Hashtag Trending March. 1- LastPass’ senior developer PC hacked, Elon Musk to challenge ‘woke’ OpenAI, the car that repossesses itself if you miss payments

Last Pass admits that a DevOps engineer’s home computer was hacked in last year’s attack, Elon Musk wants to challenge the “woke” OpenAI and could your self-driving car repossess itself if you miss your payments?

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Welcome to Hashtag Trending for Wednesday, March 1st 

I’m your host Jim Love, CIO of IT World Canada and TechNewsDay in the US – here’s today’s top tech news stories.

Password manager LastPass admitted on Monday that a personal computer from one of its DevOps engineers was hacked, as part of a now famous attack in August of last year.

The attack resulting in the theft of encrypted backups that were stored on Amazon’s cloud storage. Worse, an encryption key for a portion of the encrypted backups, some source code and technical information were also stolen. Even worse, they were reported to be used to target another employee, to obtain credentials and keys which were used to decrypt some storage volumes within the cloud-based storage service.

It’s one thing to be hacked if you are a regular company, but if you are the thing that is supposed to protect companies, where people feel they can safely store their passwords and access keys –  and you get hacked – that’s another thing entirely. 

This week, more details of the hack surfaced as LastPass detailed how the attacker went after a developer who was one of the four people at the company, who had access to the decryption keys needed to access the cloud storage service. This happened while LastPass was still dealing with the first incident of theft  from the cloud storage service and source code. 

The report on the hack, in ITWorldCanada.com said “The second incident, targeting the developer, saw the threat actor quickly make use of information exfiltrated during the first incident, prior to the reset completed by our teams, to enumerate and ultimately exfiltrate data from the cloud storage resources.” 

It also detailed how the developer’s home computer was compromised by exploiting a vulnerable third-party media software package, which enabled remote code execution capability and allowed the threat actor to implant keylogger malware. 

Using that, they were able to capture the employee’s master password as it was entered, after the employee authenticated with multi-factor authentication, and gained access to the DevOps engineer’s LastPass corporate vault.

LastPass said that its investigation and incident response to the second incident continues. 

Source: IT World Canada

Elon Must has another project to keep him busy – fighting the “woke” AI – ChatGPT.

You may know that Musk is one of OpenAI’s co-founders, but for reasons unknown, he drifted away from that project and became one of its staunchest critics.  Back in December, Musk criticized OpenAI for training AI to be ‘woke’.

He also criticized OpenAI’s ties with Microsoft, who recently injected $10 billion into the AI firm. 

“OpenAI was created as an open source (which is why I named it “Open” AI), a non-profit company to serve as a counterweight to Google, but now it has become a closed source, maximum-profit company effectively controlled by Microsoft,” Musk said. “Not what I intended at all.”

Now the billionaire has reportedly been reaching out to AI researchers about founding a new lab to challenge OpenAI.

Musk has his eyes on Igor Babuschkin, a researcher who recently left Google’s DeepmindAI lab.

Babuschkin told The Information that he had not officially agreed to join Musk’s AI lab plans quite yet.


Meanwhile, as Musk is distracted with challenging OpenAI, yet another Twitter competitor has surfaced.  

It’s called “Bluesky” and the app is still only available as an invite-only beta but its arrival on the App Store indicates it’s nearing public launch.

According to app intelligence firm data.ai, Bluesky iOS app debuted on February 17, 2023 and has somewhere around 2,000 installs.

News site TechCrunch was invited to try the new platform, which it described as “functional, if still rather bare-bones, a Twitter-like experience.”

Users can create a handle, then they can click a plus button to create a post of 256 characters, which can include photos, can search for and follow other individuals then view their updates in their home timeline.

The interface is very much like Twitter, showing a profile pic, background, bio and metrics, and the number of followers and posts a user has, as well as how many people they’re following. Profile feeds are also divided into two sections, like Twitter: posts and posts and replies.

But while Twitter asks ‘What’s happening?’ while BlueSky asks ‘What’s up?’…

BlueSky is bound to have clear similarities with Twitter. It was incubated within Twitter, back in 2019 when Dorsey served as CEO and has had funding for years from Twitter.

After he gave up his CEO duties, Dorsey expressed the potential for BlueSky to reduce the ability for large, centralized platforms — like Twitter — to have so much power in terms of deciding which users and communities could engage in speech and who would be responsible for moderating that content. He shared those thoughts after Twitter banned President Trump’s account in 2021.

With Twitter’s scorched earth cost-cutting moves, and Musk’s war on “woke” AI  – there may room for another competitor.  And Twitter is vulnerable – rival Mastodon has close to 10 million followers and is growing at more than a hundred thousand followers per week.   But it is still uncertain whether BlueSky will be able to tackle Twitter, but the appearance in the App Store and the fact that Dempsey is behind it means you can’t count it out.

Source: TechCrunch

The Chinese manufacturing giant, responsible for producing Airpods, say their clients are pressing for it to move out of China.

The company, Goertech, has already lost the contract to manufacture AirPods Pro for Apple but it continues to manufacture the regular airpods.

Kazuyoshi Yoshinaga, the company’s deputy chairman, said that this pressure is coming from US technology firms, and is being directed at all suppliers. “I would say currently 90 per cent of them, they’re looking at [moving],” he said. “It’s the brand companies’ decisions.”

GoerTek says that it is now investing $280 million in a new plant in Vietnam and has been considering moving operations to India. 

“We get requests from our clients almost every month,” he said. “‘Do you have any plans to expand to India?'”

The pressure to move away from using Chinese-based supply chain companies is part a reaction on over-reliance on one source, China’s recent extreme COVID measures, and ongoing power supply concerns in China, but there is no doubt that but the diplomatic tensions with the U.S. are part of the migration from China to other locations in Asia.

Source: Apple Insider

Could your self-driving care repossess itself? 

Ford has a better idea and has submitted a patent document to the United States Patent Office in August 2021, now formally published, in which it details, as the document’s title says, the “Systems and Methods to Repossess a Vehicle.”

The system is capable of disabling the functionality of one or more components of the vehicle, from the engine to the air conditioning. For vehicles with autonomous or semi-autonomous driving capability, the system can move the vehicle closer to a tow truck, a repossession facility or if a lending institution warrants it, the vehicle could drive itself to a junkyard.

The patent included a lot of details on how this system would work, explaining that if your car has an infotainment system already set up to receive something like over-the-air updates, the system could probably work without any physical modifications.

Warnings will also be issued prior as the repossession process starts, ranging from minor ones like impaired cruise control or loss of automated seat controls or even air conditioning. It might play an unpleasant sound whenever the owner is in the vehicle. It could disable the key fob or even lock the owner out of the car. Or in the case of self-driving cars, it might turn itself in. 

Patent applications do not necessarily mean that the automaker will introduce the described technology, but according the online blog The Drive, Ford might just be trying to protect this idea for the sake of doing so.  

Source: The Drive

That’s the top tech news stories for today

Links to these stories can be found in the article posted on itworldcanada.com/podcasts. You can also find more great stories and more in-depth coverage on itworldcanada.com or in the US on technewsday.com

Hashtag Trending goes to air five days a week with a daily newscast and we have a special weekend edition with an interview featuring an expert in some aspect of technology that is making the news.

Always love to hear from you, you can find me on LinkedIn, Mastodon, Twitter (not quite on Dempsey’s new service yet) or just leave a comment under the article for this podcast at ITWorldCanada.com.  

I’m your host Jim Love – Have a great Wednesday!

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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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