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Ransomware Encourages Victims to Subscribe to PewDiePie

PewDiePie's battle with Bollywood star T-Series has pushed some of his more enthusiastic fans to extremes. A group of hackers used printers to promote their favorite YouTuber last year, and more recently, they hacked their way into Smart TVs, Chromecasts, and Google Home devices. Now, recent reports claim that new strains of ransomware are encouraging users to subscribe to PewDiePie. The "PewDiePie ransomware" released last year didn't even bother to save encryption keys, which means whatever user data it targeted was gone for good, while a new strain that popped up this January runs in Java to make detection more difficult. However, instead of asking for a ransom, the later program simply offers a link to PewDiePie's subscription page. It claims that public keys will be released if PewDiePie hits 100 million subscribers before T-Series, while the user's data will never see the light of day again if T-Series hits that mark first. ZDNet says the software was "put together as a joke," but still managed to infect a few users, and that the code is now publicly available on GitHub. Thanks to AceGoober for the tip, and check out a demonstration of the ransomware below:

Both ransomware strains show the level of idiocy the competition for YouTube's top spot has reached. While T-Series fans have remained mostly quiet most of this time, a portion of PewDiePie's fans appears to have lost their minds and engaged in media stunts bordering on criminal behavior... The message itself has become a meme, and not in a good way.

Posted by alphaatlas March 22, 2019 9:26 AM (CDT)

Monster Hunter: World to Receive a 40GB High Resolution Texture Pack DLC

Capcom has announced Monster Hunter: World will receive a 40GB High Resolution Texture Pack DLC. The High Resolution Texture Pack will require 8GB of graphics memory (VRAM) and is free. Earlier this month, Capcom acknowledged that the PC is the 2nd most popular platform for Monster Hunter: World. Capcom's spokesperson was happy that the PC version of the game had broadened its appeal to users in Europe. Capcom has more expansions and content coming for the action game.

"We have announced Monster Hunter World Iceborne and will have more news to share in the future. Given the success of Monster Hunter World, it will be a key project for us," he said. "There is also more to come that I'm not allowed to discuss yet, if you want another interview with me on behalf of Capcom in the future."

Posted by cageymaru March 21, 2019 3:46 PM (CDT)

Dell Technologies Gains Global Market Share in Server and Storage in Q4 2018

According to research from IDC, Dell Technologies has been gaining market share on Hewlett Packard Enterprises (HPE) in the worldwide server and storage market. In Q4 2018, Dell captured 18.7% global share of the server market, up from 17.5% in 2017. This created $4.43 billion in server revenue which represents more than a 20% increase over the $3.68 billion Dell made year over year (YoY). HPE grew its revenue by 10.5% YoY as its market share fell to 18.1% in Q4 2018. HPE made $4.2 billion in revenue in Q4 2018. Globally, the server market in Q4 2018 grew 12.6% to $23.6 billion. In the storage market, Dell again dominated as it increased its market share from 19.3% to 20.6% YoY. Dell made close to $3 billion in revenue; a 15% increase YoY. HPE trailed Dell with $2.6 billion in revenue in the global storage market. HPE's market share fell from 19.2% to 18% in Q4 2018. The global storage market grew 7.4% to $14.5 billion in Q4 2018.

Winslow said Dell's broad storage and serer portfolio is winning deals for his company over HPE, including a recent healthcare organization that added Dell servers for the first time that had previously bought HPE. "Dell has the technology there in spades - whether its blade technology, rack technology, a phenomenal hyper-converged portfolio, a full portfolio for structured and unstructured data -- and they continue to improve on it under Jeff Clarke," said Winslow, adding that his company's Dell business is up 43 percent year over year.

Posted by cageymaru March 11, 2019 2:33 PM (CDT)

Beamdog is "Looking Into" Neural Network Texture Upscaling

Canadian game developer Beamdog is the studio behind the PC remasters of classic RPGs like Baldur's Gate 1 and 2, Planescape: Torment, and Neverwinter Nights. The company recently partnered with Skybound Games to bring the remasters to consoles, and, according to a recent blog post, they aren't done with the PC versions of the the games either. The studio said they've "explored the possibility" of neural network upscaling in their Infinity Engine Enhanced Edition games, though they haven't committed to it yet. While they didn't go into specifics either, I assume they're talking about enhancing in-game textures, as ESRGAN and similar algorithms can't be applied to 3D models and are too slow for anything that has to be done in real time. This is (presumably) the same technique modders are using to enhance textures in Morrowind and the classic Final Fantasy games, and I've personally seen tons of neural network upscaling work being done in Skyrim, Metroid Prime, and other game modding communities. Thanks to /u/rhiyo on on the /r/GameUpscale subreddit for the tip.

We've explored the possibility of Catmull-Rom Bicubic scaling, as well as as a few other solutions for scaling (eg. ESRGAN scaling) for the Infinity Engine Enhanced Editions, but haven't pulled the trigger yet on implementing either. We received a number of questions about UI for the Infinity Engine Enhanced Editions games and our plans regarding it going forward. Now that the console releases are announced, we can share that we've been doing extensive updates to our UI system that could very possibly end up paying dividends for the PC versions into the future. For the time being, however, all of the UI work we're doing is centered squarely around the console versions of the games, so any changes to the PC UI won't happen for a while.

Posted by alphaatlas February 22, 2019 12:40 PM (CST)

Here Is 10 Minutes of RAGE 2 Gameplay

Bethesda Softworks has released a new Rage 2 trailer featuring 10 minutes of gameplay. The trailer focuses on gun play, explosions, dismemberment, and showcases a few of the varied open world environments found in the game. The post apocalyptic FPS launches onto PC and consoles on May 14th, 2019.

A lethal dance-off for a sweet new ability, a high-flying trip over a hostile open world, a fight against a very angry man in a mech suit... RAGE 2 has it all in this brand new extended gameplay video. Don't miss the ending for a sneak peek at what's coming next! RAGE 2 will be available on PlayStation 4, Xbox One and PC on May 14, 2019. Pre-order to receive the exclusive Cult of the Death God mission and don Nicholas Raine's legendary armor and Settler Pistol. The RAGE 2 Collector's Edition is also available for pre-order.

Posted by cageymaru February 12, 2019 3:41 PM (CST)

Chinese App Identifies "Deadbeat Debtors" in Area, Encourages Users to Report Them

A court in China has released an app through the WeChat platform that exposes "deadbeat debtors" within a 500-meter range, revealing their name, national ID number, and why they were added to the debtor list. The Higher People's Court of Hebei designed the program in the hopes that Chinese citizens would snitch on one another. "It's a part of our measures to enforce our rulings and create a socially credible environment," said a spokesman of the court.

News of the app has caused quite a bit of controversy after it was originally reported by the state-run China Daily. It is an extension to China's existing "social credit" system which scores people based on how they act in public. It's no secret that China keeps a very close watch on its citizens, but this new public shaming approach takes it one step further. The app is available through the WeChat platform, which has become immensely popular in China.

Posted by Megalith January 27, 2019 9:50 AM (CST)

Facebook Willingly Encouraged Kids to Unknowingly Spend Money

If you're reading this, you're probably desensitized to bad news about Facebook by now. But, according a recent report from Reveal, Facebook was allegedly involved in a class action lawsuit over duping "game-playing kids and their parents out of money," and this particular rabbit hole seems to go deeper than usual. The documents, which seemingly contain internal Facebook correspondence, paint a picture of Facebook actively encouraging developers to make deceptive games. A document alleges that some children didn't even know they were spending money on their parent's credit card, and that Facebook was aware of that fact. Others claim that some Facebook employees not only recognized the issues, but developed solutions to solve them, yet Facebook chose not to implement them over fears of lost revenue. One document even says that Facebook developed an automated "dispute button" to automatically handle credit card chargeback requests, and another says they encouraged developers to give out in-game rewards instead of offering angry customers monetary refunds. The accusations go on and on, and Reveal says that Facebook fought to get most of the files related to the case sealed, before finally settling in 2016, though the publication also mentions they somehow got involved in the case last year. Thanks to Schtask for the tip.

As of 2014, Children and their parents were still clawing back money from Facebook at extremely high rates. About 9 percent of the revenue Facebook made off kids was eventually charged back by the credit card companies as recently as March, 2014. That is nearly identical to the extraordinary rates Facebook first noticed more than three years earlier. In effect, the company had done nothing to change it. In 2016, Facebook decided to settle the case, and agreed "to dedicate an internal queue to refund requests for in-app purchases made by U.S. minors." Facebook issued this statement in response to a request for interview: "We were contacted by the Center for Investigative Reporting last year, and we voluntarily unsealed documents related to a 2012 case about our refund policies for in-app purchases that parents believe were made in error by their minor children. We intend to release additional documents as instructed by the court. Facebook works with parents and experts to offer tools for families navigating Facebook and the web. As part of that work, we routinely examine our own practices, and in 2016 agreed to update our terms and provide dedicated resources for refund requests related to purchased made by minors on Facebook."

Posted by alphaatlas January 25, 2019 12:32 PM (CST)

Possible Patent For Post Navi GPU Architecture Spotted

Previous roadmaps suggested that AMD would move away from the GCN architecture after Navi, but we may have just gotten a little more detail on what the next gen "Arcturus" GPU could be. KOMACHI_ENSAKA, one of the first Twitter users who spotted the allegedly leaked Gonzalo APU, just found a patent filed by AMD last month for what may be a post Navi GPU architecture. According to PCGamesN's initial analysis of the new patent, as well as an another patent that surfaced in May last year, the new GPU will move some of the resources shared within a compute unit into the individual stream processors, which the author suggests is similar to the approach used by Nvidia's more recent architectures.

With AMD's graphics architecture already heavily compute-focused anyway, the next-gen Arcturus (maybe) design could end up being a monster on that front. And with that much complex silicon inside each stream processor in the compute unit - not a million miles away from the streaming multiprocessor (SM) design Nvidia has been using to pack out its own GPUs with - there's the potential for not only the WinML promise of a DLSS-like feature, but genuine DXR support could also find its way into the 2020 AMD architecture. The flip-side of the more complex stream processors is that they should also represent a lower power system too. It is designed to bypass certain buffers and avoid the duplicated use of resources, and has a cache recycling system which means it doesn't need to re-fetch data the stream processor needs to work on again.

Posted by alphaatlas January 21, 2019 11:43 AM (CST)

Tesla Encourages Auto Hacking with a Model 3 Giveaway

As cars get smarter, they also become more vulnerable to digital saboteurs. We've reported on several incidents where hackers managed to unlock a drive a Tesla away, but the company has repeatedly reaffirmed its commitment to security, as it did again this week. A post on the Zero Day Initiative's blog announced that, in "partnership with Tesla," prizes ranging from $35,000 to $300,000 will be awarded to hackers who can worm their way into a Tesla Model 3 at this year's Pwn2Own competition. In addition, the first researcher to break in will get a brand new Model 3. The specific hack categories are outlined in the post, and Tesla is awarding a particularly large amount of money for a "Gateway, Autopilot, or VCSEC" hack. Additionally, VMware and Microsoft are also giving out rewards for finding vulnerabilities in and Office, web browsers, and other software.

Starting in 2007, Pwn2Own has evolved from a small demonstration with prizes averaging around $10,000 per exploit, to one of the most well-known security contests in the industry, with millions of dollars of cash and prizes made available to contestants over the years. The contest serves as more than just an annual check-in on the state of browser and OS security. It also guides researchers as we add new categories and increase cash awards. Over the years, new veins of security research were mined after being a target of Pwn2Own. We saw that with exploit techniques like sandbox escapes, mitigation bypasses, and guest-to-host OS escalations. This year, on March 20-22 at the CanSecWest conference, we hope to see that research expand into our newest category, Automotive with the addition of the Tesla Model 3, which has quickly become the best-selling car in its class in the United States.

Posted by alphaatlas January 15, 2019 8:52 AM (CST)

Netflix Password Sharing May Soon Be Impossible Due to New AI Tracking

UK-based Synamedia has unveiled new artificial intelligence software that could put an end to password sharing on streaming services. The product relies on machine learning, which can "analyze account activity and recognize unusual patterns, such as account details being used in two locations within similar time periods." Companies claim they have lost billions due to credential sharing.

The idea is to spot instances of customers sharing their account credentials illegally and offering them a premium shared account service that will authorize a limited level of password sharing. "Casual credentials sharing is becoming too expensive to ignore. Our new solution gives operators the ability to take action," said Jean Marc Racine, Synamedia's chief product officer.

Posted by Megalith January 12, 2019 3:25 PM (CST)

Future Windows 10 Builds Will Reserve Storage and Tabulate It

According to a recent Microsoft TechNet blog post, future versions of Windows 10 will automatically set aside several gigabytes of storage for updates and other Windows-related features. The post says that the reserved space will shrink the apparent size of regular, user accessible disk space, so don't be surprised if your SSD seems to shrink when you install a new Windows Insider build. While it's easy to point fingers at Microsoft and claim that Windows is unnecessarily eating up drive space, full system drives often create headaches for Windows Update, and this "reserved" space could finally alleviate that longstanding issue. In addition, the new build of Windows seems to have a "System & Reserved" settings menu that nicely tabulates just how much space Windows 10 is eating up, and the hibernation file is significantly smaller than the multi-gigabyte files on 2 desktops I just installed fresh copies of Windows 10 on. Thanks to Monkey34 for the tip.

Instead we designed an elegant solution that would require new support being added to NTFS. The idea is NTFS provides a mechanism for the servicing stack to specify how much space it needs reserved, say 7GB. Then NTFS reserves that 7GB for servicing usage only. What is the effect of that? Well the visible free space on C: drops by 7GB, which reduces how much space normal applications can use. Servicing can use those 7GB however. And as servicing eats into those 7GB, the visible free space on C: is not affected (unless servicing uses beyond the 7GB that was reserved). The way NTFS knows to use the reserved space as opposed to the general user space is that servicing marks its own files and directories in a special way. You can see that this mechanism has similar free space characteristics as using a separate partition or a VHDX, yet the files seamlessly live in the same namespace which is a huge benefit. It’s not quotas. Whereas quotas define the maximum amount of space a user can use, this mechanism is guaranteeing a minimum amount of space. It’s sort of the opposite of quotas.

Posted by alphaatlas January 09, 2019 10:00 AM (CST)

Hardware Unboxed Considers Ending Day One GeForce Coverage

RTX 2060 reviews are up across the web, or at least they are on sites that signed Nvidia's NDA. But Steve Walton of Hardware Unboxed, who also writes some of Techspot's hardware reviews, just posted an update to their RTX 2060 coverage. Apparently, Hardware Unboxed still hasn't received the RTX 2060 they were promised, and Steve suspects that's because Techspot's previous RTX review scores were slightly less than perfect. I'm not going to put any more words into his mouth, so you should check out his reasoning in the video below:

In his latest Hardware Unboxed video however he's inevitably feeling a little cranky. We'll let him explain in his own words, but long story short TechSpot/HUB did not receive an RTX 2060 graphics card for review like most other outlets. In fact, while following the regular process to get early access to the new hardware, we were left out in the cold, without prior knowledge the 2060 reviews would go live right after CEO Jensen Huang's keynote. Considering we're one of the few teams doing the kind of in-depth benchmarking and day one coverage on things such as ray tracing and DLSS, as well as our long history of reviewing Nvidia products... that may be more than enough reason to feel overly frustrated about this. Perhaps, Nvidia was feeling a little frustrated themselves when we didn't give their RTX hardware the warm reception they expected (see our top GPU picks here), but we'll stick to our methods and continue to provide the most honest reviews we can.

Thanks to cageymaru for the tip. Discussion
Posted by alphaatlas January 09, 2019 8:43 AM (CST)