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A Reminder from AMD: Our Processors Aren't Affected by New "SPOILER" Vulnerability

AMD has published a support article confirming its chips should be immune to "SPOILER," a new CPU vulnerability outlined by computer scientists at Worcester Polytechnic Institute and the University of Lubeck. As explained in their paper, SPOILER takes advantage of "a weakness in the address speculation of Intel’s proprietary implementation of the memory subsystem." This makes it easier for memory attacks such as "Rowhammer" to be carried out, but evidently, only Intel users need worry.

We are aware of the report of a new security exploit called SPOILER which can gain access to partial address information during load operations. We believe that our products are not susceptible to this issue because of our unique processor architecture. The SPOILER exploit can gain access to partial address information above address bit 11 during load operations. We believe that our products are not susceptible to this issue because AMD processors do not use partial address matches above address bit 11 when resolving load conflicts.

Discussion
Posted by Megalith March 17, 2019 4:40 PM (CDT)

Get Ready for Targeted Ads on Your Smart TV

Disney, Comcast, NBCUniversal, and other top media companies have teamed up with VIZIO for a new standard that will bring targeted ads to television viewers. VIZIO, which recently lost $2.2 million after being caught tracking and selling viewing data using software on its Smart TVs, claims targeted ads, which are "relevant" to the household, will "drastically enhance" the viewing experience.

The companies are calling themselves a consortium, and they've dubbed this "Project OAR," or Open Addressable Ready. Once developed, the new, open standard will make it possible for all connected TV companies to sell targeted ads in scheduled and on-demand programs. While this will theoretically make ads more successful and therefore more valuable, it also means viewers' data will be shared with third parties. That raises the usual data privacy concerns.

Discussion
Posted by Megalith March 17, 2019 2:45 PM (CDT)

Valve Addresses Review Bombing on Steam by Removing Them from Review Scores

To mitigate the effects of review bombing, Valve announced Friday it has a built a tool that would identify and alert the moderation team of any game with "anomalous review activity." After a case of review bombing is confirmed, the reviews submitted under this time period would then be removed from the review score calculation. Gamers can opt out of this change, however, and "off-topic review bombs" will remain on the site for anyone curious enough to read them.

Once our team has identified that the anomalous activity is an off-topic review bomb, we'll mark the time period it encompasses and notify the developer. The reviews within that time period will then be removed from the Review Score calculation. As before, the reviews themselves are left untouched - if you want to dig into them to see if they're relevant to you, you'll still be able to do so. To help you do that, we've made it clear when you're looking at a store page where we've removed some reviews by default, and we've further improved the UI around anomalous review periods.

Discussion
Posted by Megalith March 17, 2019 9:30 AM (CDT)

Western Digital Launches Budget WD Blue SN500 NVMe SSD

Western Digital has announced its new WD Blue SN500 NVMe SSD product line that features budget friendly offerings. The Manufacturer's Suggested Retail Price (MSRP) in the U.S. is $54.99 USD for 250GB (model number: WDS250G1B0C) and $77.99 USD for 500GB (model number: WDS500G1B0C). The drives feature a single-sided M.2 2280 PCIe Gen3 x2 form factor that makes them perfect for slim form factor notebooks or desktop PCs. Although the drives will appeal to price-conscious consumers, they are built on Western Digital's own 3D NAND technology, firmware and controller, and delivers sequential read and write speeds up to 1,700MB/s and 1,450MB/s respectively (for 500GB model) with efficient power consumption as low as 2.7W. The drives feature a downloadable SSD dashboard to help monitor drive health and a 5-year limited warranty.

"Content transitioning from 4K and 8K means it's a perfect time for video and photo editors, content creators, heavy data users, and PC enthusiasts to transition from SATA to NVMe," said Eyal Bek, vice president marketing, data center and client computing, Western Digital. "The WD Blue SN500 NVMe SSD will enable customers to build high-performance laptops and PCs with fast speeds and enough capacity in a reliable, rugged and slim form factor."

Discussion
Posted by cageymaru March 14, 2019 12:37 PM (CDT)

Twitch Streamer Ninja Was Paid $1 Million by EA to Stream 'Apex Legends'

According to Reuters, Twitch streamer Ninja was paid $1 million to stream the battle royale game 'Apex Legends' to his 13 million followers on February 5, 2019. He also tweeted about the event to his fans. $1 million "is more than twice media reports of Ninja's monthly earnings from streaming his regular appearances on Fortnite." EA greatly benefited from the promotion as its "stock price and market value rose 16 percent, or $4 billion, in the three days after Apex Legends launched and a month later the game has 50 million users, a quarter of Fortnite's 200 million." Other popular Twitch and YouTube stars such as Shroud were compensated to play the game. Shroud recently fell off his scooter at 55 mph and severely injured his "keyboard" arm. He wasn't wearing safety equipment. His friend Just9n explains what happened in this NSFW video due to language. Shroud documented his injuries on his Twitter account.

"They did a fairly comprehensive job at pulling together all of the relevant game influencers in this genre," said Kevin Knocke, a vice president at esports infrastructure firm ReKTGlobal. "This was a really well coordinated poaching of the top influencers the likes of which has not been seen so far in esports," he said, suggesting that EA had also roped in streamers better-known for playing other blockbusters like "Call of Duty" or "PUBG". "We really wanted to create a day where you couldn't escape Apex if you cared about games and we wanted it to feel like an event was happening everywhere around the globe on that day," Drew McCoy, lead producer at the EA studio that created Apex Legends, said in an interview. "We had streamers from all over Europe, LatAm, North America, Korea, Japan so that we could get our message out there and people would see the game," he said.

Discussion
Posted by cageymaru March 13, 2019 11:20 PM (CDT)

Gigabyte Factory Tour Shows Motherboard Manufacturing from Start-To-Finish

Gamers Nexus recently took a tour of the Gigabyte factory located on Nanping Road in Taiwan. At this location, Gigabyte manufacturers both video cards and motherboards. Although most of the SMT factory is automated, some of the components and wires must be installed by hand. It takes 40 - 50 minutes for a motherboard to be created and Gigabyte processes 600 - 800 motherboards per hour or about 5,000 per 8 hour workday. Make sure that you compare the Gigabyte tour to the MSI factory tour that Hardocp documented in 2007. I thought it was fascinating that the Gigabyte "museum" featured test equipment similar to what Hardocp observed over a decade ago. My, how things have changed!

Motherboard manufacturing is a refined process, but each board still takes upwards of an hour to finalize on the assembly line. About half of the assembly is now done by automated SMT lines, with the rest being manual quality checks and large component installation (like PCIe slots). As for how to make a video card, it follows exactly the same process -- the difference is just which board is being fed through the machines on each day.

Discussion
Posted by cageymaru March 13, 2019 8:59 PM (CDT)

Facebook Outage Caused by BGP Routing Error

NETSCOUT has released a statement to BleepingComputer that the Facebook and Instagram outages were caused by a BGP routing error.

"'At approximately 12:52PM EST on March 13th, 2019, it appears that an accidental BGP routing leak from a European ISP to a major transit ISP, which was then propagated onwards to some peers and/or downstreams of the transit ISP in question, resulted in perceptible disruption of access to some well-known Internet properties for a short interval. While not malicious in nature, such events can prove disruptive on a widespread basis. It is very important that all network operators implement BGP peering best current practices (BCPs), including prefix-lists, max-prefixes, 'peer-locking' via AS-PATH filters, RPKI Origin Validation (RFC6811), and other techniques incorporated into the industry Mutually Agreed Norms for Routing Security (MANRS) detailed at .' -Roland Dobbins, NETSCOUT Principal Engineer"

Discussion
Posted by cageymaru March 13, 2019 5:30 PM (CDT)

Citrix Hacked by a Cyberespionage Group

Cloud service, VoIP and remote management software provider Citrix has reportedly been hit by an Irianian-linked hacker group. A little less than a week ago, Citrix posted a notice on their website saying the FBI believed "international cyber criminals gained access to the internal Citrix network." The press release wasn't particularly alarming, as it says that "there is no indication that the security of any Citrix product or service was compromised" even though hackers "may have accessed and downloaded business documents." However, a separate report from the cyber security firm Resecurity claims that the Iranian hacker group IRIDIUM was behind the attack, and that they had access to "6 terabytes of sensitive data stored in the Citrix enterprise network, including e-mail correspondence, files in network shares and other services used for project management and procurement." Even more worryingly, the security firm says they warned Citrix on December 28, 2018, but as far as I can tell, the company hasn't posted a public response until today. Citrix was reportedly the victim of a password spraying attack, where a small pool of commonly used passwords are used to brute force a large number of accounts, and Resecurity seems to think that this attack is a small component of a larger campaign.

The Iranian-linked group known as IRIDIUM has hit more than 200 government agencies, oil and gas companies and technology companies including Citrix Systems, Inc... Friday, December 28, 2018 at 10:25 AM - Resecurity reached out to Citrix and shared an early warning notification about a targeted attack and data breach. Based on the timing and further dynamics, the attack was planned and organized specifically during Christmas period. The incident has been identified as a part of a sophisticated cyberespionage campaign supported by nation-state due to strong targeting against government, military-industrial complex, energy companies, financial institutions and large enterprises involved in critical areas of economy... We forecast a continued growth of targeted cyber-attacks on supply chains of government and large enterprises organized by state-actors and sophisticated cyberespionage groups.

Discussion
Posted by alphaatlas March 13, 2019 9:41 AM (CDT)

Doom: Annihilation Gets a Trailer

Following speculation and confirmation last year, Universal 1440 Entertainment has just published a trailer for the upcoming DOOM movie. As was previously reported, Doom: Annihilation will be a direct-to-video adaptation of the video games, though just how close it will stay to the source remains to be seen. Check out the trailer below:

Described as an "intense action-packed" all-new installment, the movie will be released in Fall 2019. Bloody Disgusting has the exclusive world trailer premiere for Annihilation, which carries shades of James Cameron's Aliens and looks like a damn good time. Will we see the return of the BFG? The sequel follows a group of space marines as they respond to a distress call from a base on a Martian moon, only to discover it's been overrun by demonic creatures who threaten to create Hell on Earth. Doom: Annihilation was written and directed by Tony Giglio (S.W.A.T.: Under Siege), and stars Amy Manson ("Atlantis"), Dominic Mafham (Ophelia), Luke Allen-Gale ("Dominion") and Nina Bergman (The Car: Road to Revenge). Lorenzo Di Bonaventura (Bumblebee) and John Wells ("Animal Kingdom") executive produced, with producers including Jeffery Beach (Jarhead 3: The Siege), Phillip Roth (Death Race: 4 Beyond Anarchy) and Ogden Gavanski (Cult of Chucky).

Discussion
Posted by alphaatlas March 11, 2019 12:22 PM (CDT)

Controversial Game Pulled by Steam after Outcry

Valve announced it would not be shipping one of its most controversial titles to date Wednesday, proving its "lax" policies still have limits. An official statement on the Steam blog suggests games may be assessed on a case-by-case basis, the fate of which could be directly proportional to how much negative media attention they generate. UK politicians have called for a government review of Steam.

While the game hadn’t officially launched yet, its product page was offensive enough to catch attention and widespread condemnation. A Change.org petition gathered nearly 8,000 signatures calling for the game’s removal from Steam. Valve, the company that owns Steam, delisted the title on Wednesday saying, "After significant fact-finding and discussion, we think ‘Rape Day’ poses unknown costs and risks and therefore won’t be on Steam."

Discussion
Posted by Megalith March 10, 2019 5:55 PM (CDT)

Pirated 4K Release Suggests iTunes DRM May be Breached

In the world of pirated content, the titles of downloadable videos usually give some indication as to how they were encoded. "h264," for example usually means a video is encoded with the AVC codec, while "CAM, DVDRip, WEBRip, and Web-DL" specify the source of the video (namely, camera footage in a theater, a DVD rip, a stream capture, or a direct download). Yesterday, TorrentFreak claims they found a video titled "Aquaman.2018.2160p.WEB-DL.DDP5.1.HDR.HEVC-MOMA" shortly after Aquaman went on sale on iTunes. Given the timing and the title, as well as additional info from their "source," they believe that MOMA managed to circumvent the DRM used in Apple's 4K iTunes streams. 4K Web-DL releases for "Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse" and "Can You Ever Forgive Me?" from the "Deflate" group have appeared as well, but it's unclear if, or how, these groups bypassed Apple's protection mechanisms.

TorrentFreak reached out to Apple for a comment and more background information but at the time of publication, we have yet to hear back. While this would be the first ever 4K WEB-DL from iTunes, it’s too soon to jump to conclusions. Some have suggested that the release could somehow be mislabeled. We can't rule anything out but since the 4K digital version is not widely available, there are few other possible sources. In addition, the release has been posted by reputable sources who are certainly not known for making stuff up... "Apple has 4k only on Apple TV running tvOS. I assume they skipped checks, if the device is jailbroken, and someone just dumped the encrypted stream and decrypted it via what's in memory as keys," says our source, who prefers to remain anonymous.

Discussion
Posted by alphaatlas March 07, 2019 11:09 AM (CST)

Frontier Gets a License for a Major Global IP

According to a recent report from the London Stock Exchange, Frontier Developments, the studio that is perhaps best known for Planet Coaster and Elite Dangerous, has signed a "major global IP licence to develop and publish a future game." Frontier mentioned that it expects the game will take about 2 years to complete, and that they will work on downloadable content designed for "both PC and console." Just what IP they managed to grab is anyone's guess, but the wording in the report suggests the recently acquired license is different than their existing Jurassic Park license. Given their recent successes, there's a good chance Frontier will buck the trend of bad TV/Movie IP adaptations, assuming that's where the license comes from.

David Braben, Chief Executive, said: "We are delighted to confirm that one of our future releases will benefit from a major global IP licence. We are excited about our existing franchises and our future portfolio. We will continue to love, support and enhance our existing game franchises as we build new ones."

Discussion
Posted by alphaatlas March 06, 2019 12:24 PM (CST)