Wendy’s New AI Order Taker (plus Spotify Purges AI) | May 11th, 2023

Today In Tech News:

  1. Wendy’s AI Order Takers
  2. Amazon Targets Pickup by Giving You $10
  3. Spotify Purges AI
  4. A Self-Encrypting Ransomware: Cactus

Wendy’s AI Order Takers

Wendy’s is preparing for the rise of skynet by rolling out an AI order-taker to one of their restaurants.  

The burger chain, known for their square patties and frostys has partnered with Google to test out a drive thru assistant built using a fast-food trained Large Language Model.

The model used is expected to be a modified instance of Google’s Bard, but there has not been any confirmation.

CEO Todd Penegor expects the bot will be very conversational and hopes customers might not even know they aren’t talking to a human.

The experimental order-taker is scheduled to be rolled out in June at a restaurant in Columbus Ohio, Wendy’s founding state.


Amazon Targets Pickup by Giving You $10

Amazon is currently running a promotion that gives users the option of a $10 discount if they pickup their order rather than wait for delivery.

The campaign applies to orders over $25 and hopes to spread awareness of the Amazon Pickup option to customers who have never used Amazon pickup or those that have not used it within the last 12 months.

PickUp points include Amazon affiliates including Whole Foods, Amazon Fresh, and Kohls.

The kicker of this entire promotion is that it has been running for 2 years, while last month, they added a $1 charge to returns that are sent through mail carriers rather than dropped off at an Amazon Pickup Points.


Spotify Purges AI

The music industry continues to feel the pressure of AI as Spotify removes tens of thousands of songs produced by the AI Music startup Boomy.

The songs in question we’re removed due to artificial streaming, the audio equivalent of bot views on YouTube videos.

The removed songs comes up to about 7% of Boomy’s library as the startup is working with Spotify to address the issue.

Boomy claims that it’s users have created over 14 and a half million songs, about 14% of “the world’s recorded music.”


A Self-Encrypting Ransomware: Cactus

A new ransomware is avoiding antiviruses by encrypting itself after infecting a target.

Cactus, a ransomware campaign that began in March is targeting large commercial organizations and is doing a good job of hiding itself.

The malware 

  • exploits Fortinet VPN vulnerabillties for entry
  • encrypts itself to avoid detection
  • Sets up an SSH backdoor to maintain access
  • Setups Cobalt Strike and Chisel for command and control
  • Attempts to disable/uninstall security software
  • Steals local credentials from web browsers
  • Then uses Powershell scripts for data exfiltration and ransomware deployment
  • Finally uses a batch script to extract the data using 7-zip

Currently, there are no public ransoms but sources claim they are north of 7 figures.

You can mitigate your risk by following VPN and RDP best practices which include

  • Making sure all VPN and RDP software is up to date
  • Enforcing a principle of least privilege
  • Ensuring RDP services are not open to the internet
  • Double-checking your anti-malware software is up to date


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