Hashtag Trending Sep.8- ChatGPT traffic declines for third time in a row; LastPass breach linked to crypto thefts?; Google Chrome gets a makeover

ChatGPT traffic declines for the third month in a row. The LastPass security breach might be linked to recent major crypto thefts, Google Chrome gets a makeover for its 15th birthday.

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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.

ChatGPT traffic has declined for the third month in a row.

ChatGPT had a 3.2 per cent decline in website visits in August, amounting to 1.43 billion visits, following roughly 10 per cent drops in each of the two preceding months. The duration visitors spent on the site has been on a downward trend since March, dwindling from an average of 8.7 minutes to 7 minutes in August. 

However, there’s a silver lining: worldwide unique visitors in August slightly increased to 180.5 million from 180 million in the previous month.

While no clear reason has emerged for the dip in traffic, as school has resumed in August in the US there has been a minor uptick in traffic. 

So we’ll find out soon if schools really are embracing this new tool and if this is a continuing trend or just a summer vacation.

Sources Include: Reuters 

LastPass, the password management service, is once again under scrutiny following a security breach in late 2022. 

Recent findings suggest that password vaults stolen during this breach may have been decrypted, leading to significant cryptocurrency thefts. 

Over 150 victims have reportedly lost a collective sum of more than $35 million in crypto. The thefts have been consistent, with two to five major heists reported monthly since December 2022. Taylor Monahan of MetaMask identified that most victims had stored their cryptocurrency “seed phrase” on LastPass. 

This seed phrase is a private digital key essential for accessing cryptocurrency investments. 

LastPass had two significant breaches in 2022, with the latter incident involving hackers accessing customer encryption keys. LastPass CEO, Karim Toubba, mentioned that the November breach is still under investigation. The connection between the LastPass breaches and the crypto thefts remains unconfirmed.

Sources Include: The Verge

Google Chrome, the world’s leading browser, is set to undergo a visual transformation in the coming weeks to commemorate its 15th anniversary. Google revealed that the desktop version of Chrome will soon adopt the “Material You” design language. This update promises refreshed icons, enhanced legibility, and new color palettes designed to better harmonize with tabs and toolbars. The aim is to make it simpler for users to differentiate between profiles, such as work and personal accounts. 

Other notable changes include a revamped menu for faster access to features like Google Password Manager, Chrome extensions, and Google Translate. The browser’s side panel will now house bookmarks and a “Search this page with Google” function. While the core layout remains largely unchanged, users can expect more rounded edges and taller tabs. 

Additionally, Google has bolstered browser security. The “Safe Browsing” feature, which previously updated its list of hazardous sites every 30 minutes to an hour, will now refresh in real-time. This enhancement is crucial, given that 60 per cent of phishing sites are active for less than 10 minutes.

Sources Include: ZDNet

IBM is enhancing its recently launched Watsonx data science platform with new generative AI models and capabilities. Named the “Granite series models,” these are similar to large language models like OpenAI’s GPT-4 and ChatGPT, designed for tasks such as summarizing, analyzing, and generating text. 

The Watsonx platform will also feature the “Tuning Studio,” allowing users to customize generative AI models with as few as 100 to 1,000 examples. 

There is also a synthetic data generator for tabular data, aiming to extract insights for AI model training with “reduced risk.”

By Q4 2023, users can expect a self-service, chatbot-like tool to refine data for AI. This tool will enable users to interact with their data more efficiently, with AI chat assistance providing text responses, API calls, and data enrichment capabilities.

IBM also emphasizes its commitment to AI governance, with the upcoming Watsonx.governance toolkit designed to ensure customer privacy, detect model bias, and help organizations adhere to ethical standards.

Sources Include: Tech Crunch

Google has started rolling out what it terms an “Enhanced Ad Privacy” feature in its Chrome browser. This technology, unless deactivated, lets websites target users with ads tailored to their online activities and interests, derived from their browser histories. This was introduced in Chrome 115, released in July, which incorporated Google’s Topics API, a component of the tech giant’s Privacy Sandbox initiative. 

However, the way this feature is presented to users has raised eyebrows. A popup notification informs users about the new feature, but some argue it’s misleading. The popup has a default “Got It” button, which, when clicked, keeps the ad targeting based on browsing history active. Users need to navigate to the browser’s settings to disable the feature. This approach has been criticized as a “dark pattern,” potentially misleading users into thinking they’re enhancing their privacy when the opposite is true.

The Topics API supposedly allows ad targeting without relying on cookie-based tracking, promising no privacy compromises. However, concerns have been raised about its potential misuse such as browser fingerprinting. Google says that the Topics API doesn’t allow companies to identify users based on interests. Still, both Apple and Mozilla have expressed privacy concerns and have chosen not to adopt the Topics API.

Sources Include: The Register

That’s the top tech news stories for today.  Hashtag Trending goes to air 5 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 Fabulous Friday!

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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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