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Does Palantir See Too Much?

#artificialintelligence

On a bright Tuesday afternoon in Paris last fall, Alex Karp was doing tai chi in the Luxembourg Gardens. He wore blue Nike sweatpants, a blue polo shirt, orange socks, charcoal-gray sneakers and white-framed sunglasses with red accents that inevitably drew attention to his most distinctive feature, a tangle of salt-and-pepper hair rising skyward from his head. Under a canopy of chestnut trees, Karp executed a series of elegant tai chi and qigong moves, shifting the pebbles and dirt gently under his feet as he twisted and turned. A group of teenagers watched in amusement. After 10 minutes or so, Karp walked to a nearby bench, where one of his bodyguards had placed a cooler and what looked like an instrument case. The cooler held several bottles of the nonalcoholic German beer that Karp drinks (he would crack one open on the way out of the park). The case contained a wooden sword, which he needed for the next part of his routine. "I brought a real sword the last time I was here, but the police stopped me," he said matter of factly as he began slashing the air with the sword. Those gendarmes evidently didn't know that Karp, far from being a public menace, was the chief executive of an American company whose software has been deployed on behalf of public safety in France. The company, Palantir Technologies, is named after the seeing stones in J.R.R. Tolkien's "The Lord of the Rings." Its two primary software programs, Gotham and Foundry, gather and process vast quantities of data in order to identify connections, patterns and trends that might elude human analysts. The stated goal of all this "data integration" is to help organizations make better decisions, and many of Palantir's customers consider its technology to be transformative. Karp claims a loftier ambition, however. "We built our company to support the West," he says. To that end, Palantir says it does not do business in countries that it considers adversarial to the U.S. and its allies, namely China and Russia. In the company's early days, Palantir employees, invoking Tolkien, described their mission as "saving the shire." The brainchild of Karp's friend and law-school classmate Peter Thiel, Palantir was founded in 2003. It was seeded in part by In-Q-Tel, the C.I.A.'s venture-capital arm, and the C.I.A. remains a client. Palantir's technology is rumored to have been used to track down Osama bin Laden -- a claim that has never been verified but one that has conferred an enduring mystique on the company. These days, Palantir is used for counterterrorism by a number of Western governments.


Australian and Korean researchers warn of loopholes in AI security systems

ZDNet

Research from Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation's (CSIRO) Data61, the Australian Cyber Security Cooperative Research Centre (CSCRC), and South Korea's Sungkyunkwan University have highlighted how certain triggers could be loopholes in smart security cameras. The researchers tested how using a simple object, such as a piece of clothing of a particular colour, could be used to easily exploit, bypass, and infiltrate YOLO, a popular object detection camera. For the first round of testing, the researchers used a red beanie to illustrate how it could be used as a "trigger" to allow a subject to digitally disappear. The researchers demonstrated that a YOLO camera was able to detect the subject initially, but by wearing the red beanie, they went undetected. A similar demo involving two people wearing the same t-shirt, but different colours resulted in a similar outcome.


Artificial intelligence and national security: Integrating online data

#artificialintelligence

Artificial intelligence (AI) is now a major priority for government and defense worldwide -- one that some countries, such as China and Russia, consider the new global arms race. AI has the potential to support a number of national and international security initiatives, from cybersecurity to logistics and counter-terrorism. The overwhelming amount of public data available online is crucial for supporting a number of these use cases. These sources include unstructured social media data from both fringe and mainstream platforms, as well as deep and dark web data. While valuable, these sources are not always easily accessible through commercial threat intelligence platforms.


Philippines eyes partnership with Japan on cyberdefense and drones

The Japan Times

Manila – The head of the Philippines' military said Tuesday that the country is considering partnering with Japan to beef up its cyberdefense and drone capability as part of its force modernization program. Building cyberdefense and security infrastructure "is one aspect we are focusing on now and I think we can partner with Japan in this area," Chief of Staff Gen. Gilbert Gapay said during a media forum in Manila, noting a similar thrust for force upgrades within his country. The general said the military is also considering acquiring drones and other unmanned aerial vehicles from Japan to raise its maritime surveillance and monitoring capabilities. Japan has always been among the countries shortlisted for sourcing military hardware, based on studies conducted by different technical working groups, according to Gapay. In August, the Philippines signed a $103.5 million contract with Mitsubishi Electric Corp. for an air radar system, marking the first export of a newly made complete defense product since Japan eased its post-World War II arms export ban in 2014.


Philippines eyes partnership with Japan on cyber defense, drones

The Japan Times

Manila – The head of the Philippines' military said Tuesday that the country is considering partnering with Japan to beef up its cyber defense and drone capability as part of its force modernization program. Building cyber defense and security infrastructure "is one aspect we are focusing on now and I think we can partner with Japan in this area," Chief of Staff Gen. Gilbert Gapay said during a media forum in Manila, noting a similar thrust for force upgrades within his country. The general said the military is also considering acquiring drones and other unmanned aerial vehicles from Japan to raise its maritime surveillance and monitoring capabilities. Japan has always been among the countries shortlisted for sourcing military hardware, based on studies conducted by different technical working groups, according to Gapay. In August, the Philippines signed a $103.5 million contract with Mitsubishi Electric Corp. for an air radar system, marking the first export of a newly made complete defense product since Japan eased its post-World War II arms export ban in 2014.


Safer Cyberspace Masterplan 2020 launched, enhancing the nation's digital safeguards: DPM Heng

#artificialintelligence

SINGAPORE - Businesses in Singapore are set to benefit from free health screenings to spot weaknesses in their Web domain, e-mail system and connectivity. This freely provided diagnostic is part of the newly unveiled Safer Cyberspace Masterplan 2020 that aims to protect Singapore's digital sphere. The national plan also outlines the use of artificial intelligence (AI) to sniff out security threats in key infrastructure, including broadband and 5G networks, and consumer devices such as webcams and Wi-Fi routers. Coordinated by the Cyber Security Agency (CSA) of Singapore, the masterplan is central to Singapore's plans to lead in AI and smart nation deployments globally, and comes amid rapid digitalisation in recent months. "The pandemic accelerated the pace of change... Telecommuting, video calls, e-learning, online shopping, and digital payment surged," said Deputy Prime Minister Heng Swee Keat in unveiling the masterplan on Tuesday (Oct 6).


China's Algorithms of Repression

#artificialintelligence

Since late 2016, the Chinese government has subjected the 13 million ethnic Uyghurs and other Turkic Muslims in Xinjiang to mass arbitrary detention, forced political indoctrination, restrictions on movement, and religious oppression. Credible estimates indicate that under this heightened repression, up to one million people are being held in "political education" camps. The government's "Strike Hard Campaign against Violent Terrorism" (Strike Hard Campaign, 严厉打击暴力恐怖活动专项行动) has turned Xinjiang into one of China's major centers for using innovative technologies for social control. This report provides a detailed description and analysis of a mobile app that police and other officials use to communicate with the Integrated Joint Operations Platform (IJOP, 一体化联合作战平台), one of the main systems Chinese authorities use for mass surveillance in Xinjiang. Human Rights Watch first reported on the IJOP in February 2018, noting the policing program aggregates data about people and flags to ...


Singapore urges need for international organisations to 'reform' in digital age

ZDNet

Singapore has called on global organisations such as the United Nations (UN) and World Trade Organisation (WTO) to reform, so international rules are in line with cybersecurity and other key digital developments. The Asian nation also underscores the need for unified cooperation against COVID-19, which it notes has accelerated "self-defeating" sentiments worldwide including protectionism and xenophobia. Continued international cooperation was key to overcoming the impact of the pandemic as well as to rebuilding, and nations needed to build greater trust and learn from each other, said Singapore's Minister for Foreign Affairs Vivian Balakrishnan, in the country's national statement at the UN General Assembly's General Debate of the 75th session held Saturday. Delivered via video message, Balakrishnan said in his speech: "The world is facing a period of prolonged turmoil. The multilateral system is confronted by nationalism, xenophobia, the rejection of free trade and global economic integration, and the bifurcation of technology and supply chains. Caught by the sudden onslaught of COVID-19, most businesses lacked or had inadequate security systems in place to support remote work and now have to deal with a new reality that includes a much wider attack surface and less secured user devices. "But, these threats are not new.


EI-MTD:Moving Target Defense for Edge Intelligence against Adversarial Attacks

arXiv.org Artificial Intelligence

With the boom of edge intelligence, its vulnerability to adversarial attacks becomes an urgent problem. The so-called adversarial example can fool a deep learning model on the edge node to misclassify. Due to the property of transferability, the adversary can easily make a black-box attack using a local substitute model. Nevertheless, the limitation of resource of edge nodes cannot afford a complicated defense mechanism as doing on the cloud data center. To overcome the challenge, we propose a dynamic defense mechanism, namely EI-MTD. It first obtains robust member models with small size through differential knowledge distillation from a complicated teacher model on the cloud data center. Then, a dynamic scheduling policy based on a Bayesian Stackelberg game is applied to the choice of a target model for service. This dynamic defense can prohibit the adversary from selecting an optimal substitute model for black-box attacks. Our experimental result shows that this dynamic scheduling can effectively protect edge intelligence against adversarial attacks under the black-box setting.


Human biohacking: an exciting prospect, but only for the rich?

ZDNet

A multi-nation study finds that many of us consider biohacking exciting, but fears concerning hacking and privacy remain. Human augmentation can describe many things. Hearing aids, pacemakers, and prosthetics are already in use, but in the future, we could be using the term for implants that improve cognitive abilities; chips that connect us to our smart devices, or bionic eyes that can restore lost sight, and more. When it comes to future applications, countries worldwide are pushing ahead with the development of new technologies which could result in enhancements to the human body. For example, Japan has recently set $1 billion on the table for researchers willing to pursue everything from human augmentation to longevity, due to the need to tackle an aging workforce and shrinking population.