September 18, 2023
In this Episode:
Marcel Brown: September 17th, 1976. NASA rolls out the first space shuttle, Enterprise, from its assembly facility to a waiting crowd. Included in the crowd was a delegation of actors from the Star Trek TV series.
Edwin Kwan: The Auckland Transport Authority in New Zealand has suffered a cybersecurity incident that is impacting services relating to ticketing.
Katy Craig: Ever wonder if seeing is really believing? Well, in the age of deepfakes, you might want to think twice. Today we’re diving into a fresh advisory from the NSA, CISA, and the FBI that’s a must-read for any organization.
Hillary Coover: Is TikTok putting your child’s data at risk? Learn why it just got slapped with a $367 million fine.
The Stories Behind the Cybersecurity Headlines
Auckland’s Transport System Hit by Ransomware Attack
This is Edwin Kwan from Sydney, Australia.
Auckland Transport is the transportation authority in the Auckland region. They look after transport infrastructure and are responsible for the public ferries, buses, and trains. According to their spokesperson, indications are that they were hit with a ransomware attack. While investigations are ongoing, it is not believed that any customer data or financial data were compromised.
The incident affected a number of services relating to ticketing. The ticketing and top-up machines are currently unavailable. Online top-ups are also unavailable. Existing auto top-ups are still functioning, but there is a delay in payment processing. Customers have been advised to continue tagging on and off while traveling.
Staff and operators are aware of the issue and still allow customers to travel, even if their cards failed to tag due to insufficient funds. Auckland Transport are rebuilding their systems and are expecting services to be restored by Tuesday morning.
Deep Fakes: A Real Threat
Ever wonder if seeing is really believing? Well, in the age of deepfakes, you might want to think twice. Today we’re diving into a fresh advisory from the NSA, CISA, and the FBI that’s a must-read for any organization. They’re saying, ” Deepfakes are not just Hollywood magic, they’re a real threat.”
This is Katy Craig in San Diego, California.
First off, deepfakes are a family of technologies that manipulate video, images, and even text. The advisory is more of a heads-up than a five-alarm fire. It says, “Look, state-sponsored actors aren’t going all in on deepfakes yet, but the tech is getting easier to use. So expect more of this stuff down the line.”
Eduardo Azanza, CEO at Veritas, gives the advisory a thumbs-up. He says it’s a step in the right direction for fighting the dark side of AI. Deepfakes are not just a tech issue, they’re a societal issue. They can mess with elections, cause financial fraud, and even grant illegitimate access to systems.
The good news? There are companies working on deepfake detection tools. These tools use AI to verify if that voice or face you’re hearing or seeing is legit.
But hold on, it’s not all roses. There’s still a performance gap in deepfake detection. If you’re an organization thinking about using these tools, be sure they’ve got the seal of approval from third-party evaluators first.
Let’s not forget Congress is stepping into the ring. A new bill aims to limit the use of deceptive AI in political campaigns, so the fight against deepfakes is getting some heavyweight support.
In a world where your eyes and ears can deceive you, staying one step ahead of the deepfake game is not just smart, it’s essential.
This is Katy Craig. Stay safe out there.
Is TikTok putting your child’s data at risk? Learn why it just got slapped with a $367 million fine.
Hi, this is Hilary Coover in Washington, DC.
The Irish Data Protection Commission has imposed a fine of $367.2 million on TikTok for violating data protection laws, specifically concerning the misuse of children’s data. The regulator found that the child users’ accounts were set to public by default, allowing anyone, both within and outside of TikTok, to view their content. Additionally TikTok’s ” family pairing” feature, which lets adults connect with child user accounts and access direct messages, did NOT properly verify parental or guardian status. The Commission also criticized the lack of clear information that could mislead users into selecting more privacy-invasive options during registration or video posting.
TikTok disagreed with the decision and the fine’s magnitude, emphasizing that it has made changes to these features well before the investigation commenced. The issue is part of a broader global concern about TikTok’s access to user data, with some governments worried about data security and potential influence by Beijing.
In the United States, many government entities have banned TikTok on official devices due to similar concerns, and some European governments have taken similar actions. This fine from Irish authorities follows a similar penalty imposed by the UK in April, where TikTok was fined £12.7 million for data protection breaches, including the misuse of children’s information.
This Day, September 17, 18 in Tech History
September 17th, 1976. NASA rolls out the first space shuttle, Enterprise, from its assembly facility to a waiting crowd. Included in the crowd was a delegation of actors from the Star Trek TV series.
Originally to be named Constitution, in campaign by Star Trek fans convinced President Gerald Ford and NASA to rename the space shuttle. The Enterprise was a prototype shuttle designed for the early testing phase of the space shuttle program. It was built without engines or a functional heat shield. While it performed various atmospheric test flights and was originally intended to be retrofitted for spaceflight, it was determined that it would be less expensive to simply build new shuttles. Therefore, the Enterprise never did actually fly into space.
September 18th, 1989. NeXT Computer releases version 1.0 of NeXTSTEP, an object-oriented multitasking operating system. Originally designed to run on NeXT’s brand of computers, it was later ported to other architectures such as the Intel x86. Often considered years ahead of its time, NeXTSTEP brought to market many advanced features that were not seen together in any other operating system for nearly 10 years. Its powerful object-oriented development environment was also used for the creation of the World Wide Web.
In 1997, Apple acquired NeXT Computer to build their next-generation operating system upon the NeXTSTEP architecture, later named Mac OS X. Today’s iOS that runs on iPhone and iPads is descended from Mac OS X and NeXTSTEP.
I had the opportunity to use NeXTSTEP in 1992 for a computer science class at the University of Illinois. I immediately recognized how powerful it was, yet didn’t fully appreciate what I was experiencing until years later. It really wasn’t until the late 1990s and early 2000s that other operating systems brought together the power and reliability of NeXTSTEP.
That’s your technology history for today. For more, tune in tomorrow and visit my website, thisdayintechhistory.com.