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Staples hit by data breach, with customers in Northeast hit

By: Michael Hatamoto | More News: Hacking & Security | Posted: 14 hours, 52 mins ago

Office retailer Staples was the latest high-profile company hit by a data breach, with customers in the Northeastern United States affected. The US Secret Service is now investigating the incident, which involved debit and credit card data of an unknown number of customers. It appears retail locations in Pennsylvania, New Jersey and New York were hit, but it's possible stores in other states were also targeted.

 

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"We take the protection of customers information very seriously, and are working to resolve the situation," Staples said in a statement. "If Staples discovers an issue, it is important to note that customers are not responsible for any fraudulent activity on their credit cards that is reported on a timely basis."

 

Retailers are struggling to keep data secure, as similar attacks have victimized Target, Home Depot, Kmart, Sears, with millions of customers across the country affected by these breaches.

Sunset Overdrive on Xbox One at 900p allowed more mayhem, still 30FPS

By: Anthony Garreffa | More News: Gaming | Posted: 14 hours, 56 mins ago

Sunset Overdrive hits the Xbox One as an exclusive to Microsoft's console on October 28, but days before its release, the developer behind the game has started talking about why they changed from running the game at 1080p, to 900p.

 

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The downshift in resolution allowed the developer to have more on-screen action, as 1080p would've seen a reduction in on-screen mayhem as the frame rate would obviously drop. Creative Director with Insomniac Games, Marcus Smith, said: "Why would you want less action on screen? That's insanity. 900p works perfect for us. We spent a lot of time comparing and contrasting. We had it running at 1080p, we'd play it; we had it running at 900p, we'd play it and they didn't look considerably different. But the things that you could draw on screen were a lot more, and we wanted to draw a lot more on screen. More action, more better. Michael Bay would be very proud".

 

Another game where the 'next-gen' consoles, this time an Xbox One exclusive, is running the previous generation specs: 900p (or so) at 30FPS. I would've preferred to have heard they dropped to 720p and enabled AA, but bumping the frame rate up to a solid 60FPS.

Google now provides two-factor authentication with physical USB key

By: Anthony Garreffa | More News: Internet & Websites | Posted: 15 hours, 59 mins ago

aGoogle is making its two-factor authentication even safer, with the announcement of support being added for Security Key. With this, Google allows its users to purchase a physical USB stick from a third-party company that can be used as your personal identification when logging into Gmail, Chrome, or any other Google account.

 

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Once you've acquired your security key, you can plug it into your computer, press the built-in button on the dongle when asked, and voila - you're secure, and you now have a security key. This key only works after verifying the site you're logging in to, verifying that it is indeed a Google site and not some phishing attack. The device uses the FIDO Universal 2nd Factor (U2F) protocol, which means it can be used to log into other websites that support the U2F protocol, as long as you're within Chrome.

 

The service itself is free, but you'll need to secure yourself a not-so-free USB security key. Amazon currently sells FIDO U2F keys starting at around $5.99, all the way up to around $50.

Continue reading 'Google now provides two-factor authentication with physical USB key' (full post)

Windows 10 now features Action Center from Windows Phone

By: Anthony Garreffa | More News: Operating Systems | Posted: 17 hours, 54 mins ago

Microsoft has pushed out the latest build of its Windows 10 Technical Preview, with build 9860 being made available to members of the company's Windows Insider Program. As long as their PC is on, or sleeping, the update will be pushed over to down, and installed automatically.

 

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If you want to manually force this, go to PC Settings, Update and Recovery, then Preview builds and then tap on the 'Check now' button. The new update is between 2GB and 2.7GB "depending on CPU architecture and language", with the rebooting process taking a little longer than normal. Once the newest build of Windows 10 is on your machine, you'll notice it has a Windows Phone feature: Action Center.

 

Microsoft explains this as "This build is focused ONLY on enabling basic notifications - quick actions and cleaner UI will come later. You'll see notifications from the system and apps - from new emails and invites to IMs, Facebook posts and more - all-in-one place, so you don't miss a thing. Click on the new Action Center icon in the notification area of your taskbar to check it out". The company has also made it easier to move apps between monitors, and has also added an animation for switching desktops.

Samsung Knox-powered devices get approved for classified use by NSA

By: Anthony Garreffa | More News: Mobile Devices, Tablets & Phones | Posted: 18 hours, 53 mins ago

Samsung has been itching to get into that enterprise and government market, and thanks to the National Information Assurance Partnership (NIAP), a joint activity of the National Security Agency (NSA) and the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST), Samsung is now approved and has a handful of its Galaxy devices on the Commercial Solutions for Classified program listing.

 

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These devices include the Galaxy S4, Galaxy S5, Galaxy Note 3, Galaxy Note 4, Galaxy Note 10.1 (2014 Edition), Galaxy Note Edge, Galaxy Alpha, Galaxy Tab S 8.4, Galaxy Tab S 10.5, and the Galaxy IPSEC Virtual Private Network (VPN) Client. All of these devices feature Samsung's Knox technology, which is a security platform that allows users to use their smartphones and tablets for both work, and personal purposes. Samsung's CEO and President of IT and Mobile Business, JK Shin, said "The inclusion of Samsung mobile devices on the CSfC list proves the unmatched security of Samsung Galaxy devices supported by the Knox platform".

 

This move isn't a massive one, but it's a step towards something that could spell change for Samsung. A company that sells hundreds of million of handsets, Apple's biggest competitor by far, is now dealing with the government on NSA-approved smartphones and tablets with true government-ready security.

GIGABYTE teases super tiny, factory-overclocked GeForce GTX 970

By: Anthony Garreffa | More News: Video Cards | Posted: 20 hours, 16 mins ago

Mini-ITX PCs are about to get much faster thanks to GIGABYTE's new card based on the GeForce GTX 970 GPU, but arrives in a dual-slot, single-fan design that is much shorter than the standard GTX 970, perfect for tiny, but very powerful gaming PCs.

 

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The new mini-ITX based video card has an overclocked GTX 970 GPU, 4GB of RAM, a custom PCB from GIGABYTE, and a WindForce-like cooler. The custom design allows for a single 8-pin PCIe connector, versus the two 6-pin PCIe required on the normal GTX 970. GIGABYTE's custom designed cooler is quite compact, with a single, shrouded fan. We have a slight overclock on the Core and Boost speeds, from 1051MHz on the Core to 1076MHz on the GIGABYTE card, while we have Boost of 1178 on the reference GTX 970, but 1215MHz on the GIGABYTE slab.

 

Some other GTX 900 series cards actually ditch the multiple DisplayPort connectors, but not this card: we have three DisplayPorts, one HDMI, one DVI-D and a DVI-D port to finish it off. GIGABYTE says the custom cooler provides lower temperatures than the reference, with temperatures dropping from 76C to just 62C on the GIGABYTE card. Small form factor PCs have just received notice of their next GPU purchase.

Satechi launches Edge Wireless Gaming Mouse for just $19.99

By: Michael Hatamoto | More News: Gaming | Posted: 21 hours, 5 mins ago

Peripheral maker Satechi launched its Edge Wireless Gaming Mouse, designed for high-speed gaming along with traditional PC activities. The mouse supports 800, 1600, 2400 and 4000 DPI, with a 250Hz or 500Hz speed of transmission rate, and has four assigned LED colors depending on the DPI in use. The mouse is powered by two AA batteries and will automatically switch to sleep mode after five minutes of inactivity, with an estimated 36 months before batteries need to be changed.

 

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Satechi also included a "Gaming Mode," powered by clicking the "Turbo Button," so users only have to click once instead of needing to double-click while gaming. The Satechi Edge Wireless Gaming Mouse has a $19.99 MSRP.

 

The gaming peripheral market has yielded countless products for PC gamers, though many of the wireless products are relatively expensive.

Kickstarter aims to make hoverboards a reality - with a caveat

By: Ben Gourlay | More News: Celebrities & Entertainment | Posted: 21 hours, 56 mins ago

Ever since the release of 'Back To The Future: Part 2" in 1988, everyone wanted a hoverboard. Y'know what - they still do. Obviously, there's some pretty huge technical problems to overcome, meaning they won't be here as depicted in 2015 like Robert Zemeckis promised. But one Kickstarter is aiming to bring a limited vision of the future, in time for the date.

 

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The Hendo Hoverboard Kickstarter, which just after a few hours has reached half of its funding goal has already been sampled by the likes of Engadget (still waiting for our invitation, guys!) has been reasonably well received, within the limits of the technology.

 

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Currently, the device can only hover over non-ferrous metals, such as copper and aluminum - but the ramifications of the technology which is already being used in mag-lev trains are undoubtedly great. For $299 USD, the Kickstarter is promising a 'Whitebox Dev kit' which includes a Hendo Hover engine kit, surface and a t-shirt.

Continue reading 'Kickstarter aims to make hoverboards a reality - with a caveat' (full post)

Unproduced 'Super Mario World' movie script and concept art goes live

By: Ben Gourlay | More News: Celebrities & Entertainment | Posted: 22 hours, 43 mins ago

Max Landis, son of legendary comedy director John 'Blues Brothers' Landis and an accomplished writer/director in his own right, who helmed 2012's 'Chronicle' has taken the rather offbeat decision to upload his ten year old work for, by his own admission "inferior" script for a film that has never, and will never get made - a 'Super Mario World' movie. Still, you have to admire his sheer chutzpah.

 

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Available now on Landis' website, the script is accompanied by a lengthy preamble which offers his updated thoughts on the work, along with concept art that provides an unique glimpse into what the film would have looked like.

 

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Of course, the franchise has already produced one feature film - the 1993 turkey 'Super Mario Bros' directed by incompetent huband and wife duo Annabel Jankel and Rocky Morton, which is coming to Blu-ray in the UK next month. The result of the film is why the conservative Japanese firm Nintendo have been completely unwilling to dip their toes in the feature film world again.

Blizzard announces Metallica will play at BlizzCon next month

By: Michael Hatamoto | More News: Gaming | Posted: 22 hours, 52 mins ago

Longtime rock band Metallica will play during the closing ceremony of BlizzCon 2014 next month, hitting the stage on November 8, Blizzard has confirmed. The event takes place at the Anaheim Convention Center, in Anaheim, California. The event is a celebration of the company's Diablo, Startcraft, and World of Warcraft franchises, and will host tournaments, panel presentations, and hands-on game demos.

 

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"We're thrilled to have Metallica blowing out our speakers at BlizzCon this year," said Mike Morhaime, Blizzard CEO, in a press statement. "After two full days of epic gaming and intense eSports action, an Earth-shaking concert is the perfect sendoff for everyone at the show and watching from home."

 

For gamers unable to attend the event live, as BlizzCon 2014 is sold out, high-definition BlizzCon virtual tickets are available for $40.

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