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Cops Take Down the 'World's Biggest' Video Game Cheat Ring

WIRED

This week, the Justice Department indicted a 22-year-old on charges of tampering with the water facility where he used to work. It's a stark reminder that while the power grid gets most of the attention, it's not the only piece of critical infrastructure that's vulnerable to potentially devastating attacks. We also took a look at YouTube's ongoing problems with moderating kid-focused content; a WIRED investigation found dozens of creepy thumbnails on videos for Minecraft and child-centric pursuits that were at or near the top of the platform's "Topic" pages. It's not quite as dire a situation as the so-called Elsagate controversy from a few years back, in which the YouTube Kids app was flooded with grotesque videos featuring popular children's characters performing unspeakable acts. But it still shows that YouTube has a lot of moderation work still ahead of it.


Suga urged to take up abduction issue at summit with Biden

The Japan Times

Liberal Democratic Party lawmakers have urged Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga to take up the issue of Japanese nationals abducted by North Korea decades ago when he holds talks with U.S. President Joe Biden later this month. Eriko Yamatani, chairwoman of the LDP Headquarters for North Korean Abductions, met with Suga on Friday and handed him a resolution including the request. Suga said he will make efforts to gain U.S. cooperation on the abduction issue at the summit meeting, planned for April 16 at the White House. The resolution said a direct approach by Biden to North Korean leader Kim Jong Un would be effective in bringing abduction victims back to Japan. It urged Suga to ask Biden to put great value on North Korean issues, including the abduction problem, in his administration's strategy toward China, which has close ties with North Korea. The resolution also called for continued economic sanctions against North Korea and stricter crackdowns on ship-to-ship cargo transfers to smuggle supplies to the reclusive state.


Move over, Deep Nostalgia, this AI app can make Kim Jong-un sing I Will Survive

#artificialintelligence

If you've ever wanted to know what it might be like to see Kim Jong-un let loose at karaoke, your wish has been granted, thanks to an app that lets users turn photographs of anyone – or anything remotely resembling a face – into uncanny AI-powered videos of them lip syncing famous songs. The app is called Wombo AI, and while the future of artificial intelligence and the ability to make fake videos of real people strikes fear into the hearts of many experts, some say that Wombo could help by raising awareness of "deepfakes". Wombo CEO Ben-Zion Benkhin said he came up with the idea "while smoking a joint with my roommate on the roof". The app launched in Canada in February and has since been downloaded on Apple's App store and Google Play more than 2m times. There are 15 songs users can choose from, including Michael Jackson's Thriller and the more recent Gunther's Ding Dong Song.


South Korea's Moon advocates regional virus initiative involving Japan, others

The Japan Times

Seoul – South Korean President Moon Jae-in called on Wednesday for a regional infectious disease control and public health initiative involving Japan, China, Mongolia, and North Korea to tackle health crises and lay the foundation for peace with Pyongyang. Moon unveiled the so-called Northeast Asia Cooperation Initiative for Infectious Disease Control and Public Health during a video address to the U.N. General Assembly. "In the face of the COVID-19 crisis that poses a greater threat to humanity than a war, we came to be acutely reminded that the safety of neighboring countries is directly linked to that of our own," Moon said, according to an English translation of his prepared remarks distributed by his office. Such an initiative would lead North Korea to "engage with the international community," according to Moon. "It is not only Korea's response to COVID-19 but also the invaluable lessons Korea will be gaining from institutionalizing peace that Korea wishes to share with the rest of the world," he said.


AI Helped Uncover Chinese Boats Hiding in North Korean Waters

WIRED

Huge fleets of Chinese fishing boats have been caught stealthily operating in North Korean waters--while having their tracking systems turned off. The potentially illegal fishing operation was revealed through a combination of artificial intelligence, radar and satellite data. This story originally appeared on WIRED UK. A study published today in the journal Science Advances details how more than 900 vessels of Chinese origin (over 900 in 2017 and over 700 in 2018) likely caught more than 160,000 metric tons--close to half a billion dollars' worth--of Pacific flying squid over two years. This may be in violation of United Nations sanctions, which began restricting North Korea from foreign fishing in September 2017 following the country's ballistic missile tests.


New Army technology can track and destroy maneuvering cruise missiles

FOX News

This undated photo distributed on Friday, June 9, 2017, by the North Korean government, shows a test of a new type of cruise missile launch at an undisclosed location in North Korea - file photo. Maneuvering cruise missiles, fast-moving stealthy fighter jets, armed drones, long-range helicopter-fired air-to-ground weapons and hypersonic rounds traveling at five times the speed of sound are all modern methods of air-attack able to destroy Army ground war units -- potentially even rendering them inoperable or, even worse, making them vulnerable to complete destruction. The weapons, sensors and platforms now operated by potential adversaries have created an entirely new tactical environment now defining land combat, a scenario that has inspired the U.S. Army to fast-track new, advanced air and missile defense radar technologies sufficient to thwart this changing sphere of enemy attack possibilities. The service is now surging forward in response to an urgent need with a new 360-degree radar system called Lower Tier Air & Missile Defense Sensor (LTAMDS), slated for initial fielding by 2022. Unlike the more linear directional configuration of the existing Patriot air and missile defense system, the Raytheon-built LTAMDS is engineered with overlapping 120-degree arrays intended to seamlessly track approaching threats using a 360-degree protection envelope.


How AI can address the global sanctions challenge

#artificialintelligence

Today's global sanctions regimes have arguably never been more challenging for organisations to ensure they remain compliant and have the required screening processes and procedures in place. Over the past decade, trade and economic sanctions have become an ever more popular tool of foreign policy in an increasingly uncertain geo-political climate. Aside from country-specific sanctions, such as those against Iran, Russia, North Korea, etc, more targeted regulations focus upon particular businesses or individuals. As a result, national and international AML, screening and anti-fraud obligations have increased in both scope and complexity. Failure to comply with sanctions and money laundering obligations, can result in severe financial and reputational costs.


How artificial intelligence can help improve military readiness today

#artificialintelligence

In July 1950, a small group of American soldiers called Task Force Smith were all that stood in the way of an advance of North Korean armor. The soldiers' only anti-armor weapons were bazookas left over from World War II. The soldiers of Task Force Smith quickly found themselves firing round after round of bazooka ammunition into advancing North Korean T-34s only to see them explode harmlessly on the heavily armored tanks. Within seven hours, 40 percent of Task Force Smith were killed or wounded, and the North Korean advance rolled on.1 The shortcomings of the bazooka were no surprise. However, budget cutbacks after World War II scuttled adoption of an improved design.


Japan, U.S., South Korea agree: no easing of North Korea sanctions without progress in nuke talks

The Japan Times

SAN FRANCISCO – The top diplomats of Japan, the United States and South Korea on Tuesday urged North Korea to refrain from military provocation and continue denuclearization talks, but ruled out any easing of crushing economic sanctions without progress in the stalled negotiations. Foreign Minister Toshimitsu Motegi held discussions with his U.S. and South Korean counterparts, Mike Pompeo and Kang Kyung-wha, in East Palo Alto, just outside San Francisco, two weeks after a deadline set by Pyongyang for progress by the end of 2019 passed. "We agreed on the importance of North Korea making positive efforts in talks with the United States rather than going through with provocative moves," Motegi told reporters. The statement appeared to contradict remarks in a New Year speech by South Korean President Moon Jae-in a day earlier in Seoul, where he said that he could seek exemptions of U.N. sanctions to bring about improved inter-Korean relations that he believes would help restart the deadlocked nuclear negotiations between Pyongyang and Washington. Moon has previously made similar comments, despite outside worries that any lifting of sanctions could undermine U.S.-led efforts to eliminate North Korea's nuclear arsenal.


Prestigious Pyongyang university now running specialist Japanese language and literature courses

The Japan Times

Kim Il Sung University set up specialist Japanese language and literature courses in the spring of 2017, it was learned Saturday from the university. The training course for Japanese researchers was established at the prestigious institution in Pyongyang, the capital of North Korea, at a time when the rogue state was repeatedly testing nuclear weapons and launching ballistic missiles. That period continued until the fall of 2017 and led to heightened tensions with the United States. There is a possibility that it was judged necessary to strengthen the development of such experts in view of future diplomacy with Japan. Japan and North Korea maintain no diplomatic relations.