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cyber security

A fresh Android malware threat named ‘Xamalicious’ has emerged, affecting around 338,300 devices through malicious apps found on the Google Play Store. Researchers from McAfee discovered the malware in 14 apps, with three of them accumulating over 100,000 installs each before removal from the Play Store. Although removed from the store, users who inadvertently installed these apps since mid-2020 may still have active infections on their devices and are urged to delete them immediately.

The affected apps include:

Essential Horoscope for Android (100,000 installs)

3D Skin Editor for PE Minecraft (100,000 installs)

Logo Maker Pro (100,000 installs)

Auto Click Repeater (10,000 installs)

Count Easy Calorie Calculator (10,000 installs)

Dots: One Line Connector (10,000 installs)

Sound Volume Extender (5,000 installs)

In addition to the Play Store, another set of 12 malicious apps carrying the Xamalicious threat circulates on unauthorized third-party app stores, affecting users through APK file downloads.

Xamalicious, categorized as an Android backdoor, stands out for being.NET framework-based and integrated into apps developed using the open-source Xamarin framework. This uniqueness poses challenges for cybersecurity experts analyzing its code. Upon installation, Xamalicious requests access to the Accessibility Service, enabling it to perform privileged operations such as executing navigation gestures, hiding on-screen elements, and obtaining additional permissions.

Post-installation, the malware communicates with a Command and Control (C2) server to retrieve the second-stage DLL payload (‘cache.bin’). This retrieval depends on specific criteria, including geographical location, network conditions, device configuration, and root status.

Android users are strongly advised to check their devices for potential Xamalicious infections, even after uninstalling the implicated apps. Utilizing a reliable antivirus software for manual clean-up and conducting regular device scans is recommended to ensure protection against such malware threats.

Note: Users are encouraged to be cautious and vigilant when downloading apps, even from official stores, and consider employing security measures to safeguard their devices.

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Fostering responsible artificial intelligence (AI) development globally, Prime Minister Narendra Modi inaugurated the Global Partnership on Artificial Intelligence (GPAI) Summit. Modi emphasized the need for a transparent and trusted AI framework, urging diplomats, ministers, and industry participants to proceed with caution and safety.

Global Call for Responsible AI:

Addressing a diverse audience, Modi highlighted the importance of a global framework for the responsible development of AI technologies. He expressed concerns about potential AI misuse through deepfakes, data theft, and by terrorists, urging for a cautious approach to ensure the evidence-based delivery of public services.

Transparent and Inclusive AI:

Modi stressed the importance of making AI systems transparent, transformative, and free from bias. He emphasized the need to convince people worldwide that AI is for their benefit and future, ensuring that no one is left behind. Transparency, according to Modi, is the key to building trust in AI technology.

GPAI’s Role and India’s Leadership:

The GPAI, comprising 28 nations and the European Union, collaborates to understand AI challenges and opportunities while promoting its responsible evolution. India, having assumed the GPAI chair for 2024, plays a crucial role in steering the global conversation on AI development.

Time-Bound Global Framework:

Modi called for the formulation of a global framework for AI within a specified timeframe, akin to international treaties and protocols. Urging prompt action, he emphasized completing the global framework within the year, considering AI as not just a technology but a worldwide movement that requires collective effort.

Inclusive AI Development:

Modi advocated for the inclusivity of AI development, emphasizing the importance of all ideas and participation from the Global South. He underscored the need to avoid exacerbating existing global inequalities, ensuring that AI development aligns with human values and democratic principles.

AI’s Potential in Various Sectors:

The summit also delved into the potential applications of AI in sectors such as agriculture, personalized education, and healthcare. Modi and other ministers highlighted how AI could enhance efficiency while maintaining ethical considerations and preserving space for emotions.

Addressing Challenges:

Deepfakes, data security, and the potential misuse of AI by terrorist groups were acknowledged as significant challenges. Modi called for discussions on preventing AI misuse and increasing the credibility of AI-generated information. The need for a risk and harm-based approach to AI regulation, with standardized testing procedures, was also emphasized.

Looking Ahead:

As the summit progresses, the global community awaits the outcomes and consensus on AI regulation. Modi’s call for transparent, inclusive, and responsible AI development sets the stage for a collaborative effort to harness the benefits of AI while mitigating potential risks. The world watches as leaders navigate the evolving landscape of AI technology.

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Cracking Down on Deepfakes: What You Need to Know

Introduction: India is set to tackle the growing problem of AI-generated deepfakes and misinformation. New regulations are in the works, targeting both creators and the platforms spreading harmful content. Here’s a breakdown of the key points.

Why the Crackdown?

Deepfakes, created using artificial intelligence, pose a threat to trust in society and its institutions. The government wants to act fast to protect democracy from the damaging effects of false information.

Financial Penalties on the Horizon:

The new rules could mean fines for the people creating deepfakes and the social media platforms hosting them. The goal is to hold both individuals and platforms accountable for spreading misleading content.

Urgent Measures Needed:

Social media platforms need to act quickly because the harm caused by deepfakes is immediate. The government and tech industry are joining forces to find ways to detect, prevent, and report within the next 10 days.

Meeting with Tech Giants:

Representatives from major tech companies like Meta, Google, and Amazon met with the government to share their thoughts on handling deepfake content. The discussions focused on detecting, preventing, reporting, and raising awareness about deepfakes.

Drafting the Rules:

The government plans to discuss a draft of the new rules in the first week of December. After that, they will ask the public for their opinions before finalizing the regulations.

No Safe Harbor Without Swift Action:

Platforms won’t get the usual ‘safe harbor’ protection unless they act quickly against deepfake content. This means they need to take strong and fast measures to avoid penalties.

Concerns Raised:

Notices were sent to social media platforms last week due to worries about deepfake content. Even top figures like Prime Minister Narendra Modi and actor Katrina Kaif have been targeted by deepfake videos.

Positive Industry Response:

Companies are mostly supportive of the new regulations. They agree that while rules against misinformation exist, the focus now needs to be on identifying and penalizing those who create deepfakes.

Looking Ahead:

As the government moves forward, it aims to strike a balance between regulation and ensuring compliance. The challenge lies in catching the small percentage of users who create harmful deepfakes.

This effort to control deepfakes is crucial for maintaining trust and protecting democracy in the age of rapid information spread on social media

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