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Memo vs AI photo generators meant to boost ‘operational security’–DND

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Department of National Defense (DND) Secretary Gilberto  “Gibo” C. Teodoro Jr. on Wednesday said his memorandum prohibiting defense and military personnel from using artificial intelligence (AI) photo generator applications is part of efforts to improve the establishment’s “operational security.”

In a broadcast interview Wednesday, the defense chief said that this security effort is aimed at preventing hackers that may attempt to infiltrate and paralyze the DND.

Recently, several government institutions were targeted and paralyzed by hackers who demanded money in exchange for return of access to the hacked systems, which are mostly data and financial in nature.

And when asked if China has something to do with the issuance of this memorandum, Teodoro said they are monitoring other threats that include “non-state actors.”

“China is the only one we are guarding, we are also monitoring non-state actors who might be planning to use so-called “‘ransomware’ vs our systems. These are hackers who paralyzed governmental systems in exchange for money,” the DND chief said in Filipino.

He added that his memorandum is part of efforts to improve the “internet hygiene” of DND and Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) personnel.

And in a high security environment like the DND and AFP, Teodoro said the “utmost operational security” must be exercised at all times.

Earlier, Teodoro warned defense and military personnel from using digital applications that use AI requiring submission of 10 pictures to generate an enhanced portrait as this posed a “significant privacy and security risks.”

In a memorandum dated October 14, the defense chief said this application compiles its “users’ data and creates a digital person that mimics how a real individual speaks and moves.”

Teodoro said that this seemingly harmless and amusing AI-powered application can be “maliciously used to create fake profiles that can lead to identity theft, social engineering, phishing attacks, and other malicious activities” and noted that there was already a report of a such case.

“All DND and AFP personnel are directed to refrain from using AI photo generator applications and practice vigilance in sharing information online. Ensure that your actions are aligned to the Department’s values and are in adherence to existing policies,” the DND chief added.

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