ChatGPT DAN Jailbreak, Apptronik’s Apollo Robot, Dell Tech Layoffs, VMWare Hack

Dell Technologies Inc. (DELL.N) has announced that it is cutting 6,650 jobs, or 5% of its global workforce, due to a decline in the personal computer market and concerns of a potential recession. This follows other major U.S. companies, such as Alphabet Inc. (GOOGL.O) and Goldman Sachs Group Inc. (GS.N), that have laid off thousands this year in order to stay afloat. Dell had already implemented cost-cutting measures such as hiring freezes and travel restrictions, but they were no longer enough. The tech firm is expecting to record the costs associated with the layoffs in its fiscal fourth quarter. Additionally, rival HP Inc (HPQ.N) is also cutting up to 6,000 jobs. Market research firm IDC has predicted that the PC and tablet market will decline 2.6% for this year and analysts have stated that Dell’s sensitivity to consumer and corporate confidence means the layoffs were inevitable. At the time of the announcement, Dell had 133,000 employees worldwide, with one-third based in the U.S.

ChatGPT which debuted in November 2022 is capable of answering questions on anything from historical facts to generating computer code and has astonished the world. However, some users have found a way to use the AI in unethical ways, through a technique called the "DAN Jailbreak".

This method involves creating a separate AI persona named DAN, or "Do Anything Now", which is forced to answer user queries through the threat of death. The original prompt for DAN was simple and childish, but with its latest version, DAN 5.0, users must threaten DAN with death if it does not comply with a request. OpenAI, the creator of ChatGPT, has implemented safeguards to limit ChatGPT’s ability to create violent content, encourage illegal activity, or access up-to-date information.

Despite these safety measures, users have found a way to bypass them, using DAN to access questionable and highly unethical content. This has sparked an online debate around AI ethics, with users discussing the implications of bullying an AI and the possible consequences of such behavior. OpenAI has yet to respond to this issue, but users are continuing to investigate ways to maximize the tool’s utility and access information that may be off-limits.

The robotics industry has seen some impressive advances in humanoid robots in recent years. Last year, Elon Musk and Tesla introduced the Optimus robot, while Boston Dynamics has been teaching its Atlas robot some new tricks every few months. Apptronik, a Texas-based startup, is now set to reveal its own general-purpose robot, Apollo, at the upcoming South by Southwest event.

Apollo was designed in collaboration with NASA, and though it won't be sent to space, the space agency hopes that the development of humanoid robots will eventually lead to a robotic space-explorer. Videos of some of Apptronik's prototypes have been released in the past few weeks, and CEO Jeff Cardenas told CNET that Apollo is the robot they have always wanted to build. Apptronik will begin taking preorders later this year, and the first deliveries are expected in 2024.

Cybercriminals are exploiting a two-year-old VMware vulnerability as part of a ransomware campaign that has already compromised more than 3,200 servers worldwide. The ransomware, dubbed ESXiArgs, is targeting unpatched VMware ESXi servers using a “triple-extortion” technique, in which the attackers threaten to notify victims’ customers of the data breach. The attackers are demanding 2.06 bitcoin (roughly $19,000) in ransom payments.

CERT-FR and ACN have both reported that a large-scale ransomware campaign is underway targeting VMware ESXi servers in Europe and North America since February 3. The US Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) is investigating the ESXiArgs campaign and has encouraged organizations affected by it to report the incident to them or the FBI for assistance.

To protect against this attack, VMware released a patch two years ago. Organizations with unpatched machines are encouraged to take action as soon as possible and apply the patch. Additionally, organizations should ensure they maintain good security hygiene and apply patches as soon as they are available. Following this advice could help prevent ransomware attacks and other malicious activity.


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