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Google CEO Secretly Met Pentagon Leaders Over AI Project

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Google CEO Secretly Met Pentagon Leaders Over AI Project - Reports

Sundar Pichai, the CEO of tech giant Google, held a tranquil meeting at the US Department of Defense (US Department of Defense) seeking to ease tensions with the authorities over the company’s planned withdrawal from the project on providing the Pentagon with artificial intelligence (AI) tools for analyzing drone footage, local media reported.

Pichai held talks with a group of civilian and military leaders from the office of the Under Secretary of Defense for Intelligence, which is in charge of overseeing the drone project, dubbed Project Maven, last week, the Washington Post newspaper reported on Friday, citing two people familiar with the meeting, speaking on the conditions of anonymity.

According to the outlet, a spokesperson for Google has not provided an immediate comment on the issue while a Pentagon spokesperson said the US Department of Defense did not comment on officials’ private meetings.

In June, the Gizmondo science news outlet reported that the high-tech company did not plot to renew its contract on Project Maven after it expires in 2019.

The reported decision followed the walk by over 3,000 Google employees to launch a petition asking Pichai to pull out of the project since Google should not be involved in the business of war. The withdrawal also provoked criticism by US congressmen.

In June, Pichai set unique strict ethical guidelines for the company which ban the exercise of AI technology in weapons.

Over the past years, various scientists, engineers, inventors, and human rights activists possess called for a ban on the development of Lethal Autonomous Weapons Systems (LAWS) technology and exercise of AI in weapons.

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Simulated Hackers Learned Passwords to US Weapons Systems in 9 Seconds

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Simulated Hackers Learned Passwords to US Weapons Systems in 9 Seconds

In a recent cybersecurity test aimed at determining the resiliency of major weapons systems developed by the Pentagon, “testers playing the role of adversary were able to purchase control of systems relatively easily and operate largely undetected,” according to a government watchdog.

In one case, the testers accessed systems by guessing administrator passwords in nine seconds.

The Government Accountability Office (GAO) found up-and-coming American weapons riddled with cybersecurity vulnerabilities in a current report published October 9. “In operational testing, US Department of Defense routinely found mission-critical cyber vulnerabilities in systems that were under development, yet program officials GAO met with believed their systems were secure and discounted some test results as unrealistic,” the watchdog said.

The significance of these cyber vulnerabilities is twofold. First, the Pentagon plans to spend $1.6 trillion on developing its existing stocks of major weapons systems, meaning any information lost could be extremely valuable, worth millions or billions of dollars.

Secondly, American weaponry is “more computerized and networked than ever before,” which ultimately increases the surface area that can be attacked by cyber adversaries. GAO noted that this was “no surprise.”

In one example, GAO showed a fictitious bomber aircraft that somewhat resembles a B-2 Stealth bomber to display how computerized some weapon systems are. The fictitious aircraft’s cyber-dependent systems are many: maintenance, industrial control, microelectronics, logistics, targeting, database, communications, collision avoidance, controller area network bus and identifying friends or foes.

Technologist Chris Garaffa explained to Sputnik News Thursday how GAO’s findings displayed the “frightening reality of the state of cybersecurity in the US military.”

“Despite having a nearly $700 billion budget, there are basic security measures being ignored that any system with even moderate security requirements would need to consider. These include air-gapped systems, which aren’t connected to the internet, [that] beget physical vulnerabilities that could let an attacker who gets close to the system infiltrate it,” Garaffa said.

“In other cases, default system passwords were so simple that ‘the test team was able to guess an administrator password in nine seconds,’ while also pointing out that attackers could beget timeframes of weeks or even months to figure out these same passwords undetected.”

According to the web developer, the Pentagon’s preferred method of buying weapon systems is share of the problem. The Department of Defense relies on contractors and vendors whose incentive is to minimize expenses and optimize profit, he noted.

“Cybersecurity appears to be one area where both the US Department of Defense has significant flaws in its requirements, and these companies enact not see the need to provide security as a basic feature. The report explicitly says that ‘… until recently, US Department of Defense did not prioritize cybersecurity in weapons systems acquisitions,'” Garaffa lamented.

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US-Built Helicopters for South Korea Turned Out to Their Faulty Radars

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US-built fire control radars on South Korean Army’s Apache helicopters own been unable to detect enemy targets due to glitches in the software and the absence of a naval detection capability, media reported.

Six of 36 of South Korea’s AH-64E helicopters, purchased through the US Foreign and Military Sales, were equipped with Lockheed Martin’s Longbow fire control radar, however, during air assault operational tests between last October to November the radar failed to detect the number of enemy targets, Defense News reported on Thursday citing South Korea’s Defense Acquisition Program Administration.

The radar, the report added, mistakenly recognized four designated targets for 101 targets and 18 for 9 when tested in mountainous regions. The radar also failed to detect any target during a test over water, the report said.

South Korean lawmakers Lee Jong-myung said in the report that the reason for acquiring the Boeing-built Apache helicopters was to detect and deter a potential infiltration by North Korea’s high-speed boats or hovercraft.

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