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Lockbit cybercrime gang faces global takedown and arrests

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In a major operation led by Britain’s National Crime Agency and the FBI, members of the notorious Lockbit ransomware gang have been arrested and indicted.

The United States has charged two Russian nationals for deploying Lockbit ransomware against numerous companies and groups worldwide, while police in Poland and Ukraine have made two additional arrests.

The joint efforts of the NCA, U.S. Department of Justice, FBI, and Europol culminated in the disruption of the Lockbit gang, which has targeted over 2,000 victims globally, amassing over $120 million in ransom payments and demanding hundreds of millions more, according to the DOJ.

The NCA Cyber Division, in collaboration with U.S. authorities, seized control of Lockbit’s websites and infrastructure, even utilizing the gang’s own website to release internal data about the group.

Read more – Global focus to curb crypto crime

Graeme Biggar, director general of the NCA, declared, “We have hacked the hackers… Lockbit is effectively redundant. Lockbit has been locked out.”

The unsealed indictment, obtained in New Jersey, charges Artur Sungatov and Ivan Kondratyev with deploying Lockbit ransomware against victims across various industries globally.

International coalition

Operation Cronos, as the takedown was named, involved an international coalition of 10 countries.

It resulted in arrests, indictments, and sanctions against perpetrators, as well as unprecedented access to Lockbit’s systems, the NCA revealed.

Ransomware, like that employed by Lockbit, encrypts data and extorts payment from victims for decryption.

Lockbit’s affiliates, recruited by the gang, conduct attacks and share ransom proceeds, usually in cryptocurrency.

Ahron Young is an award winning journalist who has covered major news events around the world. Ahron is the Managing Editor and Founder of TICKER NEWS.

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Why ChatGPT’s latest update will be a game-changer for AI adoption

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OpenAI has introduced new updates to ChatGPT, aiming for a more direct and concise conversational style.

  • GPT-4 Turbo is now available to paid ChatGPT users only.

  • “gpt-4-turbo-2024-04-09” will bring greatly enhanced writing, math, logical reasoning and coding.

  • “When writing with ChatGPT responses will be more direct, less verbose and use more conversational language,” OpenAI writes in a post on X.

 

These changes come in response to user feedback and a desire to improve the efficiency of interactions with the AI model.

Streamlined AI

The adjustments focus on reducing verbosity in ChatGPT’s responses, ensuring that the AI communicates with users more effectively.

By streamlining its language, OpenAI hopes to enhance user experience across various applications, from customer service chatbots to language learning platforms.

This move aligns with OpenAI’s ongoing efforts to refine its models and make them more adaptable to diverse communication needs.

“For example, when writing with ChatGPT, responses will be more direct, less verbose, and use more conversational language.”, writes OpenAI on X.

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Meta’s plans to hide nudity from Instagram DMs

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Instagram, owned by Meta, announced plans to introduce features that will blur messages containing nudity in an effort to protect teenagers and prevent potential scammers from targeting them.

Meta’s decision comes amidst growing concerns regarding harmful content on its platforms, especially concerning the mental well-being of young users.

The technology giant has faced increasing scrutiny in both the United States and Europe, with accusations that its apps contribute to addiction and exacerbate mental health issues among adolescents.

According to Meta, the new protection feature for Instagram’s direct messages will utilise on-device machine learning to analyse whether an image sent through the service contains nudity.

This feature will be enabled by default for users under the age of 18, with adults being encouraged to activate it as well.

Meta said that because the image analysis occurs on the device itself, the nudity protection feature will function even in end-to-end encrypted chats, where Meta does not have access to the content unless it is reported by users.

unsplash_image @ Unsplash

Direct messages

Unlike Meta’s Messenger and WhatsApp apps, direct messages on Instagram are not currently encrypted.

However, Meta has stated its intention to implement encryption for Instagram’s direct messages in the future.

Additionally, Meta revealed that it is developing technology to identify accounts potentially involved in sextortion scams. The company is also testing new pop-up messages to alert users who may have interacted with such accounts.

This latest move follows Meta’s announcement in January that it would restrict more content from teens on Facebook and Instagram, aiming to reduce their exposure to sensitive topics such as suicide, self-harm, and eating disorders.

Meta’s efforts to enhance safety measures come amid legal challenges and regulatory scrutiny.

Attorneys general from 33 U.S. states, including California and New York, filed a lawsuit against the company in October, alleging repeated misrepresentation of the dangers associated with its platforms.

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Fake AI law firms avert copyright for SEO gains

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It’s been revealed that fake AI-driven law firms are resorting to sending fabricated DMCA (Digital Millennium Copyright Act) infringement notices to website owners.

These deceptive practices aim to generate artificial Search Engine Optimization gains through the manipulation of backlinks, casting a shadow on the integrity of online legal proceedings.

The issue was brought to attention when Ernie Smith, a prominent writer behind the newsletter Tedium, found himself targeted by one such fraudulent firm named “Commonwealth Legal.” Representing the “Intellectual Property division” of Tech4Gods, the purported law firm accused Smith of copyright infringement over a photo of a keyfob sourced from Unsplash, a legitimate photo service.

The firm demanded immediate action to add a credit link to Tech4Gods and threatened further legal action if compliance was not met within five business days.

However, a closer examination revealed glaring inconsistencies with Commonwealth Legal’s legitimacy.

Despite claiming to be based in Arizona, the firm’s website domain was registered with a Canadian IP location, raising doubts about its authenticity.

AI-generated faces

The attorneys listed on the website displayed eerie characteristics common to AI-generated faces, casting doubt on their existence.

Further investigation revealed that these fake law firms resort to such deceitful tactics to manipulate backlinks, which are crucial for improving a website’s search engine ranking.

Backlinks from reputable sites contribute to SEO, and exploiting this vulnerability, fake firms attempt to boost their clients’ online presence through artificial means.

The sinister nature of these actions extends beyond mere SEO manipulation.

They undermine the trust in legal proceedings and pose a threat to the integrity of online content. The emergence of AI-driven deception in legal matters underscores the need for vigilant scrutiny and robust measures to combat such fraudulent activities.

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