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Researchers And Army Join Hands to Protect the Military’s AI Systems


As an initiative to provide protection to the military's artificial intelligence systems from cyber-attacks, researchers from Delhi University and the Army have joined hands, as per a recent Army news release. 

As the Army increasingly utilizes AI frameworks to identify dangers, the Army Research Office is investing in more security. This move was a very calculated one in fact as it drew reference from the NYU supported CSAW HackML competition in 2019 where one of the many major goals was to develop such a software that would prevent cyber attackers from hacking into the facial and object recognition software the military uses to further train its AI.

MaryAnne Fields, program manager for the ARO's intelligent systems, said in a statement, "Object recognition is a key component of future intelligent systems, and the Army must safeguard these systems from cyber-attack. This work will lay the foundations for recognizing and mitigating backdoor attacks in which the data used to train the object recognition system is subtly altered to give incorrect answers."


This image demonstrates how an object, like the hat in this series of photos, can be used by a hacker to corrupt data training an AI system in facial and object recognition.

The news release clearly laid accentuation on a very few important facts like, “The hackers could create a trigger, like a hat or flower, to corrupt images being used to train the AI system and the system would then learn incorrect labels and create models that make the wrong predictions of what an image contains.” 

The winners of the HackML competition, Duke University researchers Yukan Yang and Ximing Qiao, created a program that can 'flag and discover potential triggers'. And later added in a news release, "To identify a backdoor trigger, you must essentially find out three unknown variables: which class the trigger was injected into, where the attacker placed the trigger and what the trigger looks like," 

And now the Army will only require a program that can 'neutralize the trigger', however, Qiao said it ought to be "simple:" they'll just need to retrain the AI model to ignore it. 

And lastly, the software's advancement is said to have been financed by a Short-Term Innovative Research that grants researchers up to $60,000 for their nine months of work.

Hackers Now Allowed to Find Flaws in US Fighter Jets and Security System


The Trusted Aircraft Information Download Station could have been shut down entirely due to a host of flaws discovered by hackers who were challenged to detect vulnerabilities in a system of a U.S military fighter jet known as F-15.

It was unprecedented in the history of the tech world that outside researchers were given physical access to such critical machinery, and were asked to detect vulnerabilities. It was a matter of two days for a group of 7 hackers to come up with a number of exploits which included bugs that were identified by the Air Force itself but they couldn't fix it, according to the Washington Post.

Hackers put the system through numerous attacks which included subjecting it to malware and testing with objects like screwdrivers and pliers, reported the DEF CON 27.

In the context of the vulnerabilities exploited by the hackers, Roper Technologies attributed, “decades of neglect of cybersecurity as a key issue in developing its products, as the Air Force prioritized time, cost and efficiency.”

Usually, outsiders were not allowed such access to military equipment which is highly sensitive in nature and their operation; it came as a massive change in how the military and technological world works in synchronization, the gravity of which can be gauged by the fact that hackers physically approached the machine with tools.

As per Roper, American Air Force is of the belief that if it doesn't allow America's best hackers to find every single vulnerability present in their weapons, machinery and fighter jets, then they are at the risk of being exploited by other adversaries like Iran, Russia and North Korea.




U.S. Cyber Military Forces Execute Retaliatory Cyber-attack Against Iran




In a retaliatory cyber-attack against Iran, U.S. cyber military forces cut down a database utilized by its Revolutionary Guard Corps to target ships in the Persian Gulf, just hours after 'the Islamic Republic shot down an American Drone'.

Right now, Iran still can't seem to recuperate the majority of the data lost in the attack and is attempting to re-establish military communication networks connected to the database.

As indicated by the Washington Post, the U.S President Donald Trump purportedly approved the U.S. Cyber Command's strike however the government has not openly recognized its occurrence.

A U.S. official who addressed the Washington Post additionally noted that the cyber-attack was intended to harm for Iran – however not to the degree that would further heighten pressures between the two sides.

Elissa Smith, a Pentagon spokesperson said in a statement, “As a matter of policy and for operational security, we do not discuss cyberspace operations, intelligence, or planning.”

In spite of the attack, the Islamic Republic has stayed rather active in the Strait of Hormuz, holding onto the English oil tanker Stena Impero in mid-July.

Recently discovered Fox News, it happened in June that Iran shut off a portion of its military radar sites around the time the U.S. was ready to dispatch retaliatory strikes, thusly it’s not clear if those radar sites were killed by cyber-attacks or if Iran shut them off intentionally fully expecting them.

In any case these strikes are not first major operations executed by the U.S. Cyber Command, as the organization a year ago had disrupted a Russian entity's endeavours to utilize Internet trolls to cultivate discontent among American voters during the 2018 midterm elections.