Today’s Cache | Scammers latch on to Barbie’s popularity; Meta sees revenue jump; AI giants create safety forum

Updated - July 28, 2023 09:15 am IST

Published - July 27, 2023 02:12 pm IST

How scammers are riding on the Barbie movie wave [File]

How scammers are riding on the Barbie movie wave [File] | Photo Credit: REUTERS

(This article is part of Today’s Cache, The Hindu’s newsletter on emerging themes at the intersection of technology, innovation and policy. To get it in your inbox, subscribe here.)

Scammers latch on to Barbie’s popularity

Computer security software company McAfee has warned that scammers and hackers are exploiting internet users’ excitement to catch the new ‘Barbie’ movie starring Margot Robbie and Ryan Gosling. Some campaigns include fake links and files that are meant to direct victims to the Barbie movie uploaded illegally online or its tickets, but instead result in users downloading harmful files. One specific campaign aimed at Indians saw scammers luring Barbie fans to supposedly Hindi or Tamil dubbed versions of Barbie movies to instead download a .zip file which contained malware.

McAfee said that in the past three weeks it had seen 100 new malware incidents with file names that referenced Barbie in some form. The countries most affected by such malware were U.S., Australia (where ‘Barbie’ actor Margot Robbie is from), and Spain.

Meta sees revenue jump

Facebook, Instagram, Threads, and WhatsApp-parent Meta posted revenue that was higher than expected, in part due to the resurgence of online advertising. Meta earned $7.79 billion in total or $2.98 per share during the quarter, which was a 16% rise from its numbers a year earlier. Revenue also rose by 11% to $32 billion, when compared to $28.82 billion in the same quarter one year ago.

Meta laid off around 20,000 employees in the past year in an effort to make its operations more efficient, similar to other Big Tech rivals. It also launched the viral Threads app, a text-based social media platform for Instagram users, that many took to be a response to the embittered X (formerly Twitter). Meta is recording double-digit revenue growth for the first time since 2021.

AI giants create safety forum

OpenAI, Microsoft, Alphabet’s Google and Anthropic are launching the ‘Frontier Model Forum’ in order to ensure that AI products such as advanced machine learning models are developed safely and responsibly while remaining under the control of their creators. The forum will work with what it calls “frontier AI models,” or highly advanced technologies that are not yet available to the public. The group will not lobby for AI innovation, said an OpenAI spokesperson. Instead, the forum aims to work with policymakers, researchers, and academics worldwide to help bridge the AI information gap.

AI researchers such as Geoffrey Hinton have warned that the rapid evolution of AI technology is a serious threat to the world. He noted that not enough industry leaders were focusing on the safety side of AI innovation.

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