At a glance.
- QuaDream says goodnight.
- Data breach at US bank.
- Can ChatGPT replace the psychologist's couch?
- New England healthcare organization investigates cyber incident.
QuaDream says goodnight.
Israeli spyware maker QuaDream, named last week as the purveyor of a hacking tool used by governments to spy on journalists, dissidents, and advocacy groups, is shutting down. The closure is reportedly due to financial troubles, but as the Register notes, recent scrutiny of the spyware industry, kicked off by scandal implicating QuaDream’s competitor NSO Group, might have also played a role. Microsoft and the University of Toronto’s Citizen Lab last week reported that a zero-click exploit (dubbed “Reign’) developed by QuaDream had delivered spyware to the devices of surveillance targets via a calendar app. But according to Israeli news outlet the Calcalist, QuaDream was in financial trouble for months before news of Reign hit headlines. The company's board of directors has reportedly been trying to sell QuaDream's intellectual property, and the staff had dwindled to just a handful of employees over recent months.
Data breach at US bank.
Webster Bank, located in the US state of Connecticut, has disclosed a data breach that resulted in the publication of the data of over 150,000 customers. In January Webster Bank learned that Guardian Analytics, a third-party vendor that provides fraud detection services to the bank, had experienced a “data security incident.” The subsequent investigation revealed that “unauthorized third parties acquired files that contained Webster clients’ personal information from Guardian’s systems and later posted the acquired files on the internet,” Webster Bank explained in a letter submitted to the Massachusetts Office of Consumer Affairs and Business Regulations. CT Insider reports that the compromised data include names, account numbers, and for a portion of victims, Social Security numbers. The bank issued a statement yesterday confirming that none of the bank’s internal systems had been breached and that regulators and impacted customers had been notified.
Can ChatGPT replace the psychologist’s couch?
Sure, it’s hard to find a therapist that accepts health insurance, but perhaps this is taking things too far. Bloomberg reports that individuals seeking help addressing mental health issues are turning to an unlikely source: ChatGPT. Recent reports have shown that users have been using the artificial intelligence-powered chatbot to solve all sorts of problems, from making restaurant reservations to writing software code. And now several individuals have confessed they’ve been using ChatGPT as their robo-therapist. When US paralegal Milo Van Slyck was unable to make an appointment with is usual counselor, he said he found it easy to share his deeply personal issues with the chatbot, and in return the Large Language Model gave him advice that, on the surface, could have come from a trained mental health clinician. Bonus: a chatbot has completely flexible appointment hours and much better rates. Developers have actually already created chatbots, like Woebot and Wysa, that focus on mental health counseling, but of course there are drawbacks. Stephen Ilardi, a clinical psychologist and professor at the University of Kansas, says that in this capacity ChatGPT is little more than a parlor trick. “If somebody has a serious mental illness, this thing is not ready to replace a mental health professional,” Ilardi says. “The risk is too high.” ChatGPT maker OpenAI’s policies already state, that users should “never use our models to provide diagnostic or treatment services for serious medical conditions.” Margaret Mitchell, Chief ethics scientist at AI-molding company Hugging Face, says that while chatbots could be used to assist counselors at call centers, the tech can never truly have the nuance needed to respond to human emotion. As well, she notes, AI platforms use user-supplied content to train the tech, meaning these highly personal conversations could become public.
New England healthcare organization investigates cyber incident.
Point32Health, a not-for-profit health services organization active mostly in Massachusetts and Connecticut, has disclosed that it discovered a ransomware attack on some of its systems this week. "On April 17, Point32Health identified a cybersecurity ransomware incident that impacted systems we use to service members, accounts, brokers and providers," the company said in its statement. "At this time, most systems impacted are on the Harvard Pilgrim Health Care side of our business. After detecting the unauthorized party, and out of an abundance of caution, we proactively took certain systems offline to contain the threat. We have notified law enforcement and regulators, and are working with third-party cybersecurity experts to conduct a thorough investigation into this incident and remediate the situation."
Roy Akerman, Co-Founder & CEO of Rezonate wrote to set the ransomware attack in context. Healthcare organizations have for some time proven attractive targets for this kind of crime:
“Attackers continue to target Health Care businesses mainly for two reasons: the first, the criticality of restoring business operation is of first degree. It has direct impact on life saving operations and critical telemetry both doctors and patients are in need. Second, Health Care PII (personal Identifiable Information) is of high-demand in malicious forums and dark web. While a compromised credit card goes on sale for $1.99, an unreplaceable “human print” remains the highest cost, and respectively value, for the attacker to use and compromise.
“Together, alongside a distributed and dynamic infrastructure as we usually encounter with Health Care providers, protecting the infrastructure and at the same time being ready to react fast remains a challenge.
“While info about the initial access techniques into how the attacker was able to deploy the ransomware and propagate across the network, methods have not changed, and we believe that the same common techniques as seen recently used by leading ransomware groups will be similar here as well.”