two have left me wanting to own one: Honda’s CB1000R & CB1100RS - the latter wins!

The CB1100RS has a great old school musclebike feel, pulls strongly, rides sweetly, looks incredible, has the whole toy shop thrown at it! Honestly, what’s not to like? PS: you get lots of change from £20k!

As published in MCN 12th July 2017.