Wednesday Newsbytes:  Microsoft Rolls Out Patches for 73 Flaws; Google Uses AI to Detect Fake Reviews; DuckDuckGo Gets Encrypted Sync Feature… and more!

By | February 14, 2024
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Wednesday Newsbytes:  Microsoft Rolls Out Patches for 73 Flaws; Google Uses AI to Detect Fake Reviews; DuckDuckGo Gets Encrypted Sync Feature… and more!

Every day we scan the tech world for interesting news in the world of technology and sometimes from outside the world of technology. Every Wednesday, we feature news articles that grabbed our attention over the past week. We hope you find this week’s  ‘Wednesday Newsbytes’ informative and interesting!

Microsoft Rolls Out Patches for 73 Flaws, Including 2 Windows Zero-Days

Microsoft has released patches to address 73 security flaws spanning its software lineup as part of its Patch Tuesday updates for February 2024, including two zero-days that have come under active exploitation.

Of the 73 vulnerabilities, 5 are rated Critical, 65 are rated Important, and three and rated Moderate in severity. This is in addition to 24 flaws that have been fixed in the Chromium-based Edge browser since the release of the January 24 Patch Tuesday updates.

The two flaws that are listed as under active attack at the time of release are below –

CVE-2024-21351 (CVSS score: 7.6) – Windows SmartScreen Security Feature Bypass Vulnerability
CVE-2024-21412 (CVSS score: 8.1) – Internet Shortcut Files Security Feature Bypass Vulnerability

“The vulnerability allows a malicious actor to inject code into SmartScreen and potentially gain code execution, which could potentially lead to some data exposure, lack of system availability, or both,” Microsoft said about CVE-2024-21351.

Successful exploitation of the flaw could allow an attacker to circumvent SmartScreen protections and run arbitrary code…

Read more at The Hacker News.

Google Uses AI To Detect Fake Online Reviews Faster

Google blocks over 170 million fake reviews, uses AI-powered algorithm to protect businesses’ reputations.

Google is harnessing new AI technology to block a surge of fake online reviews that mislead customers and harm local businesses.

The company stopped over 170 million fake reviews in 2023 – a 45% increase over the previous year.

The crackdown provides welcome relief for local business owners who have struggled with fraudulent reviews that damage their reputations on Google Maps and Search.

In a blog post, Google discusses how its algorithms now analyze patterns over time to identify suspicious review activity quickly. This includes spotting identical reviews copied across business pages or sudden spikes of 1-star and 5-star ratings.

A Year Of More Honest Reviews

In 2023, Google received approximately 20 million daily updates to local business information, including details such as business hours and customer reviews.

To maintain data integrity amidst this high volume of incoming data, Google implemented a new algorithm to rapidly identify and remove misleading or deceptive information…

Read more at Search Engine Journal.

DuckDuckGo browser gets end-to-end encrypted sync feature

The DuckDuckGo browser has unveiled a new end-to-end encrypted Sync & Backup feature that lets users privately and securely synchronize their bookmarks, passwords, and Email Protection settings across multiple devices.

The new Sync & Backup feature doesn’t require users to have an account or sign in to their existing accounts to use it, and as it is end-to-end encrypted, it ensures that DuckDuckGo never has access to any of the transferred data.

The new feature is available on the latest version of the DuckDuckGo browser for Windows, macOS, iOS, and Android, so syncing can only work between devices running these operating systems.

DuckDuckGo browser is a privacy-centric web browser with multiple privacy protection and tracker blocking mechanisms that ensure protection against user profiling and de-anonymization.

Its highlight features include automatic HTTPS upgrading, auto-hiding of cookie consent pop-ups, a “Fire” button that erases all browsing history at once, a built-in YouTube player that allows trackless viewing, and a built-in email forwarding solution that removes advertising and profiling trackers from incoming messages…

Read more at Bleeping Computer.

New Windows 11 update makes a small but important tweak to Copilot and fixes some nasty bugs

Microsoft repositions Copilot button to a more sensible place

Windows 11 just got a new cumulative update that applies a bunch of security fixes, and makes a small number of changes to the OS, although they include some important tweaks.

The most interesting change here is that Microsoft has decided to give the Copilot button a new home on the taskbar.

As previously seen in testing with Windows 11, the icon to invoke the AI assistant is now on the far right of the taskbar, in the system tray area.

Patch KB5034765, which is for both Windows 11 23H2 and 22H2 versions, also applies an important fix for Explorer.exe which is affecting some PCs. This bug can happen when restarting a PC that has a game controller attached, and means that Explorer.exe stops responding – basically, the desktop (File Explorer) locks up, which is obviously bad news.

Microsoft also let us know that a bug that meant announcements…

Read more at TechRadar.

AI Showdown: ChatGPT Vs. Google’s Gemini – Which Reigns Supreme?

This month, Google unveiled its latest attempt to dethrone ChatGPT from the position it’s held since it launched as king of the generative AI chatbots.

Bard – now renamed Gemini–was released in early 2023 following OpenAI’s groundbreaking LLM-powered chat interface. And to be honest, it’s often seemed as if it’s been playing catch-up.

Bard was capable of accessing the internet from day one thanks to its integration with Google’s search technology. Meanwhile, the launch version of ChatGPT was confined to the knowledge it was fed during their training.

But OpenAI soon added connectivity and the ability to access external information to ChatGPT via a hookup with Microsoft’s Bing. And connectivity aside, the consensus has always tended to be that ChatGPT is just more useful for a wider range of language processing tasks.

Now Google is pulling out the stops, rebranding Bard with the name of the language model that’s doing the work behind the scenes, and allowing access to its Advanced service via a subscription, priced to compete head-on with ChatGPT.

So, is it ready to step into the ring and go toe-to-toe with the undisputed champion? Here, I’ll give an overview of both platforms…

Read more at Forbes.

Thanks for reading this week’s Wednesday Newbytes. We hope these articles were informative, interesting, fun, and helpful. Darcy & TC

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