Sony Pictures is facing a public relations nightmare after a major data breach orchestrated by North Korea, and company executives just can't stop the bleeding. The data breach could become the costliest suffered by a U.S. company, with fallout that will surely continue into 2015. Beyond the sensitive documents and personal information stolen, along with the cancellation of "The Interview," there is a strong possibility some actors will avoid Sony in the future.
It remains unclear how much Sony will lose because of the cyberattack, but lawsuits, lost revenue because of "The Interview" being pulled, and other problems will only complicate matters even further.
"This attack went to the heart and core of Sony's business and succeeded," said Avivah Litan, Gartner cybersecurity analyst. "We haven't seen any attack like this in the annals of U.S. breach history."
Thanks to Oculus and their advanced technology, scientists are conducting "virtual body swapping" studies - putting clients through a literal experience of the "don't judge a man until you've walked a mile in his shoes" common saying.
One of the main reasons behind conducting these experiments is to test negative attitudes geared toward specific groups - as according to Manos Tsakiris from the Royal Holloway University of London. Tsakiris is one of the authors of a new paper published in a journal named "Trends in Cognitive Sciences".
Further commenting on this study, Tsakiris said "once you change people's representations of what their bodies are like, then you can change their social cognition, which is the way in which we relate to others" - wrapping up the success of multiple studies conducted over many years, set to fight bias.
North Korea could be using the cyberattack against Sony Pictures as a test run to try out its budding cyber capabilities, with the reclusive government potentially taking aim at US energy companies and critical infrastructure. Despite much of the Western world ignoring its growing cyber ambitions, it looks like North Korea has been able to increase its cyber weapons.
"North Korea's ultimate goal in cyber strategy is to be able to attack national infrastructure of South Korea and the United States," said Kim Heung-kwang, a North Korean defector and former computer science professor. "The hacking of Sony Pictures is similar to previous attacks that were blamed on North Korea and is a result of training and efforts made with the goal of destroying infrastructure."
The North Korean government has poured resources into its Bureau 121 cyber warfare unit, recruiting some of the nation's best computer experts - with most of the department's agents originating from the North Korean military computer school. It has successfully attacked targets in South Korea on several occasions, as some networks remain vulnerable to attack.
It wasn't too long ago when the Kepler planet-hunting spacecraft was considered a lost cause, due to problems with its reaction wheels. Instead, the spacecraft proved its worth yet again, as it found the HIP 116454b exoplanet, larger than Earth and smaller than Neptune, orbiting around a star in just nine days. The planet is too hot for life, and is more than 180 light-years away from Earth, located in the Pisces constellation.
Planets such as HIP 116454b are good prospects for future follow-up ground studies, as researchers try to gain mass measurements.
"Today, thanks to an innovative idea and lots of hard work by the NASA and Ball Aerospace team, Kepler may well deliver the first candidates for follow-up study by the James Webb Space Telescope to characterize the atmospheres of distance world's and search for signatures of life," said Paul Hertz, NASA astrophysics division director.
Busted! Oscar Ramirez, 48, was caught by Port Authority Transportation Security Administration (TSA) officials trying to smuggle a .22-caliber semi-automatic handgun inside of a Sony PlayStation 2 game console. Ramirez was attempting to fly from John F. Kennedy International Airport in New York City to Mexico City Mexico, but the Brooklyn man was caught before getting onboard.
Things didn't look right when the console went through x-ray, and officers found the weapon's hand grip and other parts inside of the bottom of the console housing. Ramirez now faces a weapons charge for trying to take the hand gun with him.
The TSA has found 2,100 weapons during airport checkpoints so far in 2013, a 16 percent increase year-over-year.
The U.N. General Assembly wants better digital privacy protections for Internet users, which was drafted by Germany and Brazil, earning consensus approval. Former NSA contractor Edward Snowden revealed mass surveillance capabilities by the NSA and GCHQ, which has angered a large number of Internet users.
The UN resolution, which was co-sponsored by 65 nations - as opposed to just 10 in 2013 - will also rely on private sector companies to play a role.
Previously, the UN showed great concern over Internet users' rights to digital privacy, with great concern of covert surveillance programs. "Without the necessary checks, we risk turning into Orwellian states, where every step of every citizen is being monitored and recorded in order to prevent any conceivable crime," said Harald Braun, German ambassador.
It looks like Microsoft could continue its rampage into 2015, with the latest rumor that the Redmond-based giant will unveil a VR headset at E3 2015 in June. We heard earlier in the year that Microsoft was working on "an investment in VR," so we shouldn't be surprised of this news.
The report is coming from DigiTimes, according to their sources within the Microsoft supply chain that the company is working on a new VR gaming device. Development of the project is handled by the same team that has built the Surface line of devices, but that's all we know. We don't know if this VR device from Microsoft would work as a standalone product, or whether it would tie into the Xbox One.
I think we will see Microsoft step into the VR game at some point, because their major competitor, Sony, is already ahead of them with their own PlayStation 4 exclusive "Project Morpheus" headset. Oculus VR is obviously at the top of their game with the Rift, which will most likely lead the pack and have everyone else just following through trying to cash in on VR, unless they do it right.
It almost seems like vulnerabilities in hardware and software is all that's hitting the news in the past few days. We've reported on multiple issues ranging from the "Grinch" Linux flaw to the vulnerability in SS7's mobile network towers rendering our text messages and phone calls open for all prying eyes.
In recent news, a vulnerability in router software has opened up millions of devices to hacking. This is apparently achieved by the hacker "sending a specially crafted request to RomPager, an embedded Web server running on them" as according to PC World.
Once access has been gained, the hacker then has full control over any in-home security, systems or devices connected to the network - meaning they can steal your data, alter your information or utilize your technology to launch attacks against other systems. It gives them the ability to strip SSL from secure connections and also hijack your DNS settings, listing dodgy websites as 'safe' for your personal computers - opening you up to more malicious attacks.
After the City of Portland sued Uber for not adhering its transportation rules, the company is moving toward somewhat of a solution with Portland.
Uber has since taken its cars off the roads of Portland as of December 21, while officials work around the clock on new regulations. The City of Portland has said that if the new rules aren't set within the next three months, Uber will be allowed back onto the roads, picking customers up once again.
Have you ever noticed how a day out in the woods, filling fresh air into your lungs makes you feel a little bit better? Well, seems you aren't alone, and it's even being increasingly prescribed by doctors as an alternative to medication. According to an article on Mother Nature Network, DC Park Rx, a health initiative combining the American Academy of Pediatrics, the National Park Service, the D.C. departments of Health and Parks and Recreation, U.S. Health and Human Services, National Environmental Education Foundation, George Washington University, National American Academy of Pediatrics, and the National Recreation and Parks Association have joined forces to encourage US doctors to look at an alternative, alternative prescription for patients.
Apparently, their efforts are working, with more than 500 nature prescriptions have been written by health care providers in Washington D.C. Whilst there has yet to be an official finding, anecdotal evidence thus far is said to be positive. So go AFK for a bit. It could be good for your health.