Archive for January 31, 2020

A Drug Molecule "Invented" By Artificial Intelligence (AI) To Be


Created by British start-up Exscientia and Japanese pharmaceutical firm Sumitomo Dainippon Pharma a drug molecule “artificial" by artificial intelligence (AI) will be utilized in human trails in a world-first for machine learning in the field of medicine.

Especially to be put to the use of treating patients who have obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD), Exscienta CEO Prof Andrew Hopkins even describes it as a "key milestone in drug discovery".

The molecule- known as DSP-1181 - was made by utilizing algorithms that filtered through potential compounds, checking them against an enormous database of parameters. Normally, drug development takes around five years to finally 'get to trail', but surprisingly enough the AI drug took only a year.

Hopkins told the BBC: "We have seen AI for diagnosing patients and for analyzing patient data and scans, but this is the direct use of AI in the creation of new medicine. There are billions of decisions needed to find the right molecules and it is a huge decision to precise engineer a drug, but the beauty of the algorithm is that they are agnostic, so can be applied to any disease,"

The first drug will enter stage one trails in Japan which, if effective, will be then followed by more tests globally.
The firm is now dealing with potential medications for the treatment of cancer and cardiovascular disease and would like to have another molecule prepared for clinical trials before the year's end.

"This year was the first to have an AI-designed drug but by the end of the decade all new drugs could potentially be created by AI," said Prof Hopkins.

Paul Workman, chief executive of The Institute of Cancer Research, who was not involved in the research, said of the breakthrough: "I think AI has huge potential to enhance and accelerate drug discovery.

And later adds, "I'm excited to see what I believe is the first example of a new drug now entering human clinical trials that were created by scientists using AI in a major way to guide and speed up discovery."

Apple Engineers to Standardize the Format of the SMS Messages Containing OTPs


A proposal comes from Apple engineers working at WebKit, the core component of the Safari web browser, to institutionalize the format of the SMS messages containing one-time passwords (OTP) that users receive during the two-factor authentication (2FA) login process.

 With 2 basic goals, the proposal aims initially is to introduce a way that OTP SMS messages can be associated with a URL, which is essentially done by adding the login URL inside the SMS itself.

And the second being to institutionalize the format of 2FA/OTP SMS messages, so browsers and other mobile applications can undoubtedly distinguish the approaching SMS, perceive web domain inside the message, and afterward consequently extract the OTP code and complete the login operation moving forward without any further user interaction.

According to the new proposal, the new SMS format for OTP codes would look like below:

747723 is your WEBSITE authentication code. 
@website.com #747723 

The first line, intended for human users, permits them to decide from what site the SMS OTP code originated from and the second line is for both human users as well as for applications and browsers.

 Applications and browsers will consequently extricate the OTP code and complete the 2FA login operation. In the event that there's a 'mismatch' and the auto-complete operation falls flat, human readers will have the option to see the site's original URL, and contrast it with the site they're attempting to login.

On the off chance that the two are not similar, at that point, users will be alerted that they're very a phishing site and forsake their login activity.

When browsers will deliver components for reading SMS OTP codes in the new format, significant providers of SMS OTP codes are required to switch to utilizing it. Starting now, Twilio has already communicated its enthusiasm for actualizing the new arrangement for its SMS OTP administrations. 

Presently, while Apple (WebKit) and Google (Chromium) engineers are quite energetic about the proposition, Mozilla (Firefox) has not yet given an official criticism on the standard yet.

Facebook to give $550 Million as a Settlement in a Lawsuit


Social Media giant Facebook is to pay an amount of $550 million as a settlement in what appears to be another series of lawsuits, and this time, it is a Facial Recognition issue. The lawsuit is not good for the brand perception of Facebook as it puts further questions to the credibility of the privacy laws of the social networking site.


"Facebook has agreed to pay a settlement of $550 million related to a claim filed for FB's facial recognition technique," said Facebook this Wednesday. The incident that appeared in Illinois is said to be a great triumph for privacy organizations as it raises the question of privacy laws of the company Facebook which is already among the controversies of data laws. The issue emerged from FB's image labeling technique named 'Tag Suggestions,' which uses facial recognition techniques to suggest the name of users present in the photo.

The company that has filed lawsuit accused Facebook of collecting the facial data of the company's employees that violate Ilionis Biometric Privacy law. It accuses Fb of storing data of millions of users for Tag suggestions without the knowledge of the company's employees and also without them knowing how long the data will be kept. Facebook has dismissed the allegations saying it has no basis of proof. As per the settlement, FB has to pay $550 Million as legal fees to the affected users of the Illinois company. This payment even surpasses the $380 Million amount that the reporting agency 'Equifax' had agreed to pay for the settlement of a 2017 consumer data breach incident.

"Facebook agreed to settle the case by giving back what was rightful to the community and in the goodwill of public interest, as it affects our stakeholders," says FB's spokesperson. "The settlement highlighted the importance of user privacy and security," says lawyer Joey Edelson, whose firm addressed the issue on behalf of the affected users of Facial Recognition suit. He further says, "people worried about issues related to gun rights concerning women safety or people who like to participate in societal issues by not disclosing their identity hold the same importance and we should respect their privacy."

Hacked! SCPI Protocol Vulnerabilty; Measurement Instruments Could be Hacked!


A leading cyber-security firm recently alerted all the netizens about a vulnerability discovered in the measurement tools that support the Standard Commands for Programmable Instruments (SCPI) protocol, mentioned reports.

According to sources, SCPI is an ASCII-based standard especially crafted out for the purposes of testing and measurement machines that came into existence in 1990.

SCPI still happens to be used quite a lot given its easy and user-friendly interface and the inclusion of commands that could help alter any setting on the devices.

In recent times, most of the measurement devices are connected to networks and in some cases even to the internet. Hence, SCPI’s holding no authentication mechanism is a matter of risk and insecurity for all its users.

Per sources, when one of the major cyber-security research firms ran analytic research on SCPI they uncovered all the devices that use it and therefore are vulnerable to cyber-crime.

Per reports, the aforementioned measurement devices encompass of multimeters, signal analyzers, oscilloscopes, data acquisition systems, and waveform generators.

The researchers carried forward their analysis on different brands and different products of the same type and came across the fact that all the vendors’ products could be equally susceptible to cyber-attacks of similar nature if they used SCPI.

A multimeter was analyzed by the researcher wherein they found that its web and other interfaces were quite easily available and were very easy to get to as they were neither password-protected nor had any security functions by default.

Therefore, any cyber-attack that even a basic attacker plans could have a high possibility of success as the “configuration panel” could be very easily accessed and the password could be changed to anything in accordance with the attacker’s whims.

And as if all this wasn’t enough, the attacker could actually configure the measurement instruments to cause physical harm to people. The devices could be set to show illogical and unsystematic text any number of times, as well.

Per sources, the memory of the measurement instruments could be written for a definite number of times but incessant writing could lead to the devices’ physical distortion which couldn’t be reversed without changing the parts.

The power supply units of the devices could also be easy targets for attackers, according to sources, and could trigger DoS leading to physical corruption of the device.

Pavel Durov again warned about the danger of using WhatsApp


Pavel Durov claims that the hacking of the iPhone of Jeff Bezos, the richest man in the world, occurred due to vulnerabilities in WhatsApp. Facebook which owns the messenger insists that the leak is related to the Apple device itself.

The reason for the leak of personal photos and correspondence of the founder of Amazon and the richest man in the world, Jeff Bezos, is a vulnerability in the encryption system of WhatsApp, not problems with Apple gadgets. Telegram founder Pavel Durov wrote about this in his Telegram channel.

This is how he reacted to an interview with Vice President of Facebook's Global Policy Department Nick Clegg, who said that Bezos confidential data leak was due to the iPhone. "We are confident that end-to-end encryption technology cannot be hacked," he said.

Durov recalled that a few months ago he talked about the vulnerabilities of WhatsApp, which, in his opinion, eventually led to the hacking of Bezos smartphone. At the same time, Facebook then assured that there is no evidence that attackers used this vulnerability. According to the founder of Telegram, the backdoor in WhatsApp allowed access to personal messages and photos of the richest man in the world.

Durov explained that the vulnerability used during the hacking of Bezos phone existed not only on iOS, but also on smartphones with Android and Windows. In addition, it is not available in other messengers.

Durov also accused WhatsApp management of using the phrase "end-to-end encryption" as a "magic spell" that automatically makes correspondence secure. He pointed out that the technology itself does not guarantee complete privacy. For example, WhatsApp developers may intentionally leave vulnerabilities in the app at the request of security forces from different countries. As a result, WhatsApp has no problems with the authorities, and Telegram is banned in some countries like Russia and Iran.