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The necessity of interoperable and continuously developing cyber defense for America

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The cyclical pattern of technical advancement and defense has experienced multiple periods of growth and decline. Recently, the emergence of communication and the integration of technology have brought about a notable change in defense. Currently, we are observing a significant increase in cybersecurity due to well-coordinated attacks sponsored by governments that are impacting and have the capacity to impact both the physical and digital realms. The White House aims to augment cyber defense expenditure from $13.5 billion to $14.5 billion, alongside the allocation of $12.7 billion for civilian endeavors in fiscal 2024, as stated in the president’s budget proposals for fiscal 2024 and fiscal 2025.

Contrary to prevailing beliefs, there has been a significant decrease in defense expenditure since the 1990s when measured as a proportion of the gross domestic product. However, it is crucial to take into account the strategic significance of sectors that receive attention in these budget allocations, and it is essential to address cybersecurity specifically with a focused and adaptable approach.

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Within the broader context of the digital battlefield, which is characterized by the convergence of spatial and non-spatial realms, the topic of security is characterized by a sense of immediacy and intricacy. The incorporation of cyber defense systems has transitioned from being a mere indulgence to an imperative that directly impacts our nation’s security, economy, and entitlements to privacy. We require an all-encompassing resolution—a pioneering cyber defense integrator.

The present state of cybersecurity is characterized by the presence of manufacturers offering exclusive solutions that frequently lack compatibility. The fragmentation worsens the difficulty of protecting against ever-more-advanced cyberthreats. Imagine a fragmented military force whose soldiers lack a common language and fail to adhere to a standardized set of instructions. It is evident that they would encounter difficulties when confronted with a highly organized adversary.

Therefore, it is imperative that we shift towards a framework in which our cybersecurity assets are not only compatible but also continuously adapting to align with the swiftly expanding threat environment.

In an optimal scenario, a cyber defense integrator would establish a comprehensive framework that facilitates effective communication and coordination among diverse cyber security systems. The adoption of interoperability would become customary, enabling the utilization of the collective capabilities of these systems. However, this integration is merely a single component of the system.

Cyberthreats are a constantly evolving danger. As each firewall is constructed, hackers develop novel methods to circumvent it. Hence, it is imperative for an integrator to possess a high degree of agility, enabling it to swiftly adjust to emerging risks, methodologies, and technologies. By possessing this skill, we would be able to maintain a competitive advantage over adversaries and guarantee that our defensive measures do not become outdated as the digital environment progresses.

Furthermore, the integration of cutting-edge technologies within a cohesive framework will enable us to efficiently and proactively tackle the constantly evolving threat of cyberthreats. To do this, we may promote the transition of major cyber defense contractors from using exclusive, isolated solutions to adopting a framework that prioritizes interoperability and adaptability.

It is imperative to bear in mind that the demand for an active cyber defense integrator does not entail the standardization of solutions but rather necessitates a synchronized and swiftly adaptable security approach. Various vendors possess distinct capabilities, and adopting an integrated approach will enable us to leverage these assets instead of constraining them.

This endeavor necessitates a shared determination, encompassing both governmental and commercial entities. The establishment of policies that foster interoperability and adaptation in cybersecurity solutions is necessary for the government to have a leadership role. The policy should offer incentives to vendors to engage in collaborative efforts instead of competitive ones and, if needed, enact legislation to ensure compliance with this change.

Conversely, the commercial sector should acknowledge the strategic benefit of a cohesive alliance in combating cyberthreats. Through collaboration, they can offer a holistic solution that surpasses the efficacy of any individual proprietary system.

The recent National Cybersecurity Strategy by the White House offers guidance in this regard through the promotion of interoperable systems and coordinated assessments, exemplified by the establishment of a new Cyber Safety Review Board. However, it is important to note that these suggestions may not carry substantial influence within the realm of cyber defense contracting.

The field of cybersecurity has evolved beyond its technological implications, encompassing broader concerns such as national security, economic stability, and personal privacy. In this digital world, it is crucial to have a cyber defense integrator that is both active and adaptive, with a focus on interoperability and extreme agility. We must not become complacent and depend on obsolete defense models. The present moment necessitates immediate action since the trajectory of our nation hinges on it.

As Editor here at GeekReply, I'm a big fan of all things Geeky. Most of my contributions to the site are technology related, but I'm also a big fan of video games. My genres of choice include RPGs, MMOs, Grand Strategy, and Simulation. If I'm not chasing after the latest gear on my MMO of choice, I'm here at GeekReply reporting on the latest in Geek culture.

Artificial Intelligence

Multiverse, the unicorn specializing in apprenticeships, acquires Searchlight with the intention of prioritizing artificial intelligence (AI)

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Multiverse is a unicorn company in the UK that helps people learn technology skills while they’re working. To improve its own skills, it has bought another company. The company acquired Searchlight, a startup that creates AI-based hiring and testing tools. Searchlight’s technology will be used to make new AI products for Multiverse so that it can offer more training services for businesses.

“Searchlight’s AI, platform, and exceptional talent will allow us to better diagnose the skills companies need and deliver impactful solutions,” said Euan Blair, founder and CEO of Multiverse. “Searchlight’s technology and team, along with our size and world-class learning, will help even more businesses and people.”

Kerry and Anna Wang, twin sisters, helped start Searchlight. Kerry is CEO, and Anna is CTO. Udemy, Zapier, Talkdesk, and other tech companies are already its customers, and Kerry said that they will continue to be treated until the end of their contracts. After that, Multiverse will stop using Searchlight’s job-seeking services so that it can focus on its own business.

The deal shows that AI is becoming more important for startups that work in both the work and school worlds. Some people use AI to get things done faster, while others say AI is taking over whole jobs. This purchase is related to another use of AI: edtech companies that focus on working situations want to use AI to make their professional training services more efficient so they can hire more people when positions open up. Their customers expect them to do so.

AI and hiring people have sometimes gone together in strange ways. Amazon famously had to get rid of an AI recruitment tool because it was naturally biased against women for technical jobs. This was because it was trained on typical recruitment data from men.

Searchlight’s CEO said that technology has come a long way since then, and people are more aware of how models are built and taught.

Wang said, “Our AI model can find a good fit for a role four times faster than a traditional interview.” She said that Searchlight was one of the first companies in the world to have its own AI models checked by a third party to make sure that the talent suggestions they made were fair. “We’re all trying to solve the same problem, which is making sure that everyone has equal access to economic opportunities.” Multiverse had a great business, but they want to grow into a platform for developing the whole workforce. Anna will be in charge of AI at Multiverse, and Kerry will be in charge of products.

Another thing you could think about is what role AI should play in learning and whether some of its effects are worse than good. Some people worry that if students rely too much on generative AI, it will be harder to tell what they are really learning. For example, students might use it to write articles or take tests. But in supplemental training settings, it can help tailor learning to each person’s needs on a large scale, and for some students, it can be more fun and interesting than more standard learning.

Blair started and runs Multiverse. Blair is the son of former U.K. Prime Minister Tony Blair and famous barrister Cherie Booth Blair. The company has about 1,000 customers right now, including Cisco, government agencies, financial services companies, and oil and gas companies.

Multiverse first became known for apprenticeships as an option for people wanting to work in areas that change quickly, like technology. Since then, it has grown to include professional training for people who already have jobs.

Ujjwal Singh, the CTO and CPO of Multiverse, said that the company already has some AI-based services live. For example, it has a personalized AI assistant guide for users. Now it’s clear that it wants to keep adding more technology to the platform to make it better overall and build trust with customers who want to buy and use more modern services.

The deal’s terms are not being made public, but to give you an idea, the Wang sisters, who are both impressive and successful Stanford graduates, took their business through Y Combinator in 2018. But in times like these, those calling cards aren’t the only thing that determines which startups do well and which don’t.

Searchlight raised almost $20 million all together, mostly through a fundraiser from a few years ago and a $17 million Series A round in 2021. Accel, Founders Fund, Emerson Collective, and Shasta Ventures were just a few of the well-known backers on its long list. Pitchbook thought it was worth $64 million in 2021.

Multiverse, on the other hand, was last worth $1.7 billion in 2022. It has been raising money like crazy over the last few years, getting several hundred million dollars from backers like General Catalyst and Lightspeed. The first company the company bought was Eduflow, which was also a YC company. When I asked Singh how the startup would pay for this round and if it was in the process of raising more money, he said that it still had “plenty” of cash.

We think that buyers are “happy” with how things turned out. “From the beginning, Anna and Kerry have thought carefully about how to build Searchlight’s AI models to fit with their vision,” Keith Rabois, who led the Series A, told in a statement. Innovative businesses like Multiverse are drawn to Searchlight’s unique technology. What’s good about this deal for Searchlight and Multiverse? It makes me happy.

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Artificial Intelligence

A government consultancy firm experienced a security breach in which hackers obtained unauthorized access and stole 340,000 Social Security numbers

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Greylock McKinnon Associates (GMA), a consulting business based in the United States, has revealed a data breach in which cybercriminals successfully obtained up to 341,650 Social Security numbers.

The disclosure of the data breach occurred on Friday through the official government website of Maine, which is used to publish alerts on data breaches.

GMA, in its notification of a data breach issued by mail to impacted individuals, disclosed that it had an unidentified cyberattack in May 2023 and swiftly implemented measures to address the situation.

GMA offers economic and litigation assistance to companies and U.S. government entities, such as the U.S. Department of Justice, in the pursuit of civil litigation. The U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) acquired the personal information of the individuals impacted by the data breach in connection with a civil action case that GMA supported.

The motives and objectives of the Department of Justice’s civil litigation are undisclosed. No response was received from a spokeswoman for the Justice Department in regards to a request for comment.

GMA clarified that the individuals who were informed of the data breach are not the focus of the investigation or the related legal matters. Additionally, the cyberattack does not have any effect on your existing Medicare benefits or coverage.

We sought guidance from external cybersecurity experts to aid us in addressing the situation, and we promptly informed law enforcement and the Department of Justice. The firm stated that on February 7, 2024, they received confirmation of the individuals whose information was impacted and acquired their contact addresses.

GMA informed the victims that their personal and Medicare information was probably compromised in this incident. This includes their names, dates of birth, home address, certain medical details, and health insurance information, as well as Medicare claim numbers, which also contained their Social Security numbers.

The reason for GMA taking nine months to ascertain the full scope of the breach and inform the affected individuals remains uncertain.

GMA, as well as the company’s external legal advisor, Linn Freedman from Robinson & Cole LLP, did not promptly reply to a comment request.

 

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Artificial Intelligence

A letter against irresponsible AI is signed by Nicki Minaj, Billie Eilish, Katy Perry, and other singers

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200 musicians wrote an open message to tech companies and developers, asking them not to make AI tools that make music less creative.

Billie Eilish, Elvis Costello, Greta Van Fleet, Imagine Dragons, Jon Bon Jovi, the Jonas Brothers, Kacey Musgraves, Katy Perry, Mac DeMarco, Miranda Lambert, Mumford & Sons, Nicki Minaj, Noah Kahan, Pearl Jam, Sheryl Crow, and Zayn Malik are just a few of the talented artists who are not signed to a record label. This list could make for a great Coachella lineup.

The letter says, “When used irresponsibly, AI poses huge threats to our ability to protect our privacy, our identities, our music, and our ways of making a living.” “Our work is being used without our permission to train AI models by some of the biggest and strongest companies.” This would be terrible for a lot of singers, artists, and songwriters who are just trying to make ends meet.

These artists are on the right track. AI models that make new music, art, and writing work by learning from huge collections of old work. Most of the time, asking these models to remove your work is pointless. Like if one of these artists tried to stop people from stealing their music—that’s not going to happen. Deepfakes of famous artists can already be made to look real, and the technology will only get better.

Companies like Adobe and Stability AI are working on AI music makers that use music that is either allowed or doesn’t cost anything. But even these tools could be bad for artists who write music for TV ads or other beats that they might use in their own work.

When technology gets better over time, artists have always been the ones who lose out. It was file-sharing that first made it easy to get music for free. Streaming came along as a solution, but artists aren’t happy with it. The Union of Musicians and Allied Workers (UMAW) has been working for years to get artists better streaming pay. The artists in the group say that Spotify’s average streaming royalty rate is $0.0038, which is a quarter of a cent. It makes sense, then, that artists are still not sure about this new technology.

Authors have also spoken out against the growth of creative AI. It was sent to the CEOs of OpenAI, Alphabet, Meta, Stability AI, IBM, and Microsoft in July and had more than 15,000 writers sign it, such as James Patterson, Michael Chabon, Suzanne Collins, Roxane Gay, and others.

“These tools copy and repeat our stories, language, style, and thoughts. “The ‘food’ for AI systems is millions of copyrighted books, articles, essays, and poems; endless meals for which there has been no bill,” the letter from the writers says.

These tech companies don’t care, though. You can still use ChatGPT to have it write a section in the style of Margaret Atwood. It might not be good, but it shows that the large language model has read “The Handmaid’s Tale” and can produce a poor copy of it. Copyright law isn’t always up-to-date enough to deal with creative AI, so going to court isn’t really helpful at this point.

The musician’s letter says, “This attack on human creativity must stop.” “We must protect against the predatory use of AI to steal the voices and likenesses of professional artists, break the rights of creators, and destroy the music ecosystem.”

 

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