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The Biggest Tech and Cyber security News This Week

Updated: Sep 20, 2023

The tech and cyber security landscapes continue to rapidly evolve. There were plenty of notable developments and stories this week that highlight the changes underway.

Major Tech Companies Announce Layoffs

Several major technology companies announced significant layoffs this week as part of cost-cutting measures. Amazon stated they will lay off approximately 10,000 employees across corporate and technology roles. CEO Andy Jassy cited the uncertain economy and the company previously over-hiring.

Meta, parent company of Facebook, also began laying off 11,000 employees. This represents over 13% of the company's global workforce. Meta has seen declining revenue and excess spending on plans for the metaverse. Other tech firms like Lyft, Stripe, and Cisco have similarly reduced staff in preparation for economic slowdown.

The wave of tech layoffs this week illustrates how even big tech is impacted by macroeconomic forces. Firms that over-expanded during the pandemic are now reducing headcounts to control costs.

Twitter Chaos Continues Under Musk

Elon Musk's tumultuous takeover of Twitter continued making headlines this week. Immediately after acquiring Twitter for $44 billion, Musk fired top executives including CEO Parag Agrawal and policy chief Vijaya Gadde. He also plans to lay off 25% of Twitter's workforce.

Musk has floated several ideas for changing Twitter, from verifying all users to charging for API access. However, advertisers are concerned about content moderation, and Twitter engineers are said to be overwhelmed by Musk's rapid changes. The ongoing turmoil at Twitter highlights the unpredictable nature of Musk's management.

New Cyberattacks Exploit Vulnerabilities

Several concerning new cyberattacks and malware campaigns were revealed this week, exploiting vulnerabilities in systems and devices.

Researchers found cybercriminals actively targeting unpatched VMware servers to install ransomware. Meanwhile, a massive botnet dubbed "MxZombie" has spread across Asia, Latin America and Africa. The botnet uses compromised home routers and IoT devices.

Experts also warn that hacking groups are exploiting a Windows RPC vulnerability patched by Microsoft in October. All organizations are advised to apply available security updates.

These incidents highlight the importance of patching and upgrading systems to mitigate risks. Cyber attackers are quick to take advantage of any vulnerability.

NASA Postpones Artemis I Launch

NASA was forced to postpone the highly anticipated launch of the Artemis I test flight to the Moon this week. The launch was scrubbed after teams detected an engine bleed issue. There were also concerns about the rocket lifting off during potential lightning storms.

This marks the second failed launch attempt for the mission. NASA is assessing and fixing issues with the Space Launch System rocket and Orion spacecraft. The unmanned Artemis I flight aims to pave the way for future crewed lunar missions through NASA's Artemis program. The launch is now delayed until at least mid-November.

AI Art Generators Spark Controversy

The rapid spread of AI image generators like DALL-E 2, Midjourney and Stable Diffusion stirred controversy this week regarding ethics and copyright. While these tools produce intricate artwork from text prompts, there are concerns about proper credit and compensating original artists whose work AI may be trained on.

DeviantArt banned AI art over plagiarism worries and big tech firms have restricted access to some models. The AI art debate highlights important questions around protecting creator rights and the role of automation in work and the arts. Guidelines and regulations will need to balance innovation and ethical AI use.

Cyber Monday Set New Sales Records

Cyber Monday e-commerce sales hit an all-time record of $11.3 billion this year in the U.S. according to Adobe Analytics. While economic uncertainty looms, retailers still saw large gains as consumers hunted deals online. Top-selling products included Legos, Hot Wheels, and PlayStation 5.

Many consumers have come to expect Cyber Monday as a major online shopping event, even compared to Black Friday. The data highlights the continued growth of e-commerce and shift toward online holiday shopping. Retailers with strong digital presence benefited the most this Cyber Monday.

FTX Collapse Sends Shockwaves

The bankruptcy filing of cryptocurrency exchange FTX sent shockwaves through the crypto industry this week. Customers raced to withdraw funds as suspicions arose about FTX’s financial health and dealings with affiliated trading firm Alameda Research. The saga raises concerns over volatility and lack of oversight in crypto markets.

FTX CEO Sam Bankman-Fried resigned after failing to raise emergency funds as investors and partners pulled out. Rival exchange Binance had offered to buy FTX days earlier but backed out after reviewing FTX’s books. The speed of FTX’s downfall underscores the fragility of trust in the largely unregulated crypto space.

Government Pushes Cybersecurity Regulations

U.S. government entities moved forward major cybersecurity policy and regulation initiatives this week. The Securities and Exchange Commission proposed new rules requiring public companies to disclose cybersecurity risks and incidents. This would increase transparency around cyber threats impacting investors.

Meanwhile, the House of Representatives passed two bipartisan cybersecurity bills - the National Computer Forensics Institute Reauthorization Act and the DHS Cyber Incident Response Teams Act. The bills aim to strengthen cybercrime training and DHS cyber response capabilities.

As high-profile hacks make headlines, the government is pushing to expand powers and mandates around cybersecurity. However, some business groups have pushed back against the cost and scope of new regulations.

OpenAI Launches ChatGPT for Public Testing

Artificial intelligence research company OpenAI introduced ChatGPT this week, an expansive natural language chatbot system. The publicly available ChatGPT can answer complex questions, explain topics conversationally, and perform other language tasks with impressive capabilities.

The launch drew excitement but also concerns about misuse of advanced generative AI. ChatGPT sometimes provides persuasive but incorrect or nonsensical information. OpenAI acknowledges limitations but views public testing as an opportunity to keep enhancing the technology responsibly.

ChatGPT demonstrates the rapid evolution of AI systems toward more generalized applications. Its potential uses span education, business, research and content creation. More advanced AI could significantly impact how humans interact with information.

That covers many of the notable developments in technology and cybersecurity this past week. The tech landscape continues to see upheaval across sectors. Layoffs at major companies, chaos at Twitter, AI ethics debates, government policy shifts and major cyber breaches marked an eventful several days that shape the future. We're sure to see more critical stories unfold in the coming week as well.

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