Hashtag Trending Jul.17- WormGPT, a malicious ChatGPT to assist cybercriminals; Threads see 20 per cent drop in daily active users; Reddit phases out coins and awards

Threads see a drop in engagement but still remains a big threat to Twitter, the dark web has its own version of GPT – without any controls and Reddit phases out coins and awards.

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These and more top tech news stories on Hashtag Trending.  

I’m your host Jim Love, CIO of IT World Canada and Tech News Day in the US.

In a concerning development in the cybersecurity landscape, a hacker has developed a malicious version of ChatGPT, called WormGPT, designed to assist cybercriminals. Unlike ChatGPT or Google’s Bard, WormGPT has no ethical boundaries or limitations, making it a potential tool for illegal activities.

The developer of WormGPT is selling access to the program on a popular hacking forum. The chatbot, introduced in March and launched last month, can be used to produce malware written in Python and provide tips on crafting malicious attacks. The developer trained the bot on data concerning malware creation using an open-source large language model called GPT-J from 2021.

Email security provider SlashNext tested WormGPT’s capabilities by asking it to write a convincing email for a business email compromise scheme, a type of phishing attack. The results were unsettling, with WormGPT producing a persuasive and strategically cunning email, demonstrating its potential for sophisticated phishing attacks.

However, access to WormGPT comes at a high cost, with the developer charging 60 Euros per month or 550 Euros per year. Despite some users citing weak performance, the emergence of WormGPT underscores the significant threat posed by generative AI technologies in the hands of cybercriminals. As these programs mature, they could potentially fuel cybercrime, making it a development that warrants close monitoring.

Sources include: PC Mag

In the social media landscape, Instagram’s new feature, Threads, has made a significant impact, reaching 100 million users within days of its launch. According to app intelligence firm data.ai, Threads has already achieved one-fifth of Twitter’s weekly active user base globally. This is a notable accomplishment, considering it also surpasses the user base of Truth Social, Twitter’s primary competitor in the U.S., by 86 times.

However, the initial excitement around Threads appears to be waning. Sensor Tower reports a 20 per cent drop in daily active users and a reduction in time spent on the app from 20 minutes to 10 minutes. Anthony Bartolacci, managing director at Sensor Tower, suggests that Threads needs to offer more than just being an alternative to Twitter.

Despite the decline, Threads continues to gain traction, with over 150 million downloads to date. This growth rate is 5.5 times faster than that of Pokémon Go at its launch. Interestingly, India leads in terms of downloads, followed by Brazil, the U.S., Mexico, and Japan.

As Threads continues to evolve, its impact on the social media market is undeniable. However, whether it can maintain its initial momentum and pose a significant challenge to Twitter is yet to be determined. We will continue to monitor this development in the social media sector.

Sources include: Axios and TechCrunch 

Reddit, the popular online platform, has sparked discontent once again among its users with the announcement that it plans to phase out Reddit coins and awards. The decision has been met with significant backlash from the Reddit community.

Reddit awards, represented as icons next to posts, are tokens of appreciation given by users. The most recognized among these is the “Reddit Gold” award. To give out these awards, users need to purchase coins. However, Reddit has now halted the purchase of coins and plans to phase them out entirely by September 12.

The company stated that the move is part of a broader effort to rework how content and contributions are rewarded on the platform. However, the lack of clarity on how coins and awards will be replaced has further fueled user frustrations. Many users expressed their concerns in the comments section, with one stating, “God that will literally kill Reddit.”

The change also impacts Reddit Premium users, as the company will cease offering them a monthly coin drip and premium awards from September 12. Despite the company’s assurance that the new system will be “more valuable to the community,” the decision has left users dissatisfied and questioning the platform’s future direction.

Sources include: Business Insider

Elon Musk’s new xAI is to understand the universe? 

Elon Musk has announced the formation of a new company, xAI, focused on artificial intelligence. The company’s mission, as stated on its website, is to “understand the true nature of the universe.” 

Okay, we get it.  xAI will work closely with Twitter, Tesla, and other companies to progress towards its mission. The company has a team of a dozen staff members and is actively recruiting more. Musk, who was an early backer of ChatGPT-creator OpenAI, has criticized the company for implementing safeguards that prevent the AI from producing biased or sexist responses. He has expressed concerns about training AI to be “woke” (whatever that means) and has described his new venture as a “maximum truth-seeking AI.”

And Musk has warned about the potential dangers of AI, including the possibility of “civilization destruction.” 

He has called for a pause in the “out of control” AI race. 

But, for those of you out there, who remember Seinfeld, this really does sound like something that George Kastanza would pitch to Jerry in the diner. 

“Understanding, the universe.  Hey, Jerr, It’s true if you believe it.”

And that’s the top tech news stories for today.

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We love your comments. You can find me on LinkedIn, Twitter or on our Mastodon site where I’m @therealjimlove @[email protected] and yes, I’ve gone to the dark side and signed up for Threads. But if I’m as active on that as I am on Facebook, you might have to wait for a reply. 

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I’m your host, Jim Love. Have a Marvelous Monday!

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Jim Love, Chief Content Officer, IT World Canada
Jim Love
Jim Lovehttp://www.itworldcanada.com/
I've been in IT and business for over 30 years. I worked my way up, literally from the mail room and I've done every job from mail clerk to CEO. Today I'm CIO of a great company - IT World Canada - Canada's leading ICT publisher.

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