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Artificial intelligence

AI is learning how to spot risky websites for you

February 22, 2018

Machine learning can sniff out tell-tale signs of shady URLs so you don’t get phished.


The problem: The internet is riddled with websites set up for the sole purpose of stealing a user’s information or installing malware on a victim’s machine. Antivirus companies blacklist them as fast as they can, but with new sites launched every day, it’s a Sisyphean effort to keep up.


AI to the rescue: A new system called URLNet uses neural networks that look at character-level and word-level combinations in—you guessed it—the site’s URL to detect a site’s risk. URLs contain clues to whether a site is malicious, like length and misspelled domain names. 


Results: The researchers trained URLNet on two data sets, one containing a million legit and malicious URLs and one with five million. In each case, URLNet beat other current systems at detecting suspicious sites.

Deep Dive

Artificial intelligence

What does GPT-3 “know” about me? 

Large language models are trained on troves of personal data hoovered from the internet. So I wanted to know: What does it have on me?

An AI that can design new proteins could help unlock new cures and materials 

The machine-learning tool could help researchers discover entirely new proteins not yet known to science.

DeepMind’s new chatbot uses Google searches plus humans to give better answers

The lab trained a chatbot to learn from human feedback and search the internet for information to support its claims.

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Illustration by Rose Wong

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