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More than a decade ago, the co-founder of Google's DeepMind artificial intelligence lab predicted that by 2028, AI will have a half-and-half shot of being about as smart as humans — and now, he's holding firm on that forecast. In an interview with tech podcaster Dwarkesh Patel, DeepMind co-founder Shane Legg said that he still thinks that researchers have a 50-50 chance of achieving artificial general intelligence (AGI), a stance he publicly announced at the very end of 2011 on his blog. It's a notable prediction considering the exponentially growing interest in the space. OpenAI CEO Sam Altman has long advocated for an AGI, a hypothetical agent that is capable of accomplishing intellectual tasks as well as a human, that can be of benefit to all. But whether we'll ever be able to get to that point — let alone agree on one definition of AGI — remains to be seen. Legg apparently began looking towards his 2028 goalpost all the way back in 2001 after reading "The Age of Spiritual Machines," the groundbreaking 1999 book by fellow Google AI luminary Ray Kurzweil that predicts a future of superhuman AIs. "There were two really important points in his book that I came to believe as true," he explained. "One is that computational power would grow exponentially for at least a few decades. And that the quantity of data in the world would grow exponentially for a few decades." Paired with an understanding of the trends of the era, such as the deep learning method of teaching algorithms to "think" and process data the way human brains do, Legg wrote back at the start of the last decade that in the coming ones, AGI could well be achieved — so long as "nothing crazy happens like a nuclear war." Today, the DeepMind co-founder said that there are caveats to his prediction that the AGI era will be upon us by the end of this decade. The first, broadly, is that definitions of AGI are reliant on definitions of human intelligence  — and that kind of thing is difficult to test precisely because the way we think is complicated. "You'll never have a complete set of everything that people can do," Legg said — things like developing episodic memory, or the ability to recall complete "episodes" that happened in the past, or even understanding streaming video. But if researchers could assemble a battery of tests for human intelligence and an AI model were to perform well enough against them, he continued, then "you have an AGI." When Patel asked if there could be a single simple test to see whether an AI system had reached general intelligence, such as beating Minecraft, Legg pushed back. "There is no one thing that would do it, because I think that's the nature of it," the AGI expert said. "It's about general intelligence. So I'd have to make sure [an AI system] could do lots and lots of different things and it didn't have a gap.""Get better informed by visiting OUR FORUM.

A longer password is more secure. It's just common sense, right? Increasing the length of a password means there are more combinations available. That in turn means a brute force attack, in which someone uses an automated system to try every combination in an effort to crack the code, will take longer. Security experts generally agree that a password of eight characters is too easy to crack with the help of readily available hardware like the GPU in a gaming PC. Using an Nvidia RTX 4090, for example, Hive Systems calculated that it would take less than an hour to blast through every possible 8-character combination of letters (capital and lowercase) and numbers and symbols. That's twice as fast as a mainstream graphics card from two years ago, in yet another example of Moore's Law in action. So, if eight characters is too short, how long is long enough? Is there a magic number? Security experts don't agree on the exact number, I discovered in a review of published recommendations from a wide range of sources. But they have reached a broad consensus: At least 12 characters, but more is better. And maybe a passphrase consisting of four or more random words is best of all. Every expert we surveyed agreed that increasing the length of a password is much more important than adding complexity requirements, such as mandating the use of numbers, letters, and symbols. But even more important is ensuring that the password is truly random. Add all that together and you get a measurement called entropy, which measures the difficulty of guessing a password. An attacker who can make educated guesses is likely to make short work of breaking a low-entropy password based on your dog's name and the year you were born; a truly random password assigned by a password manager is much more of a challenge. But how long? In an article at the Infosec Institute website, Daniel Brecht examines "Password security: Complexity vs. length," and makes a case for 12 characters being a good starting point: That's not just a random recommendation, either. Bitwarden's advice is derived from a National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) publication, NIST SP 800-63B - Digital Identity Guidelines, which notes, "Users should be encouraged to make their passwords as lengthy as they want, within reason. Since the size of a hashed password is independent of its length, there is no reason not to permit the use of lengthy passwords (or pass phrases) if the user wishes." Meanwhile, rival 1Password has a similar take in their blog post, which confidently asserts, "This is how long your passwords should be": "1Password's default generated password length is 19 or 20 characters, depending on the version. But that's actually overkill! When a password is properly generated, 11–15 characters will provide more than enough protection for the everyday user." The folks at NordPass tackle the question with math, concluding that "ideally you'll want [a secure password] to be a minimum of 12 characters. … If you really want to future-proof yourself, 16 characters is truly the best and most realistic length you'll likely be able to rely on, but more is even better." In fact, that broad consensus has made it to Windows, where a Microsoft Support article "Create and use strong passwords" includes these basic password recommendations: The privacy-focused folks at Proton (makers of Proton Mail) argue that a password composed of 15 characters generated randomly by a password manager should be "out of reach of modern computing capabilities." Or maybe you shouldn't use a password at all, they conclude: "If you want to [url=][color=blue]create a strong password[/color][/url] using a series of words (a 'passphrase'), most info security firms recommend using at least four words that aren't very common. As more people switch to passphrases, however, hackers will get better at cracking them." Maybe you shouldn't worry about how many letters are in your password. Maybe the real question is how many words are in your passphrase. Just don't use "correct horse battery staple." That one's been taken. Follow this and more on OUR FORUM.

When you buy a TV streaming box, there are certain things you wouldn’t expect it to do. It shouldn’t secretly be laced with malware or start communicating with servers in China when it’s powered up. It definitely should not be acting as a node in an organized crime scheme making millions of dollars through fraud. However, that’s been the reality for thousands of unknowing people who own cheap Android TV devices. In January, security researcher Daniel Milisic discovered that a cheap Android TV streaming box called the T95 was infected with malware right out of the box, with multiple other researchers confirming the findings. But it was just the tip of the iceberg. This week, cybersecurity firm Human Security is revealing new details about the scope of the infected devices and the hidden, interconnected web of fraud schemes linked to the streaming boxes. Human Security researchers found seven Android TV boxes and one tablet with the backdoors installed, and they’ve seen signs of 200 different models of Android devices that may be impacted, according to a report shared exclusively with WIRED. The devices are in homes, businesses, and schools across the US. Meanwhile, Human Security says it has also taken down advertising fraud linked to the scheme, which likely helped pay for the operation. “They’re like a Swiss Army knife of doing bad things on the Internet,” says Gavin Reid, the CISO at Human Security who leads the company’s Satori Threat Intelligence and Research team. “This is a truly distributed way of doing fraud.” Reid says the company has shared details of facilities where the devices may have been manufactured with law enforcement agencies. Human Security’s research is divided into two areas: Badbox, which involves the compromised Android devices and the ways they are involved in fraud and cybercrime. And the second, dubbed Peachpit, is a related ad fraud operation involving at least 39 Android and iOS apps. Google says it has removed the apps following Human Security’s research, while Apple says it has found issues in several of the apps reported to it. First, Badbox. Cheap Android streaming boxes, usually costing less than $50, are sold online and in brick-and-mortar shops. These set-top boxes often are unbranded or sold under different names, partly obscuring their source. In the second half of 2022, Human Security says in its report, its researchers spotted an Android app that appeared to be linked to inauthentic traffic and connected to the domain When Milisic posted his initial findings about the T95 Android box in January, the research also pointed to the flyermobi domain. The team at Human purchased the box and multiple others, and started diving in. In total the researchers confirmed eight devices with backdoors installed—seven TV boxes, the T95, T95Z, T95MAX, X88, Q9, X12PLUS, and MXQ Pro 5G, and a tablet J5-W. (Some of these have also been identified by other security researchers looking into the issue in recent months). The company’s report, which has data scientist Marion Habiby as its lead author, says Human Security spotted at least 74,000 Android devices showing signs of a Badbox infection around the world—including some in schools across the US. More details available on OUR FORUM.