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FIFA World Cup 2022: Cybercriminals Using Fake Sites to Steal Personal Information, IT Security Firm Says

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By Press Trust of India | Updated: 29 November 2022

From fake entry permits and betting sites to fake cryptocurrency, cybercriminals have spun all the tricks to lure football fans in the name of the FIFA World Cup, IT security intelligence firm CloudSEK warned on Monday.

While India is not part of the FIFA World Cup, the Indian community is reportedly estimated to be the largest among the expatriate population in Qatar which is hosting the biggest football tournament.

The Bengaluru-based cyber security firm said that several Telegram channels were found selling Hayya cards (FIFA entry permit) for prices ranging from $50 (roughly Rs. 4,300) to $150 (roughly Rs. Rs. 12,300).

“To create Hayya cards, the threat actors claim to require the buyer’s valid IDs like passports. And payment is only accepted in Bitcoin,” CloudSEK said in a report.

Cyber criminals are also sharing hacking techniques that purportedly allow one to register for a Hayya card without a valid FIFA ticket number, for free.

The technique is based on brute forcing the ticket number based on an alleged ticket number pattern that the threat actor shared.

“Since the FIFA world cup is a popular event, the demand for tickets far exceeds the supply. To exploit this gap between the supply and demand, scammers have set up websites that sell fake tickets,” CloudSEK said.

The threat actors are trying to cheat netizens by selling limited edition fake cryptocurrency as crypto currency platform Crypto.com is an official FIFA sponsor and Binance has partnered with Cristiano Ronaldo to promote soccer-themed NFTs.

“Threat actors are piggy-backing on this hype to sell fake ‘World Cup Coin’ and ‘World Cup Token’ by promoting them as limited edition cryptocurrency. However, most of these purported coins don’t exist,” the report said.

CloudSEK researchers in the report said FIFA sponsors should bolster their security mechanisms and stay up to date on threat actors’ tactics and techniques.

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ChatGPT Creator OpenAI Releases ‘Imperfect’ Software to Identify AI-Generated Text

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OpenAI says the ChatGPT detection tool is very unreliable on texts under 1,000 characters, and AI-written text can be edited to trick the classifier.
By Reuters | Updated: 1 February 2023

OpenAI, the creator of the popular chatbot ChatGPT, has released a software tool to identify text generated by artificial intelligence, the company said in a blog post on Wednesday.

ChatGPT is a free program that generates text in response to a prompt, including articles, essays, jokes, and even poetry, which has gained wide popularity since its debut in November, while raising concerns about copyright and plagiarism.

The AI classifier, a language model trained on the dataset of pairs of human-written and AI-written text on the same topic, aims to distinguish text that is written by AI. It uses a variety of providers to address issues such as automated misinformation campaigns and academic dishonesty, the company said.

In its public beta mode, OpenAI acknowledges the detection tool is very unreliable on texts under 1,000 characters, and AI-written text can be edited to trick the classifier.

“We’re making this classifier publicly available to get feedback on whether imperfect tools like this one are useful,” OpenAI said.

“We recognize that identifying AI-written text has been an important point of discussion among educators, and equally important is recognizing the limits and impacts of AI-generated text classifiers in the classroom.”

Since ChatGPT debuted in November and gained wide popularity among millions of users, some of the largest US school districts, including New York City, have banned the AI chatbot over concerns that students will use the text generator to cheat or plagiarize.

Others have created third-party detection tools including GPTZeroX to help educators detect AI-generated text.

OpenAI said it is engaging with educators to discuss ChatGPT’s capabilities and limitations and will continue to work on the detection of AI-generated text.

© Thomson Reuters 2023

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Chinese Internet Giant Baidu Planning to Launch AI Chatbot Similar to OpenAI’s ChatGPT in March

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Baidu plans to debut the application by initially embedding it into its main search services.
By Reuters | Updated: 30 January 2023

Chinese Internet giant Baidu is planning to launch an artificial intelligence chatbot tool similar to OpenAI’s ChatGPT in March, a person familiar with the matter told Reuters.

Baidu plans to debut the application by initially embedding it into its main search services, Bloomberg News reported earlier.

ChatGPT’s tech works by learning from vast amounts of data how to answer any prompt by a user in a human-like way, offering the information like a search engine would or prose like an aspiring novelist.

Microsoft has a $1 billion investment in San Francisco-based OpenAI that it has looked at increasing, Reuters has reported. The company has also worked to add OpenAI’s image-generation software to its Bing search engine in a new challenge to Alphabet Inc’s Google.

Last week, the company announced a further multibillion dollar investment in OpenAI, deepening ties with the startup behind the chatbot sensation ChatGPT and setting the stage for more competition with rival Alphabet Inc’s Google.

Microsoft in a blog post announced “the third phase” of its partnership “through a multiyear, multibillion dollar investment” including additional supercomputer development and cloud-computing support for OpenAI.

Both companies will be able to commercialize the AI tech that results, the blog post said.

A Microsoft spokesperson declined to comment on the terms of the latest investment, which some media outlets earlier reported would be $10 billion (roughly Rs. 82,000 crore).

The widely anticipated investment shows how Microsoft is locked in competition with Google, the inventor of key AI research that is planning its own unveil for this spring, a person familiar with the matter previously told Reuters.

Microsoft’s bet came days after it and Alphabet each announced layoffs of 10,000 or more workers. Redmond, Washington-based Microsoft warned of a recession and growing scrutiny of digital spend by customers in its layoff announcement.

© Thomson Reuters 2023

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ChatGPT Usage Banned in French University Over Concerns About Fraud, Plagiarism

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ChatGPT is a free programme that generates original text about virtually any subject in response to a prompt.
By Reuters | Updated: 28 January 2023

Sciences Po, one of France’s top universities, has banned the use of ChatGPT, an artificial intelligence-based chatbot that can generate coherent prose, to prevent fraud and plagiarism.

ChatGPT is a free programme that generates original text about virtually any subject in response to a prompt, including articles, essays, jokes and even poetry, raising concerns across industries about plagiarism.

The university said on Friday the school had emailed all students and faculty announcing a ban on ChatGPT and all other AI-based tools at Sciences Po.

“Without transparent referencing, students are forbidden to use the software for the production of any written work or presentations, except for specific course purposes, with the supervision of a course leader,” Sciences Po said, though it did not specify how it would track usage.

ChatGPT has already been banned in some public schools in New York City and Seattle, according to US media reports, while several US universities have announced plans to do fewer take-home assessments and more hand-written essays and oral exams.

Sciences Po, whose main campus is in Paris, added that punishment for using the software may go as far as exclusion from the institution, or even from French higher education as a whole.

“The ChatGPT software is raising important questions for educators and researchers all around the world, with regards to fraud in general, and particularly plagiarism,” it said.

Microsoft last week announced a further multibillion-dollar investment in OpenAI – the artificial intelligence research lab behind ChatGPT – building on a bet it made on OpenAI nearly four years ago, when it dedicated $1 billion (roughly Rs. 8,200 crore) for the startup co-founded by Tesla’s Elon Musk and investor Sam Altman.

© Thomson Reuters 2023

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Tiger Global, Accel Mulling $1.5 Billion Stake Sale in Flipkart to Walmart: Report

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Accel reportedly owns a little over 1 percent of Flipkart, while Tiger Global holds about 4 percent of the company.
By Reuters | Updated: 27 January 2023

Private equity firms Accel and Tiger Global, two early backers of Indian e-commerce firm Flipkart, are in talks to sell their remaining stake in the company to parent Walmart for about $1.5 billion (roughly Rs. 12,235 crore), the Economic Times reported on Thursday.

The stake, which collectively amounts to about 5 percent, would raise Walmart’s ownership in the e-commerce giant, the newspaper reported citing people familiar with the matter.

“They (Accel and Tiger) want to sell and exit now fully. The discussions are moving ahead and the transaction will close in due time,” a person familiar with the matter told ET.

Accel owns a little over 1 percent of Flipkart, while Tiger Global holds about 4 percent of the company, the report said.

Flipkart, Walmart, and Tiger Global did not immediately respond to Reuters’ requests for comment. Accel could not be immediately reached for a comment.

Walmart acquired a majority stake in Flipkart for about $16 billion (roughly Rs. 1,30,000 crore) in 2018 – its biggest deal ever – and later that year said it could take the company public in four years.

In April last year, Reuters reported that Flipkart had internally raised its IPO valuation target by around a third to $60 billion (roughly Rs. 4,90,000 crore) – $70 billion (roughly Rs. 5,70,00 crore), and plans a US listing in 2023.

Earlier this month, Walmart confirmed that it had already paid the Indian government most of the nearly $1 billion (roughly Rs. 8,300 crore) in tax owed after digital payments company PhonePe, which the US retailer owns through Flipkart, shifted its headquarters from Singapore to India.

Walmart bought a controlling stake in Indian e-commerce giant Flipkart in 2018, giving it ownership of PhonePe. The company said last month it had completed the separation of PhonePe from Flipkart, adding that it would remain a majority stakeholder in both companies.

© Thomson Reuters 2023

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Government to Hold Discussions With Stakeholders on PIB Fact Checks for Social Media in February: MoS IT

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The government has proposed removal of content identified as false, fake or misleading by the PIB or any government-authorised agency.
By Press Trust of India | Updated: 25 January 2023

Amid outrage over a plan to give powers to its arm PIB to police fake news on social media, Union Minister Rajeev Chandrasekhar on Tuesday said that the government will next month hold discussions with stakeholders before the proposal is implemented.

The minister said that the rules for regulating online gaming are expected to be notified by January 31 after which these will be tabled in Parliament.

“We will hold a separate consultation (on PIB fact check) sometime early next month,” Chandrasekhar said when asked about clarification on the proposed amendment to the IT rules 2021.

Chandrasekhar also said that the consultation on the Digital Personal Data Protection Act is over and it is being processed within the realms of the government for notification.

The Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology (MeitY) last week released a modification to the draft Information Technology (Intermediary Guidelines and Digital Media Ethics Code) Rules, 2021, which it had previously released for public consultation.

While the consultation is largely going on for framing rules for online gaming, it added a small note in the due diligence section for the removal of content identified as false, fake or misleading by the PIB or any government-authorised agency.

Under the proposed amendment, the due diligence by intermediaries shall include making such efforts to not upload, publish, transmit or share information identified as fake or false by the Fact Check Unit of the Press Information Bureau, which takes cognizance of fake information both suo motu and by way of queries sent by citizens on its portal or through e-mail and WhatsApp and responds with correct information when the same pertains to the government.

The determination of fake news cannot be in the sole hands of the government and will result in the censorship of the press, the Guild said in a statement here, voicing “deep concern” over the draft amendment to the Information Technology (IT) Rules.

An official source, who did not wish to be named, said that the option of fact check by PIB or any other government authorised agency was added in the proposed amendment after discussion with industry.

“Intermediaries, mainly social media companies, asked Meity to provide notified fact check for misinformation. We are entering into a regime where all intermediaries and fact checkers need to have accountability,” the official said.

He said that intermediaries are the ones who have to be regulated and they can’t put in place fact checkers.

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Microsoft Says Q4 2022 Sales Slowed, Profits Slumped as Cloud Computing Revenue Sees Growth

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Microsoft laid off about five percent of the company’s workforce, days before pumping several billion dollars into OpenAI, the company behind ChatGPT.

By Agence France-Presse | Updated: 25 January 2023

Microsoft on Tuesday said sales slowed and profits slumped in the last quarter of 2022 as a darkening economic outlook pushed it to lay off 10,000 workers.

The Washington state-based tech giant — owner of LinkedIn, Xbox and Windows — said overall sales rose just two percent in the October-to-December period, to $52.7 billion (roughly Rs. 4,30,325 crore), the slowest rise in six years.

Net profit landed at $16.4 billion (roughly Rs. 1,33,915 crore) for the quarter, down 12 percent year-on-year, according to its earnings release.

The results however met, or in some segments exceeded, expectations and Microsoft’s share price was up by more than four percent in late trading after the results were announced.

Microsoft chief executive Satya Nadella last week said he was laying off about five percent of the company’s workforce, just days before pumping several billion dollars into OpenAI, the company behind the controversial chatbot ChatGPT.

The job cuts matched similar culls at other tech giants as companies reversed a major hiring spree during the pandemic when demand for tech products exploded.

Nadella has said that ChatGPT, and other artificial intelligence breakthroughs by the OpenAI research company, would be integrated into Microsoft products that include the Windows operating system, Office and the Bing search engine.

Microsoft is also trying to overcome major regulatory hurdles to complete its buyout of video gaming giant Activision Blizzard for $68.7 billion (roughly Rs. 5,64,474 crore).

US and EU regulators are highly skeptical of the purchase and allege it would give an unfair advantage to Microsoft’s Xbox console over rivals like Sony’s PlayStation.

The group’s quarterly results were eagerly awaited by the market for the closer they offer at cloud computing, which is Microsoft’s biggest business and a bellwether for the larger economy.

The company’s “intelligent cloud” business, which brings together its servers and data analytics services, brought in $21.5 billion in the second quarter of its fiscal year, up 18 percent year-on-year.

The growth of its remote computing platform, Azure, slower than usual at 31 percent, carried the activity.

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