Hashtag Trending Jul.5- OpenAI disables ‘Browse with Bing’ on ChatGPT due to users bypassing paywalls; GitHub moves to make code more secure; Virgin Media email users unable to access their inboxes for over two weeks

OpenAI says “no cheating on paywalls,” GitHub makes code more secure and what would you do if you lost all of your emails? Virgin Media customers might just find out. 

Hashtag Trending on Amazon Alexa Google Podcasts badge - 200 px wide


These and more top tech news stories on Hashtag Trending.  

I’m your host Jim Love, CIO of IT World Canada and Tech News Day in the US.

“Today, we’re diving into a chilling trend that’s been terrorizing innocent people across the U.S. It’s called swatting. Picture this: You’re at home, enjoying a quiet evening, when suddenly, a SWAT team storms your house, guns drawn, believing there’s a bomb threat or a hostage situation. But it’s all a hoax, a cruel prank known as ‘swatting.’ This is the terrifying reality for author Patrick Tomlinson and his wife, Niki Robinson, who have been swatted over 40 times at their Milwaukee home.

But there’s a glimmer of hope. The FBI is stepping up its game to combat this growing menace. They’ve launched a national online database to facilitate information sharing between hundreds of police departments and law enforcement agencies across the country. This effort aims to provide a comprehensive picture of the swatting problem on a national level.

Swatting is not just a prank; it’s a dangerous act that can have deadly consequences. In 2021, Mark Herring died of a heart attack during a police response to his Tennessee home caused by a fraudulent report of a shooting. 

The rise of swatting is fueled by technology that can mask a caller’s real voice, their phone number or IP address, and make their false report sound more credible. The FBI hopes their new centralized database will help them get a grip on this national problem.

So, next time you’re scrolling through Twitter, remember, a casual tweet could make you a target of these online trolls. 

Sources include: NBC News 

In a surprising turn of events, OpenAI has temporarily disabled the ‘Browse with Bing’ (who makes these names up?) beta feature on its chatbot, ChatGPT. This feature, designed to enhance the search experience, was launched exclusively for ChatGPT Plus subscribers. However, it seems that users found a way to exploit this feature to bypass paywalls on various sites.

The ‘Browse with Bing’ feature was introduced to supplement the limitations of ChatGPT, which could only access information up until September 2021. But OpenAI soon discovered that the feature could malfunction, particularly when users asked for a URL’s full text, leading to potential paywall being bypassed.

Paywalls are typically used to encourage users to subscribe to a site, restricting access to information for non-subscribers. But some savvy users in the r/ChatGPT community on Reddit found a way to bypass these paywalls using ChatGPT, prompting the tool to print the text of an article behind a paywall.

OpenAI has disabled the feature as of July 3, 2023, out of caution and respect for content owners. The company is working to bring back the beta feature as quickly as possible, but it remains unclear when this will happen and what changes will be made to prevent such misuse in the future.

Sources include: Windows Central 

GitHub, the Microsoft-owned service that allows developers to store their code, is making a significant move towards enhancing software security. The company is leveraging generative AI to help developers write more secure code from the get-go, aiming to reduce the number of network vulnerabilities that hackers often exploit.

Last year, GitHub launched a generative AI-enabled tool, GitHub Copilot, designed to bridge the knowledge gap among developers about secure coding practices. The tool provides predictive suggestions to speed up the coding process and enhance code security. A year after its launch, GitHub reports that users are accepting an average of 30 per ent of Copilot’s suggestions, with the acceptance rate increasing as developers become more familiar with the tool.

This move comes at a time when cybersecurity companies are increasingly integrating generative AI into their products. However, most of these products focus on analyzing information about cyber threats and assessing network vulnerabilities. GitHub’s approach, on the other hand, aims to help developers write more secure code from the start of a project.

Despite facing a class-action lawsuit over Copilot’s training based on public code scraped from the web, GitHub remains optimistic about the tool’s potential. The company envisions opportunities for the technology to review old open-source code for new vulnerabilities, contributing to a more secure coding environment.

Sources include: Axios

Meta Platforms, the parent company of Instagram, is set to launch a new microblogging app called Threads. This move comes just days after Twitter’s CEO, Elon Musk, announced a temporary cap on how many posts users can read on the social media site, sparking widespread criticism.

Threads is not Meta’s first attempt to replicate the features of other popular social media platforms. In the past, it added a feature called “stories” to Instagram, similar to Snapchat’s core functionality. It also introduced a short-form video feature “Reels”, akin to TikTok.

The launch of Threads is seen as a strategic move by Meta to capitalize on the recent changes and controversies surrounding Twitter. However, it remains to be seen how the new app will be received by users and how it will fare against established platforms like Twitter.

Sources include: Reuters

In a move that has IT professionals asking – “how the hell can that happen?” Virgin Media email users have been unable to access their inboxes for over two weeks, and there’s no clear date for when the problem will be resolved. The issue started on June 19, and while Virgin Media has stated that all users can now send and receive emails, some are still unable to access messages from before the disruption.

The situation has caused considerable concern among users, with some fearing that their emails may never be recovered. The problem has affected various aspects of users’ lives, from personal correspondences to professional activities. For instance, one user has lost access to condolence messages following her husband’s death and needs access to the email as executor of his will. Another user, who has been using his email account for approximately 25 years, said the disruption had affected charity auctions he was organizing.

Virgin Media has apologized “unreservedly” for the inconvenience and assured users that their emails are “safe and secure”. The company is working to fix the issue, but it’s taking longer than anticipated. Virgin Media has reported the email issue to the Information Commissioner’s Office, emphasizing that it was not a data breach and no users’ data or personal information had been accessed or compromised.

Sources include: BBC

That’s the top tech news stories for today.

Hashtag Trending goes to air five days a week with a special weekend interview episode called Hashtag Trending, the Weekend Edition.  You can follow us on Google, Apple, Spotify or wherever you get your podcasts. 

We’re also on YouTube five days a week with a video newscast only there we are called Tech News Day. And if you are there, please check us out. Don’t want to say smash the like button, but we could use a few more likes.

If you want to catch up on more news quickly, you can read these and more at TechNewsDay.com and on ITWorldCanada.com on the home page.

We love to hear your comments.  You can find me on Linked In, Twitter or on our Mastodon site technews.social where I’m @therealjimlove.

Or if this is all too much to remember, just go to the article at itworldcanada.com/podcasts and you’ll find a text version with additional links and references.  Click on the x if you didn’t like it, or the check mark if you did, and tell us what you think. 

I’m your host, Jim Love. Holiday’s over. And don’t you find that short weeks feel soooo long? Have a happy humpday.  

Would you recommend this article?


Thanks for taking the time to let us know what you think of this article!
We'd love to hear your opinion about this or any other story you read in our publication.

Jim Love, Chief Content Officer, IT World Canada
Jim Love
Jim Lovehttp://www.itworldcanada.com
I've been in IT and business for over 30 years. I worked my way up, literally from the mail room and I've done every job from mail clerk to CEO. Today I'm CIO of a great company - IT World Canada - Canada's leading ICT publisher.

Follow this Podcast

More #Hashtag Trending