March 24, 2022
Photo: The Trevor Project
Hello and welcome to Protocol Enterprise! Today: how the Trevor Project is using OpenAI’s GPT software to train counselors, the Lapsus$ hacking gang probably doesn’t need to shave, and this week in enterprise tech moves.
Ransomware is getting really expensive. The average ransomware demand handled by Palo Alto Networks rose 144% last year to $2.2 million, but the good news is you can negotiate: The average payment was $541,010.
Large AI-based language-processing models such as OpenAI’s GPT-3 have been criticized for conjuring up racist or offensive text, for making up false information and for requiring enormous amounts of computing power to build and deploy. Still, countless companies have used these foundational models to form the basis of tech products such as customer service chatbots.
The Trevor Project, a nonprofit that provides counseling to LGBTQ+ youth at risk of suicide, is also an adopter of these processing models. However, while the group has found value in customizing these deep-learning neural networks to help expand its ability to help kids in crisis, the organization recognizes where to draw the line.
“We trained Riley on many hundreds of past Riley role-plays,” said Dan Fichter, head of AI and Engineering at The Trevor Project, which developed the Riley persona through a partnership with Google’s grant program, Google.org.
To gauge performance, fairness and equity when it came to certain identity groups, The Trevor Project evaluated a variety of large natural-language-processing and linguistic deep-learning models before deciding which best suited particular tasks.
The Trevor Project balances benefits of large language models against potential problems by limiting how they are used, Fichter said. He pointed to the strictly internal use of the GPT-2-based persona models for generating language for counselor training purposes, and use of the ALBERT-based risk assessment model only to prioritize how soon a counselor should speak to a patient.
Seeking to triple its employee base, Whisk, a fully remote team, sought diverse talent from a wide variety of regions through Upwork, a work marketplace that connects businesses with independent professionals and agencies around the globe.
We’re learning more about the people behind Lapsus$, the hacking group that has infiltrated enterprise tech giants such as Nvidia, Microsoft and Okta in recent months. It’s not clear if they’re allowed to drive a car.
According to Bloomberg, the mastermind behind Lapsus$ is a teenage Brit living with his mom just outside of Oxford. Another teenager in Brazil was apparently part of the group, which forced Okta to disclose that the group took over a laptop belonging to a customer-support contractor working for the company for five days in January.
The BBC reported that the teenager has “amassed a $14m (£10.6m) fortune from hacking,” which is more than anyone at Protocol Enterprise made when they were sixteen. (I think: Max is out today.) As noted above, ransomware is a serious crime that has put countless businesses and organizations in a terrible place over the last few years, but as NBC’s Kevin Collier put it, “the most interesting thing about Lapsus$, or that Twitter hack last year, is it's proof yet again that the hundreds-of-billion-of-dollars cybersecurity industry is often foiled by rambunctious teens.”
Over the past week Dataiku and Proofpoint added new C-suite members and content management unicorn Contentful snagged talent from Zendesk and Atlassian.
Adam Towns is the new CFO at Dataiku. Towns was previously CFO of data analytics company Sisense.
Ashan Willy is the new CEO of Proofpoint. Willy formerly held leadership roles at Cisco, Juniper Networks and Polycom.
Brian Lanigan is now a VP at Lacework overseeing worldwide channels and alliances. Lanigan formerly led alliances for Splunk and HP.
Søren Abildgaard is now Contentful’s executive VP of Engineering. Abildgaard formerly led engineering teams at Zendesk, Adobe and Autodesk.
Mairead O'Donovan is the new CPO at Contentful. O’Donovan was previously the head of Jira work management at Atlassian.
Enterprise software companies need enterprise software too: SAP announced that Microsoft is using its Rise service to migrate its internal systems to S/4HANA.
Whisk isn’t alone in unlocking the global marketplace to find the right types of employees to support its business goals. More than three-quarters of U.S. companies have used remote freelancers, according to research from Upwork, and more than a quarter of businesses plan to go fully remote in the next five years.
Thanks for reading — see you tomorrow!
Correction: This story has been updated to correct the spelling of Contentful. This story was updated March 24, 2022.