Monday, December 10, 2018

From Axios: 2. The AI crossroads has shared an Axios story with you:

2. The AI crossroads

Monday, November 26, 2018

Ken Hh shared 'The online threat that cybersecurity teams don’t cover' with you

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Ken Hh shared 'The online threat that cybersecurity teams don't cover' with you
The online threat that cybersecurity teams don't cover
Businesses increasingly rely on social media for everything from selling products to collecting customer feedback. Their online brands...
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Friday, November 16, 2018

Seeking Alpha: Oh Look, Another Hack Attack

Seeking Alpha: Oh Look, Another Hack Attack.

Tuesday, November 13, 2018

The Telegraph: Cyber attacks are the biggest risk, companies say

The Telegraph: Cyber attacks are the biggest risk, companies say.

CNBC: Cyber-attacks, weak government, and energy shocks pose biggest risks to firms, WEF finds

CNBC: Cyber-attacks, weak government, and energy shocks pose biggest risks to firms, WEF finds.

Monday, November 12, 2018

Naked Security: Botnet pwns 100,000 routers using ancient security flaw

Naked Security: Botnet pwns 100,000 routers using ancient security flaw.

Saturday, November 10, 2018

ZDNet: This is how artificial intelligence will become weaponized in future cyberattacks

ZDNet: This is how artificial intelligence will become weaponized in future cyberattacks.

Next Big Future: Near-term possibility of Artificial General Intelligence

Next Big Future: Near-term possibility of Artificial General Intelligence.

Tuesday, November 6, 2018

Artificial Intelligence Hits the Barrier of Meaning

The New York Times

Machine learning algorithms don't yet understand things the way humans do — with sometimes disastrous consequences.

A delegate at the Artificial Intelligence Expo in South Africa in September.CreditNic Bothma/EPA, via Shutterstock

By Melanie Mitchell

Ms. Mitchell is Professor of Computer Science at Portland State University.

You've probably heard that we're in the midst of an A.I. revolution. We're told that machine intelligence is progressing at an astounding rate, powered by "deep learning" algorithms that use huge amounts of data to train complicated programs knows as "neural networks."

Today's A.I. programs can recognize faces and transcribe spoken sentences. We have programs that can spot subtle financial fraud, find relevant web pages in response to ambiguous queries, map the best driving route to almost any destination, beat human grandmasters at chess and Go, and translate between hundreds of languages. What's more, we've been promised that self-driving cars, automated cancer diagnoses, housecleaning robots and even automated scientific discovery are on the verge of becoming mainstream.

The Facebook founder, Mark Zuckerberg, recently declared that over the next five to 10 years, the company will push its A.I. to "get better than human level at all of the primary human senses: vision, hearing, language, general cognition." Shane Legg, chief scientist of Google's DeepMind group, predicted that "human-level A.I. will be passed in the mid-2020s."

As someone who has worked in A.I. for decades, I've witnessed the failure of similar predictions of imminent human-level A.I., and I'm certain these latest forecasts will fall short as well. The challenge of creating humanlike intelligence in machines remains greatly underestimated. Today's A.I. systems sorely lack the essence of human intelligence: understanding the situations we experience, being able to grasp their meaning. The mathematician and philosopher Gian-Carlo Rota famously asked, "I wonder whether or when A.I. will ever crash the barrier of meaning." To me, this is still the most important question.


The lack of humanlike understanding in machines is underscored by recent cracks that have appeared in the foundations of modern A.I. While today's programs are much more impressive than the systems we had 20 or 30 years ago, a series of research studies have shown that deep-learning systems can be unreliable in decidedly unhumanlike ways.

I'll give a few examples.

"The bareheaded man needed a hat" is transcribed by my phone's speech-recognition program as "The bear headed man needed a hat." Google Translate renders "I put the pig in the pen" into French as "Je mets le cochon dans le stylo" (mistranslating "pen" in the sense of a writing instrument).

Programs that "read" documents and answer questions about them can easily be fooled into giving wrong answers when short, irrelevant snippets of text are appended to the document. Similarly, programs that recognize faces and objects, lauded as a major triumph of deep learning, can fail dramatically when their input is modified even in modest ways by certain types of lighting, image filtering and other alterations that do not affect humans' recognition abilities in the slightest.

One recent study showed that adding small amounts of "noise" to a face image can seriously harm the performance of state-of-the-art face-recognition programs. Another study, humorously called "The Elephant in the Room," showed that inserting a small image of an out-of-place object, such as an elephant, in the corner of a living-room image strangely caused deep-learning vision programs to suddenly misclassify other objects in the image.


Furthermoreprograms that have learned to play a particular video or board game at a "superhuman" level are completely lost when the game they have learned is slightly modified (the background color on a video-game screen is changed, the virtual "paddle" for hitting "balls" changes position).

These are only a few examples demonstrating that the best A.I. programs can be unreliable when faced with situations that differ, even to a small degree, from what they have been trained on. The errors made by such systems range from harmless and humorous to potentially disastrous: imagine, for example, an airport security system that won't let you board your flight because your face is confused with that of a criminal, or a self-driving car that, because of unusual lighting conditions, fails to notice that you are about to cross the street.

Even more worrisome are recent demonstrations of the vulnerability of A.I. systems to so-called adversarial examples. In these, a malevolent hacker can make specific changes to images, sound waves or text documents that while imperceptible or irrelevant to humans will cause a program to make potentially catastrophic errors.

The possibility of such attacks has been demonstrated in nearly every application domain of A.I., including computer vision, medical image processing, speech recognition and language processing. Numerous studies have demonstrated the ease with which hackers could, in principle, fool face- and object-recognition systems with specific minuscule changesto images, put inconspicuous stickers on a stop sign to make a self-driving car's vision system mistake it for a yield sign or modify an audio signal so that it sounds like background music to a human but instructs a Siri or Alexa system to perform a silent command.


These potential vulnerabilities illustrate the ways in which current progress in A.I. is stymied by the barrier of meaning. Anyone who works with A.I. systems knows that behind the facade of humanlike visual abilities, linguistic fluency and game-playing prowess, these programs do not — in any humanlike way — understandthe inputs they process or the outputs they produce. The lack of such understanding renders these programs susceptible to unexpected errors and undetectable attacks.

What would be required to surmount this barrier, to give machines the ability to more deeply understand the situations they face, rather than have them rely on shallow features? To find the answer, we need to look to the study of human cognition.

Our own understanding of the situations we encounter is grounded in broad, intuitive "common-sense knowledge" about how the world works, and about the goals, motivations and likely behavior of other living creatures, particularly other humans. Additionally, our understanding of the world relies on our core abilities to generalize what we know, to form abstract concepts, and to make analogies — in short, to flexibly adapt our concepts to new situations. Researchers have been experimenting for decades with methods for imbuing A.I. systems with intuitive common sense and robust humanlike generalization abilities, but there has been little progress in this very difficult endeavor.

A.I. programs that lack common sense and other key aspects of human understanding are increasingly being deployed for real-world applications. While some people are worried about "superintelligent" A.I., the most dangerous aspect of A.I. systems is that we will trust them too much and give them too much autonomy while not being fully aware of their limitations. As the A.I. researcher Pedro Domingos noted in his book "The Master Algorithm," "People worry that computers will get too smart and take over the world, but the real problem is that they're too stupid and they've already taken over the world."

The race to commercialize A.I. has put enormous pressure on researchers to produce systems that work "well enough" on narrow tasks. But ultimately, the goal of developing trustworthy A.I. will require a deeper investigation into our own remarkable abilities and new insights into the cognitive mechanisms we ourselves use to reliably and robustly understand the world. Unlocking A.I.'s barrier of meaning is likely to require a step backward for the field, away from ever bigger networks and data collections, and back to the field's roots as an interdisciplinary science studying the most challenging of scientific problems: the nature of intelligence.

Melanie Mitchell is Professor of Computer Science at Portland State University and External Professor at the Santa Fe Institute. Her book, "Artificial Intelligence: A Guide for Thinking Humans," will be published in 2019 by Farrar, Straus, and Giroux.

Follow The New York Times Opinion section onFacebook and Twitter (@NYTopinion).


Ken Hh shared 'Artificial Intelligence Hits the Barrier of Meaning' with you

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Artificial Intelligence Hits the Barrier of Meaning
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Sunday, November 4, 2018

A Closer Look at the Trusted Computing Base or TCB

Wednesday, October 10, 2018

Finance, the media and a catastrophic breakdown in trust | Financial Times

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Teen hacks Apple, has excellent folder name

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Wednesday, August 8, 2018

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Saturday, August 4, 2018

Preparing Your Business For The Artificial Intelligence Revolution

Re: Axios AM: Mike's Top 10 — Deep Dive: The greatest global threat


On Aug 4, 2018 8:50 AM, Mike Allen <> wrote:
Presented by Morgan Stanley:
Axios View in browser
Presented By Morgan Stanley
Axios AM
By Mike Allen ·Aug 04, 2018

For the past month, Axios has been interviewing people who have been trusted with the nation's most sensitive secrets.

  • The group includes seven former directors or deputy directors of the CIA, two former U.S. intelligence chiefs, a former Secretary of Homeland Security, two White House homeland security advisers, and a former Director of the National Counterterrorism Center.

We wanted to know, in this time of acute geopolitical stress, which global threat worried them most, and which threats they thought weren't getting the attention they deserved.

  • The project was led by David Lawler, Jonathan Swan and Evan Ryan.
  • Given your overwhelming response to our Deep Dives, they'll soon break into special editions, so you'll also get a regular Saturday edition of Axios AM.

Let's dive in ...

1 big threat: A hurricane-force cyberattack

Illustration: Rebecca Zisser/Axios 


When we asked America's foremost intelligence experts what keeps them up at night, one response came up over and over again: the risk of a crippling cyberattack.

  • A well-executed cyberattack could knock out the electrical grid and shut off power to a huge swath of the country, or compromise vital government or financial data and leave us unsure what is real.
  • The sheer number of internet-connected devices, from cars to pacemakers, means the risks are growing by the day.

The big picture: Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen said this week that the U.S. is in "crisis mode," comparing the danger of a massive attack to a Category 5 hurricane looming on the horizon. Intelligence chiefs from the last three administrations agree, and told Axios there is no graver threat to the United States.

  • Gen. David Petraeus, former CIA director: "What worries me most is a cyber equivalent of a weapon of mass destruction falling into the hands of extremists who would, needless to say, be very difficult to deter, given their willingness to blow themselves up on the battlefield to take us with them."
  • Former CIA Director Leon Panetta says the biggest threat is "a cyberattack that could paralyze the nation," while former Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff says "cyberattacks on critical infrastructure from state or state-sponsored actors are the biggest threat right now."

Russia, China, Iran and North Korea are the top U.S. adversaries in the cyber realm, but the threat extends to non-state actors and criminal groups.

  • "The steady drumbeat of breaches in the headlines — each more fantastic than the next — may have numbed people, but everyone should care about the cyber threat," explains Lisa Monaco, homeland security adviser to Barack Obama. "First, we are all vulnerable. Second, it won't take a cyber 9/11 to make this very real."

"There will be tremendous media coverage and assigning of blame after there is a catastrophic attack on U.S. critical infrastructure that results in the loss of American lives," says Frances Townsend, homeland security adviser to George W. Bush, "but we need to spend more time now covering what is at stake and the magnitude of the growing risk."

  • "Companies in the energy, financial, and other key economic sectors need to develop the capacity to share threat information in real time, and give the government the visibility and information to take action when necessary to defend us," says Matt Olsen, former director of the National Counterterrorism Center.

The bottom line: The fact that so many intelligence experts have reached the same conclusion — and feel so strongly about it — shows how much the dangers to the United States have changed since 9/11.

  • Sign up here for Axios World Editor David Lawler's twice-weekly newsletter breaking down the biggest global stories and why they matter.
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2. United States, divided: The threat at home

Illustration: Rebecca Zisser/Axios 


"We are, to put it simply, the most destabilizing force in the world today," former CIA director Michael Hayden says, describing the "erratic and unpredictable policy of the United States" as the greatest risk to global security.

Between the lines: Hayden isn't alone. Several intelligence experts cited threats coming from within the United States as among the most dangerous we face.

Michael Morell, former acting CIA director:

"What has worried me for some time, even before the 2016 election, is the inability of our political leadership to resolve their differences and to come together and compromise in making decisions that advance our economy and society. Why is this my biggest worry? Because, at the end of the day, the most important determinant of a nation's national security is the health of its economy and its society. Period. End of story."

Avril Haines, former deputy CIA director, points to inequality in the U.S. as a long-term national security threat, and one that will be accelerated by emerging technologies:

"As the majority of the population in countries like the United States see that their children are unlikely to be better off than they were, there is a sense of frustration — exacerbated by the fact that the economy appears to be doing well, yet the benefits of that growth are going to the super rich. Meanwhile, authoritarian governments like China appear to be making significant reforms that result in greater access to resources for their citizens. This creates, among other things, a perception that democracies are unable to deliver for their citizens."

Go deeper: The threat from America.

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3. Pakistan: The threat of a nuclear-armed terrorist state

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios 


"Pakistan is the most dangerous country in the world — not this year, not next year, but certainly down the road," says Michael Morell, former acting CIA director.

Pakistan has the world's 5th largest population, 5th largest military and 6th largest nuclear arsenal. The danger begins, Morell says, with a dysfunctional economy and a rapidly growing population of young people without education or job prospects. Add to that a military that continues to call the shots as though war could break out at any moment.

  • "The main reason the military has a grip on decision-making is because of a long-held and now mistaken belief in Pakistan that India is an existential threat to Pakistan and that Islamabad must do everything it can to protect itself from that threat," he says.
  • "One of the areas in which this plays out is in Pakistan's support to jihadists — in short, its support to terrorists fighting India. That support bleeds over to extremists who want to overthrow the Pakistani state itself, including al-Qaeda and the Pakistani Taliban."

The bottom line: "This anti-state jihadist extremism is growing in Pakistan, creating the nightmare society down the road — an extremist government in Islamabad with nuclear weapons."

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A message from Morgan Stanley

The rising debate on security in the cloud
Businesses are shifting processes to the public cloud, where walled-off network security alone won't suffice. For third-party cybersecurity firms, is this new landscape a threat—or an opportunity?
Bonus: How Pakistan became a global threat

Watch this Axios video, made especially for this global threats Deep Dive, for a look at how Pakistan became "the most dangerous country in the world," and where it might be heading.

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4. China: Greatest rival, growing threat

Illustration: Rebecca Zisser/Axios 


Several countries have the military and cyber tools to harm America. Some may even have the will to use them. But as former acting CIA director John McLaughlin puts it, "China is the one country that is clearly challenging the United States for global supremacy."

  • "Its challenge ranges across a wide field of power dynamics — from cyber to economics, to science and the military," he says. "It is fielding and implementing large transformational programs such at the 'One Belt, One Road' initiative that once evolved from U.S. leadership ... creating the fear that even close U.S. friends — all of whom have deep trade relationships with Beijing — will be pulled irresistibly into China's orbit."

It's not just a competition for trade and influence. China is developing military capabilities "that are specifically designed to deter and defeat the United States in a truly global competition, and it's pursuing victory on all fronts," says Sen. Tom Cotton (R-Ark.), who has been floated as a future CIA director.

  • "China is deploying anti-ship missiles on man-made islands in the South China Sea, meddling in U.S. negotiations with North Korea, propping up the Iranian regime, and taking an ever more menacing stance against Taiwan not because it's encircled, but because it's emboldened, and we should take notice," he says.

The bottom line: "China is the most formidable competitor we have faced in our history," Morell says, "And we, the U.S., have not figured out a strategic approach to dealing with it."

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5. Climate change: A rising threat

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios


James Clapper, director of national intelligence under President Obama, cites "the range of issues that arise from climate change" as a national security threat not receiving sufficient attention:

  • "Half of the world's population will face water shortages by 2035, according to the U.N. More than 30 countries — half of which are in the Mideast — will experience extreme water stress by 2035."
  • "More than a third of the earth's soil, which produces 95% of the world's food supply, is already degraded, and that degradation will accelerate over the next 20 years, as the world's population increases. Soil degradation is already occurring at rates as much as 40 times faster than new soil formation."
  • "Sea level rises are accelerating, because of ice melt in the polar regions. At the current rate, the world's seas will be at least two feet higher by the end of the century. This has profound implications for the increasing trend toward population concentrations in megalopolises, which are concentrated in coastal regions."

The bottom line: "Climate change (like it or not, accept it or not) is going to have huge implications for global security. And we don't focus enough on it."

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6. Pandemics: A fast-spreading threat

Illustration: Rebecca Zisser/Axios 


Not all security threats are born from bad intentions. U.S. and global leaders aren't paying nearly enough attention to the threat from infectious disease, contends Lisa Monaco, homeland security adviser to President Obama:

  • "As Homeland Security and Counterterrorism Advisor, I worried about bad actors doing something awful with a bomb, a piece of malware or a pathogen. But in the case of pandemics, the more likely scenario is not a bad guy with a bug, but a naturally occurring infectious disease like we saw with Ebola in 2014, or worse yet, a new strain of flu."
  • "Amazingly, in 2018 — the 100th anniversary of the Spanish flu that wiped out 50-100 million people worldwide — the World Economic Forum left this threat off its list of top 5 global risks and our own intelligence community left it off its latest Worldwide Threat Assessment." 
  • "Even though it's cheaper and easier to contain disease at its source rather than waiting for it to hop a ride on one of the millions of worldwide airline flights, the post-Ebola investments made to be sure we weren't caught flat-footed for the next public health crisis have been slashed."

Why it matters: "With rising populations, growing mega-cities, and rapid global travel that saw more than 1 billion international tourist arrivals in 2015 alone — a new strain of deadly flu will make 1918 look like a walk in the park." 

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7. Russia: An old threat, made new

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios 


James Clapper, director of national intelligence under President Obama, says Russia is "the most pressing near-term threat to the U.S., for two reasons: its aggressive information operations campaign to undermine our basic system, and the modernization of its strategic nuclear arsenal."

  • Clapper told Axios in a recent interview that Russia is "bent on undermining our system any way they can," and will be as long as Vladimir Putin remains in power.

Sen. Tom Cotton cites Russia's "flagrant violations of its treaty commitments," including on nuclear weapons, as an issue that has flown under the radar despite "months of coverage of Russia's meddling in the 2016 election."

Michael Dempsey, the acting director of national intelligence in the first months of 2017, says Russia's election meddling and illegal annexation of Crimea point to a deeper threat:

  • "The erosion of existing international norms, and the international community's inability to establish new norms in such areas as cyber warfare, artificial intelligence, synthetic biology and autonomous weapons development."
  • "My main concern is that in the absence of agreed-upon norms in each of these areas, and without a vibrant Western alliance to rely on, the world could stumble into a crisis that it doesn't understand and is incapable of managing."

Go deeper: Cold War 2.0.

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8. Terrorism: An urgent, shifting threat

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios 


The risk of "the next 9/11" has been sufficiently reduced, but since 2001 it has become cheaper, faster and easier to carry out the types of attacks that continue to plague cities around the world.

  • David Cohen, former deputy CIA director, says the focus of terrorist groups is now "inspiring and radicalizing local actors to conduct smaller-scale attacks and providing them with web-based training and techniques to do so."
  • Three concerns: Radicalized ISIS fighters returning home, the recruitment value of "the perception that America is now at war with Islam," and "the rise of unregulated cryptocurrencies" that make it harder to block funding to terrorist groups.
  • "A sustained effort to weaken these organizations' ability to plan and conduct attacks against the 'far enemy' has largely succeeded," Cohen says, but the desire to carry out a "spectacular, large-scale attack" remains.

Go deeper: Dempsey on the enduring threat from ISIS.

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9. North Korea: A threat in hibernation

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios


One year after President Trump's threats of "fire and fury," none of the experts we consulted cited North Korea as the top threat to national security. But while the imminent prospect of a missile exchange has subsided, things may not stay quiet for long.

  • Bruce Klingner, the CIA's former deputy division chief for Korea, says the best estimates are that North Korea has 30 or more nuclear weapons and hundreds of missiles, plus biological and chemical weapons.
  • North Korea was "a handful of months away" from being able to strike the U.S. with a nuclear weapon, according to an assessment from then-CIA Director Mike Pompeo. That was in January.
  • Klingner sees two paths back to fire and fury, and the fear of war: 1. North Korea could test a missile, or abandon negotiations. 2. Trump could react angrily if months go by with little progress, feeling he's been "betrayed" by Kim Jong-un.

The bottom line: "The capabilities have not changed, and we don't know if the intentions have," Klingner says.

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10. Artificial intelligence: The threat of the future

Illustration: Rebecca Zisser/Axios 


Multiple experts cited artificial intelligence as a force multiplier amplifying existing threats. Axios Future Editor Steve LeVine explains how AI creates a danger all its own:

  • For the U.S. and China, AI is the equivalent of the Cold War arms race. The security and political apparatus in both countries view dominating the AI future as both an economic and military imperative.
  • The reason is the nature of AI — a general-purpose technology that will spawn today-unknown industries and weapons classes. 
  • Once a country possesses a machine with human intelligence, it could have the capability to keep all rivals at bay in perpetuity.

But only China has made this a national strategic goal and put enormous sums behind getting there. The U.S. has yet to take this step, instead relying on private industry, in particular Silicon Valley giants like Google and Microsoft, to carry the country's interests.      

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The rising debate on security in the cloud