Pete Recommends – Weekly highlights on cyber security issues, December 30, 2023

Subject: How to Check If Something Online Was Written by AI
Source: Gizmodo

Gizmodo: “Generative artificial intelligence is everywhere you look these days, including on the web: advanced predictive text bots such as ChatGPT can now spew out endless reams of text on every topic imaginable and make all this written content natural enough that it could plausibly have been written by a human being. So, how can you make sure the articles and features you’re reading online have been thought up and typed out by an actual human being? While there isn’t any foolproof, 100 percent guaranteed way of doing this, there are a variety of clues you can look out for to spot what’s AI-generated and what isn’t…”

Subject: Google brings privacy washing to Android
Source: Proton

[an infotorial … ] Published on December 21, 2023

Google has made sure that 2023 will go down as the year of privacy washing(new window). It introduced a new “ad privacy feature” for Chrome(new window) in September, and now it’s broadened the release of the beta version of Ad Topics for Android (both part of its misleadingly named Privacy Sandbox initiative). In both instances, Google sold a move to give itself total monopolistic control over the ability to spy on your activity as a “privacy feature”.

Unfortunately for us, Google as a business is entirely dependent on advertising. In 2022, Alphabet, Google’s parent company, made roughly $224.5 billion from advertising(new window), or almost 80% of its revenue. Even minimal attempts to introduce true privacy would fundamentally alter the company.

Google wants to have it both ways — it wants to appeal to the global privacy movement that only continues to grow without actually giving up any of its access to your information. Hence it dresses up new surveillance systems as privacy features.

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Subject: Think Twice Before Giving Surveillance for the Holidays
Source: EFF

EFF – Consider taking some time before the new year and review these suggestions to disable surveillance on all the gadgets and gizmos you gave and received for Christmas: “…it’s easy to default to giving the tech gifts that retailers tend to push on us this time of year: smart speakers, video doorbells, bluetooth trackers, fitness trackers, and other connected gadgets are all very popular gifts. But before you give one, think twice about what you’re opting that person into. A number of these gifts raise red flags for us as privacy-conscious digital advocates. Ring cameras  ……



Abstracted from beSpacific
Copyright © 2023 beSpacific, All rights reserved.

Subject: Verification roadblocks cause frustration for digital nomads
Source: Help Net Security

Pain points in US verification processes. The most painful verification processes for nomads in the USA are linked to specific stages: crossing the border (21% of respondents), checking into a hotel (19%), renting accommodations (19%), activating a new mobile phone or SIM card (17%), and securing a rental car (14%).

In the second spot, the United Arab Emirates presents its share of hurdles, particularly in the areas of applying for a visa, navigating the intricacies of medical insurance, and procuring age-restricted products.

On the other end of the spectrum, standing out as a prime example of efficiency for foreigners, is Germany. It boasts a majority of seamless verification processes during critical steps, including applying for a visa, boarding a flight, checking into a hotel, activating a new mobile phone or SIM card, opening a bank account, and completing medical insurance paperwork.

The most prevalent issue associated with the verification process, cited by 19% of the survey’s respondents, revolves around document validity periods. Some identification documents come with expiration dates, and for a digital nomad who is far from their home country, renewing these documents on time can pose significant challenges.

“Verification poses a daunting task for digital nomads as each country and business enforces its unique rules, often lacking streamlined processes for foreign document verification. In the era of global mobility, businesses and nations cannot ignore this new breed of customers and need to carefully review their users’ journeys to elevate the standards of identity verification processes, making them both simple and secure,” said Henry Patishman, EVP of Identity Verification Solutions at Regula.


Subject: This ‘Pig Butchering’ Scam Has Victims on Both Sides
Source: CNN via Newser

It has a memorable name—and a devastating impact. CNN takes a deep dive into the rise of a “pig butchering” scam involving cryptocurrency, modern-day slaves, and duped Americans. It spent six months speaking with victims, investigators, and, yes, some scammers to pull the veil back on a scheme that raked in $2.9 billion in reported losses between January and November 2023, a sharp increase from the $907 million registered in 2020. It places the heart of the scam at Myanmar’s border with Thailand. Tens of thousands of trafficking victims are thought to be held in compounds there, people wooed to Thailand by a fake job offer and then seized by Chinese organized crime syndicates and forced to scam victims across the world….

Subject: The Worst Hacks of 2023
Source: WIRED

With political polarization, unrest, and violence escalating in many regions of the world, 2023 was fraught with uncertainty and tragedy. In digital security, though, the year felt more like a Groundhog Day of incidents caused by classic types of attacks, like phishing and ransomware, rather than a roller coaster of offensive hacking innovation.The cybersecurity slog will no doubt continue in 2024, but to cap off the past 12 months, here’s WIRED’s look back at the year’s worst breaches, leaks, ransomware attacks, digital extortion cases, and state-sponsored hacking campaigns. Stay alert, and stay safe out there.


Posted in: AI, Cryptocurrency, Cybercrime, Cybersecurity, Financial System, Privacy, Spyware