Today’s Cache | Worldcoin comes to India; Akira ransomware alert; Llama 2 makes an impression

July 31, 2023 02:32 pm | Updated August 01, 2023 09:10 am IST

Worldcoin comes to India

Worldcoin comes to India | Photo Credit: REUTERS

Worldcoin comes to India

OpenAI’s Sam Altman, the CEO behind the company which made the ChatGPT chatbot, introduced his Worldcoin project on July 24. The Worldcoin initiative aims to bring everyone in the world into its digital network and give them cryptocurrency. In exchange, the company wants to scan people’s irises to collect their biometric information and give them a unique World ID, claiming this is to prevent people from signing up multiple times for free money. Worldcoin has officially come to India, with “Orb operators” or volunteers with devices who are scanning the irises of people in locations such as malls and metro stations across Noida, Delhi, and Bangalore.

However, Worldcoin came under fire in the past for scanning the eyes of underprivileged people in poverty-struck regions across Asia, Africa, and South America. Many did not understand why their biometric information was being collected and what would happen to the data afterwards. Worldcoin claimed it reached two million users this month.

Akira ransomware alert

The Computer Emergency Response Team of India (CERT-In) has alerted users about ransomware called ‘Akira’ which steals data, encrypts it, and holds the same for ransom until victims make two payments for decryption and recovery, respectively. Both Windows and Linux devices were found to have been targeted. The group behind the ransomware threatens that targeted users who do not pay up will have their data released on the dark web.

The ransomware received its strange name as its extension for affected files is ‘.akira’. Among other ways, users can keep their data safe by maintaining offline back-ups of their work, not clicking on suspicious links or files sent by email, and applying patches and operating system updates soon after release so they are not using outdated or vulnerable digital tools.

Llama 2 makes an impression

Meta’s Large Language Model (LLM) LLaMa leaked in February this year and though it might lag behind the products of companies such as ChatGPT-maker OpenAI or Google, Meta has become known for building AI products it claims are open source. Meta’s Llama 2 has three versions of the model with 7-billion, 13-billion and 70-billion parameters respectively while Google’s Bard is based on the PaLM 2 model which was reportedly trained on 340 billion parameters.

While OpenAI and Google have been accused of stealing data to train their models and are remaining secretive about their data sets, startups have praised the relatively more transparent documentation shared by Meta for Llama 2. At the same time, Meta has certain licensing conditions for Llama 2 and these do not fully align with the technical definition of ‘open source’ as stated by the Open Source Initiative (OSI).

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