Cybernews weekly briefing: top AI and security trends

We’ve grown used to hacks, personal data leaks and various lurking cyber threats. The rushed adoption of AI tools seems to be a new bogeyman, since it threatens to steal our jobs and blur the already very thin line between reality and fantasy.

The AI revolution

AI is here, whether you like it or not. Many believed that the picture showing Pope Francis in a Balenciaga puffer jacket was authentic. Yet, it was an AI fake. So were the images of the Trump arrest and the earthquake in Oregon.

Mainstream adoption of tools like ChatGPT is already adding fuel to the fire – as digital identity expert Philipp Pointner told Cybernews, it will take disinformation on social media to a whole new level.

One can only hope that once we embrace the new AI reality, people will be able to tell an AI image from a real one. However, even now, when there are plenty of telltale signs of a fake, around one third of Americans are fooled by the AI-generated images. Now, take a closer look at the picture down below, and I’m sure you’ll spot the fake.

Can you guess which one is fake?

And what about this one? Also pretty obvious, isn't it?

Paris - fake and real

Prominent tech leaders, including Apple’s founder Steve Wozniak and Tesla’s Elon Musk, insisted the progress of contemporary AI systems should be halted to prevent the spread of lies and propaganda. Tech tycoons are worried that AI might eventually outnumber and outsmart people, making them obsolete.

Europol, a pan-European policing body, has also issued a warning that ChatGPT, a fastest growing consumer app in history, is being abused by cybercriminals and can take phishing to a whole new level.

North Korean hackers on the loose

It’s well documented that North Korea relies on its hackers and IT professionals to finance its weapons of mass destruction and ballistic missile programs.

This week, there’ve been two major developments when it comes to North Korean cyber capabilities. First, cyber pundit Mandiant upgraded a rookie threat actor to the rank of advanced persistent threat (APT). Now tagged as APT43, the gang engages in digital espionage, credential harvesting, and social engineering attacks on Western and allied targets in South Korea.

Another situation that is rapidly developing is the supply-chain attack affecting millions of users of a popular voice-over-internet-protocol tool 3CX. Hackers affiliated with North Korea are spreading a trojanized version of the app, used by big corporations like McDonald’s, CocaCola, Toyota, BMW, Ikea, and Mercedes Benz.

Russia snaps at Netflix

Russian cyber teeth might be rotten but they still bite. Or, at least, try to. A pro-Kremlin hacktivist collective, NoName057(16), brought down the website of the French National Assembly for several hours to send a message to French President Emmanuel Macron.

“We have decided to repeat our recent trip to France, where protests against Macron continue to rage after he decided to not give a damn about the French people and continues to ‘serve’ Ukrainian neo-Nazis,” the message read, in Russian.

Meanwhile, Vladimir Putin’s press secretary, Dmitry Peskov, who doesn’t know how to download torrents, showed his support for the legalization of pirated Western content. Earlier this week, Russia’s deputy head of its Security Council, Dmitry Medvedev, urged Russians to steal Western intellectual property, be it Hollywood movies or software no longer available in the country after its full-scale invasion of Ukraine, to “inflict maximum damage” on companies like Netflix.

But it doesn’t appear that the streaming giant needs to worry. While many Americans are canceling their subscriptions to digital show providers due to price hikes, Netflix remains their main go-to platform.

Car brands in the spotlight

Your shiny new car is a smart device that can be hacked. Even if you have an older vehicle without smart equipment to assist your driving, car manufacturers and their partners are sitting on a treasure trove of data, including some very personal client information.

This week alone, we reported on two major car brands – BMW and Toyota – facing security issues. Our in-house research team found Toyota’s Italy branch leaking sensitive data that could eventually lead to phishing attacks against its customers.

Meanwhile, the Play ransomware gang claimed BMW France as its victim, threatening to release data within two weeks if the company didn’t pay the ransom. Attackers claim they have stolen private and personal confidential data, contracts, financial information, and client documents.

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