Thursday September 21, 2017

Microsoft Adds Four Halo Games to Xbox One Backward Compatibility

Halo: Anniversary, Halo 3, Halo 3: ODST, and Halo 4 are now playable on the Xbox One, with free DLC for all titles: if you own any of these games, you can simply pop the disc in (or install it from the Ready to Download list, in the case of digital copies) and start playing. Some say this is an interesting decision, as Microsoft still stands to make money from sales of The Master Chief Collection.

As we said before, beginning today, Halo 3, Halo 3: ODST, Halo 4, and Halo: Combat Evolved Anniversary will all be available via backward-compatibility on your Xbox One, Xbox One S, and (soon) Xbox One X. A huge Mjolnir-mitted high-five to the stalwart folks on the Xbox Back-compat team for partnering with us on this and helping give Halo fans even more options to experience some of their favorite franchise moments.

Discussion Posted by Megalith 3:00 PM (CDT)

Experian Site Can Give Anyone Your Credit Freeze PIN

Krebs on Security warns that Experian has made it easy for anyone to request the PIN needed to unlock a previously frozen credit file: some of the "hurdles" merely involve knowing the person’s name, address, date of birth, and social security number, all of which have been jeopardized in countless breaches. There is additional authorization in the form of challenge questions, but the answers to these are now indexed or exposed by search engines, social networks, and third-party services online -- both criminal and commercial.

Crooks and identity thieves broadly have access to the data needed to reliably answer KBA questions on most consumers. That is why this offering from Experian completely undermines the entire point of placing a freeze. After discovering this portal at Experian, I tried to get my PIN, but the system failed and told me to submit the request via mail. That’s fine and as far as I’m concerned the way it should be. However, I also asked my followers on Twitter who have freezes in place at Experian to test it themselves. More than a dozen readers responded in just a few minutes, and most of them reported success at retrieving their PINs on the site and via email after answering the KBA questions.

Discussion Posted by Megalith 2:40 PM (CDT)

Adblock Plus Releases Cryptocurrency Miner Hijack Protection Filter

Adblock Plus can now protect your computer from being hijacked to mine cryptocurrency: the team has released a filter that users can add to their Adblock Plus browser extension in Chrome, Firefox, Safari, and Android. Add the extension, and your device will no longer be used to quietly mine Bitcoin or any other cryptocurrency.

Over the weekend, The Pirate Bay users noticed that a cryptocurrency miner had appeared on the site and was using visitors’ computers to mine Monero. This isn’t the first time a site has explored cryptocurrency mining as an alternative source of revenue, but The Pirate Bay is one of the top 100 sites in the world, so the news understandably made waves.

Discussion Posted by Megalith 2:15 PM (CDT)

Passwords to Access over a Half Million Car Tracking Devices Leaked Online

The Kromtech Security Center has found over half a million records belonging to SVR, a company that specializes in vehicle tracking, publicly available online: everywhere a car has been in the past 120 days is accessible for those who have the right login credentials for SVR’s app, which is downloadable for desktops, laptops, and almost any mobile device.

Researchers discovered a misconfigured Amazon AWS S3 bucket that was left publicly available. The breach has exposed information about their customers and re-seller network and also the physical device that is attached to the cars. The repository contained over a half of a million records with logins / passwords, emails, VIN (vehicle identification number), IMEI numbers of GPS devices and other data that is collected on their devices, customers and auto dealerships. Interestingly, exposed database also contained information where exactly in the car the tracking unit was hidden.

Discussion Posted by Megalith 1:15 PM (CDT)

The Duke, Xbox’s Biggest Controller of All Time, Will Be in Stores Soon

Seamus Blackley, one of the designers of the original Xbox who is leading the charge to recreate The Duke in all its glory for Xbox One and Windows 10 devices, has announced that his efforts are nearing completion. I think it’s crazy how he put an OLED display in it just to show an animated Xbox logo.

Blackley reports that the final prototype has been certified by Microsoft, and has gone to tooling where the plastic molds will be created. Among the improvements is a nine-foot breakaway cord and a fancy display screen. All that’s needed is to produce them in quantity and get them into the hands of consumers. No word yet on the price.

Discussion Posted by Megalith 1:05 PM (CDT)

Intel Preps Dual-Core i3-7360X for X299, but Why?

Intel is not done with Kabylake-X yet: a prototype i3 dual-core processor has been spotted in China. Some, however, are calling it bizarre, being that a platform designed for high-performance computing is getting a CPU with just two cores.

The i3-7360X is a HEDT alternative to i3-7350K, which, by the way, will soon be succeeded by 8350K. The specs of this new processor are not overwhelming. It’s only 100 MHz faster than 7350K. The turbo clock is 4.3 GHz. The TDP though, skyrockets to 112W. According to the leaker, the i3-7360X is 1.25% faster than 7350K. The price of 7360X is expected around 1699 Yuans (220 USD), so it’s not cheap.

Discussion Posted by Megalith 12:30 PM (CDT)

PC Gaming Is Back in Focus at Tokyo Game Show

Consoles have traditionally dominated in Japan, but things are changing: this week’s Tokyo Game Show will feature a main-stage tournament for PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds, the hit online survival PC game that’s been downloaded more than 10 million times since March. "PUBG isn’t even available on consoles, so being able to play it on PC is hugely appealing," said Satoshi Fujiwara, a 25 year-old Tokyo gamer who grew up playing consoles but recently spent $2,000 on a PC gaming rig.

Spending on gaming-ready PC rigs are on track to climb an average of 6.6 percent per year through 2020, while the market as a whole is projected to decline 3.8 percent annually, according to Gartner Inc. Revenue from PC titles will grow by 3 to 4 percent over the coming years, while console-game sales are seen flat, according to DFC Intelligence. Written off years ago for being too expensive, complex and bulky for mass appeal, gaming PCs are seeing a resurgence that could even threaten consoles, according to Kazunori Takahashi, Japan gaming head at Nvidia Corp.

Discussion Posted by Megalith 12:20 PM (CDT)

US Air Force to Migrate 776,000 Users to Microsoft Office 365

Microsoft and its partners were awarded a $1 billion five-year US Air Force contract to migrate 776,000 users to cloud-based solutions: the deal is the largest-ever federal cloud-based unified communications and collaboration contract in the federal marketplace. The move will improve efficiency and agility, as well as save costs for the US Air Force.

Dell EMC Consulting Services will be doing the migration process since they have years of experience handling enterprise-scale migrations, Microsoft subject-matter expertise and proven methodologies. "The CHES contract extends the ability of the Air Force to collaborate across the enterprise. We aren’t just delivering a secure productivity solution, we’re freeing up resources, so our airmen can focus on mission critical tasks," said Leigh Madden, US Air Force director for Microsoft.

Discussion Posted by Megalith 12:10 PM (CDT)

Razer's Mobile Device May Be Ready by the End of the Year

Razer CEO Min-Liang Tan says that he is working on getting their mobile gaming-and-entertainment device ready by the end of 2017: earlier reports insist that it will be some kind of smartphone, being that the company acquired a related outfit (Nextbit) back in January.

"One of the most hotly rumored things about Razer is that we're coming up with a mobile device. And I can say that we are coming up with a mobile device specifically geared toward gamers and entertainment," Min-Liang Tan, CEO and co-founder of Razer, told CNBC's "Managing Asia." "We're hoping to have it come ... by the end of the year, so that's something we're working on," Tan said.

Discussion Posted by Megalith 12:00 PM (CDT)

DDR5 Runs in Rambus’ Labs

Rambus claims to be the first to have working silicon in its labs for DDR5, the next major interface for DRAM dual in-line memory modules (DIMMs): DDR5 is expected to support data rates up to 6.4 Gbits/second delivering 51.2 GBytes/s max, up from 3.2 Gbits and 25.6 GBytes/s for today’s DDR4. The new version will push the 64-bit link down to 1.1V and burst lengths to 16 bits from 1.2V and 8 bits. In addition, DDR5 lets voltage regulators ride on the memory card rather than the motherboard.

...CPU vendors are expected to expand the number of DDR channels on their processors from 12 to 16. That could drive main memory sizes to 128 Gbytes from 64 GB today. DDR5 is expected to first appear on high performance systems running large databases or memory-hungry applications such as machine learning. While some servers may lag adopting DDR5 for six months or so, "it’s just a couple quarters, not a couple years…Everyone wants a fatter memory pipe," said Dhulla.

Discussion Posted by Megalith 11:45 AM (CDT)

Permanent Bans Are Coming to Overwatch

Blizzard warned Overwatch players that it would introduce permanent bans, and they weren’t kidding: starting September 27, any player who accumulates three or more seasonal bans may be permanently banned from Competitive Play, removing their ability to participate in any future matches in that mode.

Seasonal bans do not need to be consecutive to qualify for a permanent Competitive Play ban. For example, if a player earned seasonal bans in Seasons 2 and 4, and then earns another ban in Season 7, he or she will be eligible for a permanent ban from Competitive Play as soon as that third seasonal ban is issued. Additionally, neither seasonal bans nor permanent Competitive Play bans will decay or reset over time; once an account is permanently banned, it currently cannot return to good standing.

Discussion Posted by Megalith 11:30 AM (CDT)

Netflix Pulls Episode of Children’s Cartoon with Penis Drawing

Netflix has pulled an episode of a children’s show "Maya the Bee" after what appeared to be a penis was spotted etched on a tree trunk in the background of a scene. The offending episode was Season 1, episode 35 of the series, and Netflix has yet to make a statement about the penis’ presence or the removal of the episode. It’s also unclear whether Netflix, which didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment, will re-edit the scene and put it back up.

Chey Robinson, a concerned mother, appears to have been the first to share a clip from the show, writing on Facebook, "Please be mindful of what your kids are watching. I did NOT edit any images whatsoever, this is ‘Maya the Bee,’ Season 1, Episode 35. I know I’m not going crazy and I know that something like this shouldn’t be in a kids’ show whatsoever. I’m extremely disgusted by it, there should be no reason my kids have to see something like this. I don’t know if they’re gonna do something about this or what, but there’s no reasons why this should be in this show."

Discussion Posted by Megalith 11:25 AM (CDT)

Intel Has Pushed 10nm Cannon Lake Back to 2018

Intel has supposedly delayed their Cannon Lake 10nm processors for the third time: according to sources from the upstream supply chain, the company has rescheduled the releases for some of its next-generation Cannon Lake-based processors, mostly ones with an integrated GPU, to the end of 2018.

Some vendors are even considering skipping Cannon Lake to wait for the release of its successor, the Ice Lake CPUs, which according to Intel's roadmap, should be available shortly after the specific processors' rescheduled launch, the sources said. In response, Intel said that the company will be shipping its first 10nm products near the end of 2017 beginning with a lower volume SKU followed by a volume ramp in the first half of 2018.

Discussion Posted by Megalith 11:00 AM (CDT)

The CCleaner Malware Fiasco Targeted at Least 20 Specific Tech Firms

Researchers believe that the hackers behind the CCleaner malware were bent not only on mass infections, but on targeted espionage that tried to gain access to the networks of Intel, Google, Microsoft, and other tech titans. Some have linked the hack to cyberespionage group APT17, also known as DeputyDog.

...they found evidence that the hackers had attempted to filter their collection of backdoored victim machines to find computers inside the networks of 20 tech firms, including Intel, Google, Microsoft, Akamai, Samsung, Sony, VMware, HTC, Linksys, D-Link and Cisco itself. In about half of those cases, says Talos research manager Craig Williams, the hackers successfully found a machine they'd compromised within the company's network, and used their backdoor to infect it with another piece of malware intended to serve as a deeper foothold, one that Cisco now believes was likely intended for industrial espionage.

Discussion Posted by Megalith 10:50 AM (CDT)

World’s Biggest Game Boy Gets Guinness World Record

Brussels-based gamer and software/hardware developer Ilhan Unal has entered the Guinness World Records 2018 Gamer’s Edition for creating the Largest Game Boy: the monster machine is fully functional, with everything running off a Raspberry Pi hidden in the oversized external connector socket.

Approximately 6.75 times the size of the classic Nintendo Game Boy, it has a volume of 120 liters -- which is about two times the volume of an average human body! The device itself measures to be 1.01 m tall, 0.62 m wide and 0.2 meters deep, making for one grand dose of gaming fun. According to Ilhan, making the Game Boy XXL was a huge challenge. He had to work around his studies and coursework, using any free time to construct the Game Boy at the school laboratory where there was limited space and resources.

Discussion Posted by Megalith 10:15 AM (CDT)

E-Cigarettes with Nicotine Can Damage Your Heart with Just One Puff

A study published in the Journal of the American Heart Association asserts that e-cigarettes with nicotine can damage the heart in nonsmokers with just one puff: researchers did blood tests and measured the subjects’ heart rhythms and found that participants had high levels of adrenaline in their hearts after they smoked e-cigs with nicotine, but not after they puffed on e-cigarettes without nicotine or empty e-cigs.

Dr. Holly R. Middlekauff, senior study author and a cardiologist at UCLA, and her colleagues found participants developed a pattern of abnormal "heart rate variability" (HRV), which is indicative of increased heart adrenaline levels after using the e-cigarette with nicotine only. These increased adrenaline levels were attributable to the inhaled nicotine and not the non-nicotine components in the e-cigarette aerosol. Nevertheless, the researchers did not find increased oxidative stress because they only looked at one marker, therefore this warrants further testing to support this finding.

Discussion Posted by Megalith 10:05 AM (CDT)

US SEC: Hackers May Have Traded Using Stolen Insider Information

The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) said that hackers accessed its corporate disclosure database and may have illegally profited by trading on the insider information stolen: a software glitch in the test filing component of the system was exploited to gain access to non-public information. While the hack occurred in 2016, the SEC only discovered last month that the cyber criminals may have used the information to make illicit trades.

The SEC hosts large volumes of sensitive and confidential information that could be used for insider-trading or manipulating U.S. equity markets. Its EDGAR database houses millions of filings on corporate disclosures ranging from quarterly earnings to statements on mergers and acquisitions. Although the SEC "promptly" patched the vulnerability after detecting it in 2016, the regulator only became aware last month that the glitch "may have provided the basis for illicit gain through trading", it said.

Discussion Posted by Megalith 9:45 AM (CDT)

NVIDIA Releases 385.69 Game Ready WHQL Drivers

GeForce Game Ready 385.69 WHQL drivers are optimized for the Call of Duty: WWII open beta, EVE: Valkyrie - Warzone, FIFA 18, Forza Motorsport 7, From Other Suns' open beta, Project Cars 2, Raiders of the Broken Planet, Star Wars Battlefront 2's open beta, and Total War: WARHAMMER II. To download and install, simply fire up GeForce Experience and click the "Drivers" tab.

Windows 10 Open Issues in Version 385.69 WHQL

  • [SLI][GeForce GTX 780 Ti]: There is no display output when connecting the DisplayPort and two DVI monitors. [1835763]
  • [GeForce GTX 1070][Adobe Reader 3D]: There is corruption in the PDF. [1992456]
  • [GeForce TITAN]: The OS fails after installing the graphics card on a Threadripper-enabled motherboard. [1973303]

Discussion Posted by Megalith 9:25 AM (CDT)

Stream Ripping Piracy Goes from Bad to Worse, Music Industry Reports

New data not only reveals that stream ripping remains the music industry's main piracy threat, but it's growing too: IFPI's latest music consumer insight report shows that more than a third of all Internet subscribers use stream rippers to access unlicensed music. YouTube, which accounts for more than half of all music video streaming, is being pressured to do more to block stream rippers and converters from exploiting the service.

A survey conducted in the world’s leading music industry markets reveals that 35% of all Internet users are stream rippers, up from 30% last year. In total, 40% of all respondents admitted to obtaining unlicensed music. This means that the vast majority of all music pirates use stream ripping tools. This practice is particularly popular among those in the youngest age group, where more than half of all Internet users admit to ripping music, and it goes down as age increases.

Discussion Posted by Megalith 9:10 AM (CDT)

You Can Try the Xbox One X at Best Buy This Weekend

Best Buy will begin holding retail demos of Microsoft's new superpowered console this weekend, offering up Madden 18, Forza 7, FIFA 17, Minecraft, Final Fantasy XV, Super Lucky’s Tale, and Rocket League in 4K. As of right now, the demos will be available at 40 Best Buy stores in 20 cities, and they'll be coming back for four more unspecified weekends throughout the fall.

These sorts of demos are absolutely essential for selling the Xbox One X. Generational console leaps make for good ads: ideally, the graphics are improved in such a way that they can be easily communicated just by throwing up some impressive-looking scenes on TV or Youtube, and they shouldn't need any special explanation for why they look good. The 4K upgrade that is that Xbox One X is a bit trickier: it's difficult to communicate outside of ideal circumstances, and TV ads are all but useless in a world where nobody is going to be watching ads on a 4K TV and a 4K broadcast.

Discussion Posted by Megalith 8:55 AM (CDT)

AMD Transitioning to 12nm LP Process for Vega, Ryzen in 2018

AMD’s CTO Mark Papermaster has confirmed that they will transition both Vega GPUs and the Ryzen line of processors to the 12nm LP process. However, it’s still not clear whether or not he meant that 12nm LP will be a shrink of Ryzen in 2018 (a "tick") or if Zen+/Zen 2 will also be using the 12LP process. Previously, AMD has implied that Zen 2 will use the 7nm process. The company has used both "Zen+" and "Zen 2" to refer to its next-generation die.

Earlier, we learned from Raja Koduri's letter to his team that we should expect "new wave of product excitement" in early 2018, which implies that is when we might see the first news of Vega with the 12nm LP process to emerge. NVIDIA’s Volta architecture is already shipping on TSMC’s 12nm FFN process this year, so on the GPU side Nvidia seems to be ahead on adopting new process technology right now. Of course, on the CPU side we also have Intel, which promised "real" 10nm chips for next year that should also be significantly ahead in performance and power efficiency compared to the 12LP process.

Discussion Posted by Megalith 8:50 AM (CDT)

Mathematical Formula Predicts Global Mass Extinction Event in 2100

A new paper finds that a mass-extinction period mirroring ones from our planet's ancient past could be triggered when humanity adds a certain amount of carbon to the oceans, which are home to the majority of all plants and animals on our planet. The paper pegs that amount at 310 gigatons. According to lead author Daniel Rothman of MIT, based on projections from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, we're on course to hit that number by 2100.

We will easily hit that 310-gigaton threshold by 2100, or sooner, unless something changes: Worst-case projections put 500 gigatons of carbon into the oceans by 2100. Passing over this carbon threshold moves us "to the other side of the stability boundary," Rothman told me. It's not that on Jan. 2, 2100, all species on our planet begin to apocalyptically die off. "The next day, everybody wakes up and goes to work as normal," he said. It might take 10,000 years for a true disaster to play out.

Discussion Posted by Megalith 8:35 AM (CDT)

NVIDIA Drops the Basic Shield TV's Price to $180

NVIDIA is introducing a new Shield TV bundle that drops the controller for a cheaper entry price: going up for pre-order today, you can now get a 16GB Shield TV streamer for just $179, bundled in with just its mic-packing remote. The existing bundle, which still includes a gamepad, will remain available for an extra $20.99.

NVIDIA is keeping the $200 tier by bundling in its normally $60 controller alongside the included remote. Both of those lower-priced options come with 16GB of storage, though the $300 Shield TV Pro model increases that to 500GB. Otherwise, all the Shield set-top boxes have the same access to streaming services at 4K HDR quality.

Discussion Posted by Megalith 8:25 AM (CDT)

Lockheed Martin Destroys Drones in Latest Laser Weapons Demo

Lockheed has released a video showing off its latest tests of the 30-kilowatt class ATHENA (Advanced Test High Energy Asset) laser weapons system at the White Sands Missile Range in New Mexico: the laser destroys five Outlaw drones by using its own fuel source against them.

The Lockheed Martin Advanced Test High Energy Asset (ATHENA) prototype laser weapon system proved that an advanced system of sensors, software and specialized optics can deliver decisive lethality against unmanned aerial vehicle threats. In tests conducted at White Sands Missile Range in New Mexico, ATHENA destroyed five Outlaw unmanned aerial systems in August 2017.

Discussion Posted by Megalith 8:15 AM (CDT)