It was nearly twice as good at identifying manipulated images as humans....

The research: Researchers from Adobe and UC Berkeley have created a tool that uses machine learning to identify when photos of people’s faces have been altered. The deep-learning tool was trained on thousands of images scraped from the internet. In a series of experiments, it was able to correctly identify edited faces 99% of the time, compared with a 53% success rate for humans.

The context: There’s growing concern over the spread of fake images and “deepfake” videos. However, machine learning could be a useful weapon in the detection (as well as the creation) of fakes.  

Some caveats: It’s understandable that Adobe wants to be seen acting on this issue, given that its own products are used to alter pictures. The downside is that this tool works only on images that were made using Adobe Photoshop’s Face Aware Liquify feature.

It's just a prototype, but the company says it plans to take this research further and provide tools to identify and discourage the misuse of its products across the board.

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It’s a step up from previous efforts that focused more on reconnaissance than attack....

The news: The US has deployed code inside Russia’s power grid and other targets as part of its work to push back against hacking and disinformation from Moscow, the New York Times reports. The revelation comes just three days after the news that a Russia-linked group called Xenotime has started laying the early groundwork for potential attacks on US power companies.

The details: Inevitably, there are few specifics given the sensitivity of the topic. However, the work is being led by the US Cyber Command, an arm of the Pentagon. It’s permitted by a new law passed last summer, which approves "clandestine military activity" in cyberspace to “deter, safeguard or defend" against attacks.

A warning: The US hopes that these revelations will act as a deterrent against any future attacks by Russia on its systems. But there’s always the risk that it could fuel an escalation instead.

This story first appeared in our daily newsletter The Download. Sign up here to get your dose of the latest must-read news from the world of emerging tech.

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