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Checklist 361: OS Updates and A.I. Presidents

January 26, 2024

This week discuss apple releasing major updates for a large range of devices. Meanwhile, AI-generated voices spreading fear and misinformation raise concerns during the election season.

Checklist 361: OS Updates and A.I. Presidents

Apple Rolls Out Comprehensive OS Updates Across Devices

In a significant move, Apple released a series of operating system updates this week, impacting various devices in its ecosystem. The updates include iOS and iPadOS 17.3, macOS Sonoma 14.3, watchOS 10.3, tvOS 17.3, and version 17.3 of the software for HomePod.

Key Highlights for iOS and iPadOS

  • Collaborative playlists now support emoji reactions, enhancing the user experience.
  • AirPlay hotel support enables travelers to stream content to compatible in-room devices.
  • A new Unity wallpaper is introduced in celebration of Black History Month for both iPad and iPhone.
  • AppleCare & Warranty in Settings now displays coverage for all devices linked to the user’s Apple ID.
  • Notably, Stolen Device Protection is introduced, requiring Face ID or Touch ID authentication for sensitive actions.

Stolen Device Protection Features

  • Face ID or Touch ID authentication needed for actions like viewing passwords, applying for an Apple Card, and more.
  • Security delay added for critical actions like changing the Apple ID password, requiring authentication after an hour.
  • No delay in familiar locations, such as home or work, enhancing user convenience.

Security Updates

  • iOS and iPadOS 17.3 include 15 security fixes, addressing vulnerabilities, including an actively exploited WebKit issue.
  • Additional security updates released for older operating systems, such as iOS and iPadOS 16.7.5 and 15.8.1.

macOS Sonoma 14.3

  • Collaborative playlists and AppleCare & Warranty in Settings features introduced.
  • 16 security fixes, including a WebKit vulnerability actively exploited, are addressed.
  • Updates for machines not on Sonoma, such as macOS Ventura 13.6.4 and macOS Monterey 12.7.3.

watchOS 10.3

  • Introduces Unity Bloom watch face for Black History Month.
  • Comes with improvements, bug fixes, and 12 security updates, excluding the actively exploited WebKit issue.

tvOS 17.3

  • Apple TV receives updates with tvOS 17.3, primarily focusing on security updates, addressing nine vulnerabilities, including the potentially exploited WebKit issue.

The updates across devices bring not only new features and improvements but also crucial security fixes, emphasizing Apple’s commitment to enhancing user experience and device security. Users are encouraged to apply these updates promptly to ensure optimal performance and protection against potential vulnerabilities.

Deepfake A.I. Voices Pose Threats to Political Landscape in Ongoing Election Season

In a dystopian turn of events, A.I.-generated voices are being used to spread fear and misinformation, impacting the ongoing election season. The use of deepfake technology in political contexts has raised concerns about its potential consequences.

A.I.-Generated Trump Warning Ad

  • Brian Krebs highlighted a disturbing YouTube ad featuring an A.I. voice mimicking Donald Trump, warning of imminent attacks and food supply destruction.
  • The ad, accompanied by visuals of empty grocery store shelves and patriotic imagery, aims to exploit fear for profit, directing viewers to a website selling meal rations.
  • The use of political intolerance and an A.I. soundalike of a former president raises ethical concerns about the misuse of technology.

A.I. Biden Impersonation Calls in New Hampshire

  • Voters in New Hampshire reported receiving phone calls seemingly from President Joe Biden, urging them not to vote in the state’s primary and to “save their vote” for the general election.
  • The calls, deepfaked to sound like Biden, were traced to the phone number of a former New Hampshire Democratic Party chair, adding a layer of sophistication to the deception.
  • The intention behind the deepfake calls appears to disrupt a potential write-in campaign for Biden, as he did not appear on the primary ballot.

Investigation and Response

  • The deepfake Biden calls prompted an investigation by the state attorney general’s office, considering it an attack on democracy.
  • The former Democratic Party chair, whose number was used, expressed ignorance about the perpetrators but hoped for legal repercussions.

Concerns and Reflection

  • The discussion raises questions about the ethical implications of A.I.-driven voice synthesis in political discourse.
  • While the Trump ad focuses on fear for financial gain, the Biden deepfake calls aim at discouraging voter participation, marking disturbing trends in the evolving landscape of political manipulation.
  • With the election season just beginning, the incidents underscore the challenges posed by advanced technologies and the need for robust safeguards against their misuse in the political arena.

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