Top Stories for the Week of August 23, 2017

  • Episode 518
  • August 23, 2017
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Here are the stories we're following for the week of Wednesday August 23, 2017

The UN is about to get serious about killer robots.

According to Elon Musk, Mustafa Suleyman of Google’s DeepMind, and 114 other leading figures in robotics and AI who have signed an open letter urging the United Nations must act to ban the use of autonomous weapons — now.

The letter outlines in clear detail just how quickly the use of autonomous weapons could get out of hand — or into the wrong hands. “These can be weapons of terror, weapons that despots and terrorists use against innocent populations, and weapons hacked to behave in undesirable ways.
“We do not have long to act. Once this Pandora’s box is opened, it will be hard to close.”

Robotics and AI communties, as well as human rights groups, have long argued that autonomous weaponry has the potential to inflict extreme crimes against humanity in conflict zones.

After commending the UN for establishing a group of governmental experts to review the issue, the letter implores the group to find a way to prevent an arms race to acquire these kinds of weapons.

The UN group was scheduled to begin their work on Monday as well, but has been rescheduled for November. Subsequently, the letter urges the group to “double their efforts” once they finally meet in the coming months.

Mary Wareham, the lead coordinator of the Campaign to Stop Killer Robots, said earlier this year, “Killer robots would remove the human from the kill decision. That crosses fundamental moral and ethical lines we don’t believe should be crossed."


Sent to us by: Jeff Weston

Do you have your own web site? Google is going to start warning users that your site is not secure if you have forms on a site that doesn't use a secure connection.

Do you have a web site hosted without an SSL certificate? You need to move all your forms to a secure connection right away.

Starting in October with Chrome version 62, all sites will show a “NOT SECURE” warning when users enter text in a form on an HTTP page, and for all HTTP pages in Incognito mode.

The new warning is part of a long term plan by Google to mark all pages served over HTTP as “not secure”.

To prevent the “Not Secure” notification from appearing when Chrome users visit your site, only collect user input data on pages served using HTTPS.

Sent to us by: Robbie Ferguson

Marcus Hutchins has pleaded not guilty.

Marcus Hutchins, the British security researcher instrumental in neutralizing the WannaCry ransomware worm that shut down computers worldwide in May, appeared in federal court Monday and pleaded not guilty to unrelated criminal charges that he created and distributed malware that steals banking credentials.

Hutchins, who is free on $30,000 bond, was arrested August 3 in Las Vegas following the Black Hat and Defcon security conferences.

IBM security researchers have reported that the malware was being advertised in Russian underground forums with a price of $7,000. It was billed as a method for criminals to extract passwords and other financial credentials transmitted in major browsers. The ads also claimed Kronos could evade antivirus detection and protection from browser security sandboxes.

Hutchins, who works for Kryptos Logic of Los Angeles, is going to live in Los Angeles while awaiting an undetermined trial date. He will be tracked by a GPS monitoring device. He has been ordered not to touch the WCry sinkhole, presumably because if it's shut off, it could possibly make the ransomware start spreading again.


Sent to us by: Roy W. Nash

The world's largest datacentre is being planned for the Arctic Circle.

Plans to build the world's "largest" data centre are being made public.

The facility is set to be created at the Norwegian town of Ballangen, which is located inside the Arctic Circle.

The firm behind the project, Kolos, says the chilled air and abundant hydropower available locally would help it keep its energy costs down.

The area, however, suffers the country's highest rate of sick leave from work, which may be related to its past as a mining community.

The US-Norwegian company says it has already raised "several million dollars" for the project from Norwegian private investors.

However, it is still working with a US investment bank to secure the remaining necessary funds.

It is basing its record-setting claims on the amount of power it intends to draw on to run its computer servers: roughly the same amount of power as Amazon -- 1,000 Megawatts -- but in this case it will be housed at one single location as opposed to Amazon whose data is dispersed over several physical locations.

In comparison, Facebook's datacentre in the area draws just 120 Megawatts.


Sent to us by: Roy W. Nash


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