Hashtag Trending May 31- Kaseya partners with Cysurance to simplify cyber insurance for SMBs; Cisco security team unveil new malware; AI CEOs raise concerns about “risk of extinction from AI”

Kaseya partners to simplify cyber insurance for small businesses, a new malware aptly named Predator hits Android devices with five zero day attacks and the top AI CEOs and leaders issue an ominous warning at a European conference.

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These top tech news stories and more for Wednesday May 31, 2023, I’m your host Jim Love, CIO of IT World Canada, and Tech News Day in the US.

In a move that’s set to revolutionize the cyber insurance landscape for small to medium-sized businesses, IT security vendor Kaseya has announced a partnership with cyber insurance provider Cysurance. This collaboration aims to streamline the often complex process of obtaining cyber insurance, with Kaseya’s customers being fast-tracked for a new policy.

Customers who use Kaseya’s IT Complete Security Suite will be pre-approved for a cyber insurance policy with Cysurance, bypassing the typically arduous vetting process. Additionally, qualifying Kaseya customers will receive a discount on coverage rates and up to $1.5 million in coverage.

This partnership comes at a time when cyber insurers have become more selective about awarding policies due to increased payouts and attacks. The collaboration between Kaseya and Cysurance is expected to benefit both parties – the insurer can attract more customers and expedite the auditing process, while the security vendor can use the discounts as a selling point to attract new business.

This move by Kaseya follows similar initiatives by tech giants like Google, which offers a similar program for Google Cloud customers with reinsurers Munich Re and Allianz Global. Corporate & Specialty. Cybersecurity firm CrowdStrike also has a similar partnership with Cysurance.

This partnership is particularly significant for Kaseya’s customers, most of whom are managed service providers that contract their services to small businesses. By making cyber insurance more accessible, Kaseya is playing a crucial role in helping these organizations better prepare for potential cyber attacks.

Sources include: Axios 

Nvidia CEO Jensen Huang has made a bold claim that we are entering a “new computing era” where everyone can be a programmer, thanks to generative artificial intelligence (AI). This was announced during his keynote speech at the Computex forum in Taiwan.

Huang introduced Nvidia’s new AI supercomputer platform, the DGX GH200, designed for building generative AI models. Generative AI, a technology capable of producing various types of content, including text, images, audio, and synthetic data, is touted as the “most important computing platform of our generation.”

The DGX GH200 aims to lower the programming barrier significantly. Huang said, “This computer doesn’t care how you program it, it will try to understand what you mean, because it has this incredible large language model capability. We have closed the digital divide. Everyone is a programmer. Now, you just have to say something to the computer.”

This technology is expected to revolutionize various industries. Creative professionals can create images with a simple text prompt, programmers can accelerate application development and debugging, and architects can generate 3D models from 2D floor plans.

Huang emphasized that generative AI can understand multimodality, meaning it can comprehend more than just text and numbers. He believes that this computing revolution can impact every industry, enhancing existing applications and creating new ones.

Sources include: CNBC 

CrowdStrike, a leading cybersecurity firm, has announced the introduction of a generative AI assistant, Charlotte AI, into its product stack. This innovative tool is designed to provide real-time answers and recommended action items to user queries about system vulnerabilities.

Charlotte AI is trained on a mix of proprietary data, including information from security events the company has encountered, threat intelligence about hacking groups and ongoing attacks, and telemetry across users, devices, and cloud workloads. The AI assistant also incorporates a dataset detailing how CrowdStrike’s employees have successfully thwarted breaches worldwide.

Michael Sentonas, president at CrowdStrike, stated, “We believe our continuous feedback loop on human-validated content is critical, and because of this, no other vendor will be able to match the security and business outcomes of CrowdStrike’s approach to generative AI.”

This development comes as part of a broader trend in the cybersecurity industry, with major players like Microsoft and Google also integrating generative AI assistants into their security platforms. These AI assistants are expected to transform cybersecurity by automating defenses and proactively scanning networks for suspicious activity. 

Currently, Charlotte AI is available only in a limited, private customer preview. However, its introduction marks a significant step forward in the application of AI in cybersecurity, promising to enhance both new and existing applications.

Sources include: Axios

HP Inc. has reported lower-than-expected revenue for the second quarter, as inflationary pressures led to a decrease in demand for the company’s personal computers. This news resulted in a nearly 3 per cent drop in HP’s shares in extended trading.

The ongoing inflation has had a significant impact on consumer spending, affecting various sectors, including the tech industry. This has led to a decrease in demand for personal computers, which has directly impacted HP’s revenue for the second quarter.

This development highlights the challenges tech companies face in navigating the current economic climate, marked by inflation and changing consumer behavior. As the situation evolves, companies like HP will need to adapt their strategies to ensure sustainability and growth.

Sources include: Reuters 

Researchers from Cisco’s Talos security team have unveiled the intricate workings of “Predator,” a sophisticated piece of spyware that targets Android and iOS mobile devices. Developed by Cytrox, Predator is part of an alliance called Intellexa, a consortium of mercenary surveillance vendors that emerged in 2019.

Predator has been used to exploit five separate zero-day vulnerabilities, bundling them into a single package and selling it to various government-backed actors. These actors have subsequently used the package in three distinct campaigns. The spyware works in tandem with a component known as “Alien,” which executes commands from Predator, including recording audio, adding digital certificates, and hiding apps.

The spyware is sold to a wide array of government actors from countries including Armenia, Egypt, Greece, Indonesia, Madagascar, Oman, Saudi Arabia, and Serbia. It has been used to target individuals such as Ayman Nour, a member of the Egyptian political opposition living in exile in Turkey, and an anonymous Egyptian exiled journalist who hosts a popular news program.

The new analysis by Talos reveals the extent of the interweaving of capabilities between Predator and Alien, providing proof that Alien is much more than just a loader for Predator as previously thought. The malware exploits vulnerabilities in Google Chrome and Linux/Android, bypasses restrictions in SELinux, a key part of the Android security model.

This deep dive into Predator’s inner workings will likely aid engineers in building better defenses to detect the spyware and prevent it from functioning as intended. However, Talos researchers were unable to obtain Predator versions developed for iOS devices.

Sources include: ArsTechnica

In a recent gathering of top artificial intelligence executives, including OpenAI CEO Sam Altman, experts raised concerns about the “risk of extinction from AI”. They urged policymakers to consider this risk on par with threats posed by pandemics and nuclear war.

This marks a bit of a turnaround for Altman, who last week vowed to take OpenAI out of Europe in response to proposed legislation. Altman, facing resounding criticism, has done an about face and returned to his original stance of supporting controls on AI.

“Mitigating the risk of extinction from AI should be a global priority alongside other societal-scale risks such as pandemics and nuclear war,” more than 350 signatories wrote in a letter published by the non-profit Center for AI Safety. 

As well as Altman, the signatories included the CEOs of AI firm DeepMind and Anthropic as well as executives from Microsoft and Google. Also signing were Geoffrey Hinton and Yoshua Bengio, two the “godfathers of AI” who jointly received the 2108 Turing aware for their work on Deep Learning as well as professors from Harvard to China’s Tsinghua University.

This call to action comes as AI continues to advance at a rapid pace, with its potential for misuse becoming increasingly apparent. The experts stressed the need for regulations and safeguards to prevent catastrophic scenarios.

The discussion highlighted the growing recognition within the AI community of the ethical and societal implications of their work. As AI technology continues to evolve, these conversations will be crucial in guiding its development in a way that benefits humanity while minimizing potential risks.

That’s the top tech news for today.  We go to air with a daily newscast five days a week, as well as a special weekend interview with an expert on topics relevant to today’s tech news.

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I’m your host, Jim Love.  Have a Wonderful 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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