There is concern that the cybercriminals responsible for compromising Sony Pictures Entertainment, and then leaking stolen information, cannot face justice if being protected by North Korea, according to US officials. If North Korea sponsored the attack, likely recruiting hackers outside of the country to lend a hand, it would be difficult for them to face justice in the United States, according to an unnamed U.S. official.
Trying to accurately identify and detain hackers has been difficult for the United States and other western nations - as extradition for cybercrimes only happens in extreme cases. Even if the FBI and cybersecurity companies identify those responsible, they should be able to hide and remain safe.
"The Interview" will still launch on Christmas Day next week, but it's unknown how many theaters will actually show the movie following threats against theaters. Expect the Guardians of Peace to release more data stolen from Sony, as they were reportedly able to steal 100 terabytes of information from Sony's networks.
Sony Pictures has blinked in the battle waged against the release of 'The Interview' and the company itself, announcing that the planned Christmas release of the film has been cancelled. In an official statement released just moments ago, Sony Pictures said:
In light of the decision by the majority of our exhibitors not to show the film The Interview, we have decided not to move forward with the planned December 25 theatrical release. We respect and understand our partners' decision and, of course, completely share their paramount interest in the safety of employees and theater-goers.
Sony Pictures has been the victim of an unprecedented criminal assault against our employees, our customers, and our business. Those who attacked us stole our intellectual property, private emails, and sensitive and proprietary material, and sought to destroy our spirit and our morale - all apparently to thwart the release of a movie they did not like. We are deeply saddened at this brazen effort to suppress the distribution of a movie, and in the process do damage to our company, our employees, and the American public. We stand by our filmmakers and their right to free expression and are extremely disappointed by this outcome.
No word yet on what this means for international markets, but its assumed that these will suffer the same fate.
BlackBerry has publicly launched its Classic smartphone, the company's latest effort to appeal to consumers that have been lost to Google Android-powered smartphones and the Apple iPhone. Classic should be somewhat nostalgic for consumers, as its physical design resembles something close to the Bold and Curve smartphones.
The device is powered by BlackBerry 10, utilizes a physical QWERTY keyboard, dual-core Qualcomm processor, 16GB storage, 8-megapixel rear-camera and 2-megapixel front camera, and 3.5-inch display. AT&T and Verizon Wireless plan to offer Classic in the United States - an unlocked version of the phone is available for $449.
"The conversation about BlackBerry has changed in the last year," said John Chen, BlackBerry CEO, during a launch event at Cipriani restaurant in Manhattan. "We are here to stay, there is no question about that. Now we have to engineer our growth."
iRobot has announced the Create 2, a preassembled robot platform that is based off the company's successful Roomba robot. This new platform will allow educators to boost interest in STEM research among students, with a robot unit, 3D printable files, faceplate drilling template, and educational instructions and projects lined up for students.
The platform is now available for $199.99, and has everything necessary for students to immediately begin developing their own robotics platform.
"As a global leader in robotics technology, iRobot believes its greatest social responsibility is to ignite students' passion for STEM-related careers through the excitement of robots," said Colin Angle, iRobot chairman and CEO, in a press statement. "Robots have a cool factor unlike any other learning tool. Create 2, with its online resources, reliable hardware born of the award winning Roomba, and ease of customization simply delivers more robot than anything available to students an educators at or near its price. We are so excited to be able to make this available to the educational community."
Shipments of connected wearables will reach 19 million by the end of the year, impressive growth from 5.9 million devices in 2013, according to Berg Insight. Smartwatches, smart glasses, fitness & activity trackers, people monitoring and safety devices will see a 54.7 percent compound annual growth rate and reach 168.2 million units in 2019.
Bluetooth will be the No. 1 connectivity option, but embedded cellular connectivity will increase, largely in part to smartwatches and people monitoring and safety products. Smart wearables are going to greatly increase as the Apple Watch hits the market in 2015, introducing new consumers to the booming market.
"This product category is now facing fierce competition from smartwatches that have activity tracking features," said Johan Svanberg, Berg Insight Senior Analyst, in a press statement. "Decreasing prices and new form factors will still enable dedicated fitness & activity trackers to reach shipments of 42 million units in 2019."
AMC Theatres has partnered with MoviePass to launch a pilot theater subscription service that will allow subscribers to see movies for a monthly fee, instead of per screening. The standard MoviePass subscription allows for one movie per day in 2D for $35 per month, while the MoviePass Premium costs $45 per month and allows for one movie per day in any presentation format.
The trial will launch in Boston and Denver starting in early 2015, the companies said in a press release.
"This is the first time a premium level subscription service has been launched in the U.S. and marks a significant step forward by offering passionate movie lovers the premium sight and sound experiences available in movie theatres," said Stacy Spikes, MoviePass CEO and co-founder, in a press statement.
Time has partnered with Coinbase to begin accepting bitcoin payments for digital and print subscriptions of Fortune, Health, Travel + Leisure and This Old House. This is a major victory for Coinbase and the bitcoin community, as Time's online and print media reaches 130 million consumers every month - and surely some of them own bitcoins.
"We are always looking for ways to make it easier for consumers to engage with our brands and this pilot program will give bitcoin users a seamless and simple way to purchase subscriptions," said Lynne Biggar, executive vice president of consumer marketing and revenue at Time, in a press statement. "We hope to expand our partnership with Coinbase in the coming months to create more opportunities to provide greater value to our customers."
Bitcoins continue to be extremely volatile, with value fluctuating as many investors question its long-term financial stability. However, that doesn't mean retailers and other businesses have shied away, as they want to accept whatever payment methods its shoppers use.
Apple's draconian move to disable TRIM software support in the latest versions of OS X has left only one third-party SSD manufacturer that supports TRIM. Angelbird natively supports TRIM in OS X, a feat others haven't been able to accomplish without TRIM Enabler software. Apple removing TRIM Enabler compatibility has forced users to expose their system to malware by disabling key security features, or to simply not use TRIM with their third-party SSDs. Other third-party SSD manufacturers rely upon garbage collection in lieu of TRIM, but as any enthusiast with rudimentary knowledge can explain, garbage collection doesn't keep performance as snappy as a TRIM-enabled system.
Angelbird's wrk SSD now comes in capacities up to 1TB. The wrk utilizes an SMI 2246EN controller, and the case is made of a matte-black anodized aluminum. Sequential read/write speeds weigh in at 564/456 MB/s, respectively. The SSD also tops out at 72,000 random read IOPS. The 1TB wrk retails for $599.99, which is comparable to other Apple-specific SSDs, especially considering it is the only line of SSDs that natively supports an integral feature required for sustained performance.
The US Navy and Boston Engineering created a new underwater drone called the GhostSwimmer, a reconnaissance drone that looks just like a shark. GhostSwimmer measures five feet in length, weighs around 100 pounds, and can "swim" in water from 10 inches to 300 feet in depth. The UUV can operate while tethered or swim independently, with personnel controlling it using joysticks.
"GhostSwimmer will allow the Navy to have success during more types of missions while keeping divers and sailors safe," said Michael Rufo, Boston Engineering Advanced System Group director, in a press statement.
The US Navy has boosted efforts to create a fleet of unmanned underwater vehicles (UUVs) it can use or reconnaissance, security - and one day help launch stealth attacks - against select targets. There is increased research into robotics and drone development based on natural movement of wild animals.
The hacker group reportedly behind a major cyberattack against Sony Pictures Entertainment is getting what they want - as Sony tells theaters they don't need to show "The Interview" due to terror threats. The movie is scheduled for release on Christmas, Dec. 25, and it would appear some theaters have already said they won't show the controversial film.
Movie theaters that decide to still show the film plan to use additional security - even if there has been no credible evidence a plot is in place - with AMC, Cinemark, Regal and Carmike all suffering a drop in stock values because of the threat.
"Somebody is playing mind games with [Sony]," said Richard Clarke, cybersecurity expert and former White House counter-terrorism lead, in a statement published by Good Morning America. "I think North Korea has little or no capability to do any physical attacks, commando activity, or terrorism in the U.S. By saying it's coming, however, they hope to keep people from the theaters and, thereby, hurt Sony's revenue."