Hashtag Trending Oct.11 – Google is initiating a shift towards a passwordless future; AMD is set to acquire Nod.ai; Amazon’s Alexa caught spreading misinformation

Google leads the push to abolish passwords. Twitter competitor Mastodon is bigger than it thought it was. And would Alexa lie to you? Apparently yes..

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These and more top tech stories on Hashtag Trending.

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

Google is initiating a shift towards a passwordless future by making passkeys the default login option for all personal accounts. Passkeys, which utilize a device’s authentication method like fingerprint sensors, PIN, or Face ID, are being promoted as a faster and more secure alternative to traditional passwords

Google’s data indicates that passkeys are 40 per cent quicker than passwords. While users will be opted into using passkeys by default, those wishing to stick with traditional passwords can adjust their settings accordingly. 

Google aims to inspire other companies to adopt passkeys, envisioning a future where passwords become obsolete, although acknowledging that this transition will take time.

Source: Zdnet 

Ransomware attacks are now being executed at record speeds, with cybercriminals deploying ransomware within 24 hours of initial access in many cases, according to a study by Secureworks. This “dwell time” has significantly decreased from 4.5 days in 2022 and 5.5 days in the preceding year. 

The study reveals that in nearly two-thirds of analyzed incidents, ransomware was deployed within a day, and in over 10 per cent of cases, within five hours. The rapidity is attributed to the cybersecurity industry’s improved detection of pre-ransomware activities and the rise of the Ransomware-as-a-Service (RaaS) model, which enables even less-skilled criminals to execute attacks. Despite an increase in attack volume, criminals are opting for less-complex attacks to enhance their attack rate.

Source: The Register 

AMD is set to acquire Nod.ai, an artificial intelligence startup, in a strategic move to enhance its software capabilities and compete with rival chipmaker Nvidia. Nvidia has established a robust presence in the AI chip market through its software and developer ecosystem, developed over a decade. AMD aims to construct a unified software suite to power its various chips, with the acquisition of Nod.ai playing a pivotal role by enabling companies to deploy AI models optimized for AMD’s chips. Although the terms of the deal remain undisclosed, Nod.ai, based in Santa Clara, California, has previously raised approximately $36.5 million. AMD’s AI group, which will incorporate Nod.ai, plans to expand its team of 1,500 engineers by an additional 300 hires this year and more in 2024.

Source: Reuters

Mastodon, an open-source and decentralized social network, has discovered it has 407,814 more monthly active users than previously reported, due to a network connectivity error, as stated by founder and CEO Eugene Rochko. 

This adjustment also includes an additional 2.34 million registered users across 727 servers that were not counted due to the error. The issue, which affected Mastodon’s statistics aggregator on its joinmastodon.org/servers page from October 2 to October 8, has been resolved. Currently, Mastodon boasts a total of 1.8 million monthly active users, a five per cent increase month-over-month, and 10,000 servers, up by 12 per cent. This growth comes amidst various disruptive changes by its competitor, X (formerly Twitter), such as removing headlines from link previews and contemplating charging users a fee.

Source: Tech Crunch

Amazon’s Alexa was caught spreading false information regarding the 2020 presidential election, claiming it was “stolen by a massive amount of election fraud” and citing Rumble, a platform popular among right-wing commentators, as a source. Additionally, it stated the election was “notorious for many incidents of irregularities and indications pointing to electoral fraud,” referencing the newsletter service Substack. Amazon has acknowledged these responses as errors, asserting they were “quickly fixed when brought to our attention” and emphasizing ongoing efforts to audit and enhance systems that detect and block inaccurate content. This incident underscores growing concerns about technology’s role in spreading misinformation, especially as the 2024 election approaches.

Source: Business Insider

And on a similar note, there is a real struggle with misinformation spreading about the Israel-Gaza conflict on social media platforms, particularly on Meta-owned Facebook and X (formerly Twitter), and it’s raised concerns among experts about these platforms’ ability to combat false information amidst layoffs and cost-cutting in trust and safety teams. 

Rampant misinformation, ranging from fake combat photos to old videos being repurposed, is not only making it difficult to understand the ongoing crisis but also poses a risk of amplifying hate and violence. 

Andy Carvin from the Atlantic Council’s Digital Forensic Research Lab (DFRLab) expressed that changes to X have significantly impacted its strength in monitoring breaking news and assisting users in discerning fact from fiction. The situation underscores the challenges tech platforms face in managing the surge of misinformation, especially during crises.

And in the spirit of, if you can’t be part of the solution, be part of the problem, Elon Musk is facing criticism for encouraging his nearly 160 million followers on X to follow two “good” accounts for updates on the war. Both accounts are known purveyors of misinformation.

Musk deleted his post, but not before it received millions of views. 

Source: Qantara 

That’s the top tech news stories for today. For more fast reads on top stories, check us out at TechNewsDay.com or ITWorldCanada.com on the homepage. 

We’re not perfect, but we try to be accurate. And I thank our listeners for always keeping us honest. 

Hashtag Trending goes to air five days a week with a special weekend interview show we call “the Weekend Edition.”

You can get us anywhere you get audio podcasts and there is a copy of the show notes at itworldcanada.com/podcasts 

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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