Romanian citizen Iulian Schiopu was sentenced to 45 months in prison for his role in a cybercrime operation related to phishing. Schiopu and his accomplices reportedly affected thousands of debit and credit cards of U.S. banking customers.
Stolen information was stored in shared email accounts, with names, addresses, dates of birth, telephone numbers, and Social Security numbers at risk. The group became known in the United States because criminals in Romania were withdrawing money of U.S. bank account holders. So far in the investigation, more than 20 Romanian citizens have been arrested for their various roles in the phishing scheme.
Cybercriminals are able to launch a large amount of attacks with little risk of law enforcement interference, but the U.S. government is ramping up efforts to dismantle organized attack groups.
Electronics maker Acer has introduced the first Chromebooks powered by the Intel Core i3 processor, with two different models available for release later this month. Acer currently controls almost 47 percent of the niche market, serving as one of the only companies to throw heavy time behind the lightweight, fast operating system.
The Acer C720 Chromebook will be available with two different models using the Intel Core i3-40005U processor (1.7 GHz, 3MB L3 cache). The Acer C720-3404 model will be priced for $379.99 with 4GB of memory, while the Acer C720-3871 will be priced at $349.99 with 2GB of memory. The supported resolution is 1366 x 768, featuring 32GB of storage, webcam, Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, USB 2.0 and 3.0, and an HDMI connector.
"This is an incredibly exciting time to be a leader in the Chromebook market, since customers are responding with tremendous enthusiasm for the product's performance, capabilities and value," said Eric Ackerson, Acer America Senior Product Marketing and Brand Manager, in a statement. "We've been breaking new ground with our Chromebooks since 2011, and our new Intel Core i3 model will deliver more of what our customers love about our Chromebooks, including excellent performance and all-day battery life."
Peripheral maker Razer introduced the Atrox Arcade Stick aimed for the Microsoft Xbox One, providing a customizable unit for console gamers. Designed specifically for tournament-grade gaming, the controller has eight Sanwa Denshi buttons, and an ergonomic authentic arcade layout.
The artwork can also be modified because the top plate is interchangeable. Razer also is throwing in a screwdriver to make modding even easier, so owners won't need to scramble to find the right sized tools to make changes. The Xbox One Atrox Arcade Stick will be released worldwide in August with a $199.99.
"We designed the Razer Atrox Arcade Stick for Xbox One on the same principes that made the Razer Atrox for Xbox 360 so popular amongst the fighting gaming community," said Min-Liang Tan, Razer co-founder and CEO, in a press statement. "Professional gaming is growing rapidly into a global phenomenon, and gear like the Razer Atrox Arcade Stick for Xbox One will help fighting players everywhere dominate the opposition in style, match after match."
Korean electronics company Samsung is under fire due to suspicions one of its suppliers uses child labor to help keep costs down. The latest round of accusations are courtesy of China Labor Watch, a U.S. activist group that tracts illegal workplace behavior in China.
Some employees in the Dongguan plant are reportedly under the age of 16, and work 11 hours a day, 7 days per week, while not receiving overtime pay. If the allegations are true, it's a tragic situation that unfortunately we seem to hear more information about.
"We are urgently looking into the latest allegations and will take appropriate measures in accordance with our policies to prevent any cases of child labor in our suppliers," Samsung noted in an emailed statement to Reuters.
When Amazon rolled out a glimpse at its Prime Air drones a while back, most of us though it was a hoax. Amazon appears to believe there may be a future for using drones to deliver products and is asking the FAA to let it develop drones.
Amazon wants to be able to test drones outside of its testing sites designated by the FAA. By expanding its testing sites, Amazon says that it will be able to innovate more quickly. Currently to test a new design, Amazon has to travel to one of the six FAA approved sites around the country.
Ultimately, Amazon wants to be able to deliver packages weighing five pounds or less by drones. The retail giant says that 86% of the packages sold on its site weigh less than five pounds. Amazon also says that it has a drone capable of flying over 50 mph while carrying a five-pound package.
Rumors have been flying that Apple was set to get into the smartwatch business for a long time. According to the rumors, the iWatch will have lots of sensors and other tech built-in. The latest rumor that has surfaced about Apple's smartwatch comes by way of analyst Ming-Chi Kuo.
According to Kuo, the iWatch will enter mass production in November. Kuo had previously estimated that mass production on the iWatch would kick off in September. While changing up the time estimate for mass production, Kuo is also changing shipment estimates for the iWatch this year.
Kuo now expects that Apple will ship 3 million iWatch units in 2014. Kuo notes that the iWatch is expected to feature a flexible OLED screen, sapphire coated display cover, high water resistance and system on chip components.
Samsung is making some changes to its app store, most notably the Samsung app store has a new name, and Samsung is now calling its app store Galaxy Apps and has added some new features to the mix as well. Galaxy Apps has a new interface, branding, and hundreds of new apps to go along with the name change.
The apps in Galaxy Apps store are divided into categories with four sections including Galaxy Gifts, Galaxy Essentials, Apps for Professionals, and Galaxy Specials. Apps in the Specials category are created using Samsung SDKs.
Samsung wants Galaxy Apps to give more customization options to users of its mobile phones. It also wants the Galaxy Apps store to act as a platform for publicizing promotions and deals.
About a week ago we mentioned that Facebook had ran an experiment to see if it was able to change the emotional state of its users by showing them only positive or negative posts on their newsfeed. The experiment resulted in an ITC investigation in the UK. Many users of the site were understandably upset that Facebook had tried to manipulate their emotions.
Another result of that experiment is a new campaign that has launched in response that is challenging Facebook users to quit the site for 99 days. After the 99 days is up, the campaign wants you to come back and report on how it affected your mood.
Three months is a long time to go without access to Facebook for some people. For some extended families, Facebook is one of the few ways to keep in touch. The campaign asks participants to post a time-off image as their profile page and post a personal countdown so friends know what's up.
Gamers know that developers often put little Easter eggs into the games that are a challenge to find. These Easter eggs are often things like odd levels that you can play, like the infamous cow level in Diablo II. Halo 3 had its share of Easter eggs hidden away and one of them only works on a single day each year.
That single day of operation is the reason why it remained undiscovered for seven years. This particular Easter egg is only accessible on December 25 via the loading screen by hitting both thumb sticks. The result is that the screen zooms out giving a wider view of the Halo ring and a birthday greeting for Lauren.
The greeting reads, "Happy Birthday Lauren!" It's hard to believe that no one mentioned this Easter egg for all those years. I guess it's cool to have your own greeting in a game that no one knows about.
The group of amateur volunteer operators that have been trying to get the ISEE-3 satellite back on its original mission after the satellite was sent to study comets decades ago have given a valiant effort. In the end, the satellite has now reportedly lost thruster capability. We mentioned a few days ago that the satellite had responded to commands and fired its thrusters.
However, a subsequent attempt to get the satellite to fire its thrusters again failed. On Wednesday, the team trying to regain control of the satellite announced that a failure in the propulsion system of the satellite has made it impossible for the thrusters to fire again.
The team says that with the failure of the propulsion system, they have turned the satellite back to science mode and will gather data for as long as possible. They believe that the satellite can gather data for a few months. ISEE-3 launched in 1978 to study space weather and was retired 17 years ago. Operators say that with one thruster firing performed there is a small chance the satellite will hit the moon.