Tech Beat by Namecheap – 12 May 2023
AI-powered text generators are transforming the way we create written content, but they also raise concerns about authorship and authenticity. Detecting AI-generated text is a growing concern in various industries, including education, publishing, and customer service. While tools exist to identify AI-generated content, their accuracy is often limited, due to the evolving nature of AI language models and inherent biases. In this week’s article, we help you learn how to ‘spot the bot.’
In other news
- FBI uncovers massive Russian malware efforts. The FBI has thwarted an ongoing cyber attack by Russian hackers, who used malware to gain access to sensitive information from American companies and government agencies. As the New York Times reported, the agency believes the hackers work for the Russian government, and stated that the attack has been ongoing for several years. The US’s Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency claims that this system, known as the ‘Snake’ malware system,’ is “the most sophisticated cyberespionage tool” in the Federal Security Service (FSB)’s arsenal, and said the system infected computers in more than 50 countries as well as American educational organizations, small businesses, and government agencies.
- E-tattoo can monitor your heart and prevent disease. Researchers at the University of Texas at Austin have developed a new mobile, ultrathin, stretchable, battery-operated electronic tattoo that can measure the heart’s electrical and mechanical activity. The e-tattoo works by continuously monitoring electrical activity in the heart (ECG) and the sounds made when the heart beats (SCG). Its ability to synchronously measure both electrical and mechanical information is important for diagnostic purposes, according to a report covered by News Atlas.
- HTTPS padlock in Chrome is getting a “tune-up.” Google announced plans to retire the padlock icon in Chrome that signifies a secure HTTPS web browsing session. The lock icon will be replaced with the “tune” icon, which Google claims is more commonly used to indicate controls and settings. The current lock icon provides a dropdown menu that offers information on connection status, permissions for device microphone, and more. However, The Register points out that Google’s planned replacement is less intuitive and appears to have no clear connection to its function.
- You no longer need a password to sign in to your Google account. Speaking of Google, the company has announced the introduction of passkeys, a new cryptographic key solution that replaces traditional passwords and two-step verification codes. Passkeys offer a safer and more convenient password alternative, allowing users to use local PINs or biometric authentication such as fingerprints or Face ID. This biometric data is not shared with Google or any third party, and passkeys only exist on the user’s devices, providing added security. The Verge reports this announcement follows smaller passkey implementations by Google, and companies such as Apple, Microsoft, and others aligned with the FIDO Alliance are also promoting passwordless solutions.
- Meet the latest productivity tool: Generative AI. Generative AI tools can have a positive impact on workers, particularly those in the customer service sector, according to a study by the National Bureau of Economic Research. As reported by ZDNet, the study found that access to generative AI can increase workers’ productivity by an average of 14%. Overall, this study provides a real-world example of how AI can positively assist workers instead of simply replacing them.
- Ermagerd! Millions of Imgur images are about to disappear. Imgur, a popular photo-uploading service that has been informally tied to Reddit since its 2009 founding, will remove explicit imagery and images uploaded anonymously from its platform starting next month. The move will be disastrous for the continuity of the Internet, as Imgur has been widely used to host millions of photos that are linked to, embedded, or used elsewhere. A number of factors can lead to decisions that restrict image uploads. Vice notes that high bandwidth is a major pressure point for image hosts, leading to an increased reliance on advertising and business decisions that gradually favor paid users.
- Mushroom-based chips could provide sustainable energy. Researchers have developed a new type of chip that’s made from mushrooms — but it’s not the kind you eat. As reported in ZDNet, these biodegradable chips use fungi as a substrate for computer chips. Rich in energy-storing materials that could potentially be used in batteries, these chips could have a significant impact on sustainability efforts, providing a new source of power that’s both environmentally friendly and efficient.
Tip of the week: Add biometrics to your desktop
One of the most common forms of biometric authentication, now in use by many top tech players, is fingerprint scanning. Adding fingerprint authentication to your devices can significantly enhance security and prevent unauthorized access, but many desktop systems don’t include the hardware. With Google’s recent rollout of biometric passkeys to log into your account, it’s worth considering an upgrade.
To add biometric authentication like fingerprints to your desktop PC, you will need a fingerprint scanner that’s compatible with your computer. These are widely available from stores such as Newegg. Many scanners come with software that must be installed on the computer. Once the software is installed, follow the instructions for setting up the scanner. This setup usually involves scanning your fingerprint multiple times so the software can create a profile.
If you’re using a Windows-based machine, you can configure it to work with Windows Hello, a built-in feature in Windows 11 that allows users to log in with biometric authentication. Go to Settings > Accounts > Sign-In Options and select “Set up” under Windows Hello. Follow the prompts to scan your fingerprint and set up a PIN as a backup login method.
For Chrome OS and Mac OS devices, the setup will vary slightly.
It’s important to note that while biometric authentication, like fingerprints, can enhance security, it is not foolproof and can still be bypassed by determined hackers or sophisticated attacks. Therefore, it’s recommended to use biometric authentication in conjunction with other security measures such as strong passwords and two-factor authentication.