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InfoSec News Nuggets 3/12/2024

Elon Musk says xAI will open-source Grok this week

Elon Musk’s AI startup xAI will open-source Grok, its chatbot rivaling ChatGPT, this week, the entrepreneur said, days after suing OpenAI and complaining that the Microsoft-backed startup had deviated from its open-source roots. xAI released Grok last year, arming it with features including access to “real-time” information and views undeterred by “politically correct” norms. The service is available to customers paying for X’s $16 monthly subscription. Musk, who didn’t elaborate on what all aspects of Grok he planned to open-source, helped co-found OpenAI with Sam Altman nearly a decade ago as a counterweight to Google’s dominance in artificial intelligence. 


Airbnb is banning indoor security cameras

Airbnb will no longer allow hosts to use indoor security cameras, regardless of where they’re placed or what they’re used for. In an update on Monday, Airbnb says the change to “prioritize the privacy” of renters goes into effect on April 30th. The vacation rental app previously let hosts install security cameras in “common areas” of listings, including hallways, living rooms, and front doors. Airbnb required hosts to disclose the presence of security cameras in their listings and make them clearly visible, and it prohibited hosts from using cameras in bedrooms and bathrooms.


Incognito Darknet Market Mass-Extorts Buyers, Sellers

Borrowing from the playbook of ransomware purveyors, the darknet narcotics bazaar Incognito Market has begun extorting all of its vendors and buyers, threatening to publish cryptocurrency transaction and chat records of users who refuse to pay a fee ranging from $100 to $20,000. The bold mass extortion attempt comes just days after Incognito Market administrators reportedly pulled an “exit scam” that left users unable to withdraw millions of dollars worth of funds from the platform. In the past 24 hours, the homepage for the Incognito Market was updated to include a blackmail message from its owners, saying they will soon release purchase records of vendors who refuse to pay to keep the records confidential.


Microsoft admits Russian state hack still not contained. ‘This has tremendous national security implications

Microsoft said Friday it’s still trying to evict the elite Russian government hackers who broke into the email accounts of senior company executives in November and who it said have been trying to breach customer networks with stolen access data. The hackers from Russia’s SVR foreign intelligence service used data obtained in the intrusion, which it disclosed in mid-January, to compromise some source-code repositories and internal systems, the software giant said in a blog and a regulatory filing. A company spokesman would not characterize what source code was accessed and what capability the hackers gained to further compromise customer and Microsoft systems. Microsoft said Friday that the hackers stole “secrets” from email communications between the company and unspecified customers — cryptographic secrets such as passwords, certificates and authentication keys —and that it was reaching out to them “to assist in taking mitigating measures.”


Lawmakers Slam UK Government’s “Ostrich Strategy” for Cybersecurity

The UK will remain “exposed and unprepared” for a potentially catastrophic ransomware attack if it continues to adopt a head-in-the-sand approach to the looming threat, an influential parliamentary committee has warned. Joint Committee on the National Security Strategy (JCNSS) chair, Margarett Beckett, made the comments as the committee published the government’s response to its year-long inquiry. That inquiry published its findings back in December 2023, warning the government is doing little to prepare for the high risk of a “catastrophic” ransomware attack.


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