How 3 Million ‘Hacked’ Toothbrushes Became a Cyber Urban Legend

Documents exclusively obtained by WIRED reveal that AI surveillance software tracked thousands of people using the London Underground to detect crime or unsafe situations. The machine learning software scoured live CCTV footage to spot aggressive behavior, weapons being brandished, and people dodging fares. The documents also detail errors made during the trial—for instance, mistakenly identifying children walking with their parents as fare evaders.

Meanwhile, on Wednesday, cryptocurrency tracing firm Chainalysis published a report finding ransomware payments in 2023 reached over $1.1 billion, the highest annual total ever recorded. The record-breaking sum of extorted funds was due to two things: the high number of ransomware attacks and the amount of money that hackers were demanding from victims, many of whom were targeted specifically for their ability to pay and their inability to sustain a prolonged disruption of services.

A tech company, notorious for keeping websites with far-right and other extreme content online, was bought last year by a secretive company whose business is to help set up businesses, often in ways that keep details of those companies secret, WIRED reported on Thursday. Registered Agents Inc.’s acquisition of Epik may allow the shadowy company to provide its customers with another layer of anonymity.

For the past month, senior security reporter Matt Burgess has been transitioning away from using passwords to log in to his hundreds of online accounts. Instead, he’s using passkeys, a more secure form of authentication that uses generated codes stored on your device to log in to websites and apps using a biometric identifier like a fingerprint, face scan, or PIN. When it works, it’s seamless and secure. When it doesn’t, it’s a mess.

WhatsApp is developing a feature to allow its users to message across apps, all while maintaining its secure end-to-end encryption. In theory, the move would allow users to chat with people on WhatsApp using apps like Signal or Telegram. It’s unclear which companies, if any, will link their services with WhatsApp.

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