Powermat wireless charging stations will be introduced into 200 San Francisco Bay Area Starbucks locations, as the company plans to launch nationwide rollout before heading to Europe and Asia within 12 months. The chargers will be built directly into tables and bars inside of Starbucks, and the popular coffee chain hopes to win over patrons with the wireless charging offering.
It was announced earlier this year that Starbucks was testing the wireless charging stations in the Bay Area, but trying to find them in-store proved difficult for many guests. The Power Matter Alliance produces the Powermat technology, and is supported by Starbucks, Google and AT&T.
"The availability of Powermat Spots in Starbucks is transformative for San Francisco Bay residents who no longer have to worry about making it through their day with limited battery power," said Ran Poliakine, Powermat Technologies CEO, in a press statement. "They know that the nearest charge is only as far away as the nearest Starbucks."
The online PC gaming industry will grow from $24.4 billion this year up to an estimated $30.7 billion in 2017, the performance marketing agency Ad2Games and analyst firm Newzoo recently reported. The PC and MMO game market will account for 31 percent of international video game revenue, with Asia, Eastern Europe and Latin America expected to see 95 percent of growth over the next three years.
Trying to expand to attract - and retain - new gamers proves to be extremely expensive, with costs as low as 37 cents up to $5.63 per user, the report indicates.
The sector will see 7.9 percent year-over-year growth over the next three years, while free-to-play video games continue to woo new gamers. These types of games
Similar to the United States and UK, German government agencies and companies are facing a mounting number of cyberattacks from foreign countries. Not surprisingly, it would appear a large number of the attacks are from suspected state-sponsored groups in China and Russia - and are extremely difficult to defend against. The German government is investing more resources into boosting cybersecurity to prevent successful breaches against its agencies and private companies.
There are an estimated 3,000 daily attacks targeting German government agencies, with five of those attacks blamed on foreign intelligence services. As a significant global power, there is a risk of cyberespionage from foreign governments trying to steal secrets to elevate their own political and military efforts.
"We have seen that there are ever more frequent attacks by foreign intelligence agencies on the German government IT infrastructure," said Hans Georg Maassen, the German domestic intelligence (BfV) chief. Former NSA contractor Edward Snowden revealed that the NSA snooped on German Chancellor Angela Merkel's phone, along with spying on other German government officials.
The US energy grid is a popular target for cybercriminals, most of them likely state-sponsored hackers, with 79 reported hacking incidents investigated by the Department of Homeland Security's Computer Emergency Readiness Team. Although it's a drop from the 145 investigated incidents from 2013, there is a significant issue of US critical infrastructure being targeted by skilled cybercriminals.
There have been at least 50 customized pieces of malware designed to target energy companies, and their security efforts haven't been able to hold up. The Russian BlackEnergy malware was found on software assigned to control US electrical turbines - and while there were no attempts to disrupt the machinery - is a clear indicator that cybersecurity efforts need to be boosted immediately.
"Our grid is definitely vulnerable," said David Kennedy, TrustedSec CEO. "The energy industry is pretty far behind most other industries when it comes to security best practices and maintaining systems."
More than 90 percent of US households currently have at least three or more Internet-connected devices, according to a recent report published by Ericsson. The average household has 5.2 connected devices per household, and that number will increase as the Internet of Things (IoT) continues to be common place.
The Ericsson survey also found that 97 percent of households have at least one mobile phone, while mobile phone saturation continues to increase. By 2020, 90 percent of the global population over six years of age will own a mobile phone - and many phone owners will be using smartphones.
At the end of 2013 there were 1.9 billion smartphone subscriptions, and that number is expected to increase up to 2.7 billion by the end of this year. Analysts believe that number will increase 15 percent each year through 2020, as smartphones become more affordable.
The expansion of 4K content and high frame rate movies present graphically appealing content, but digital animation studios are struggling, a recent industry expert noted. Production schedules could be impacted due to high-resolution images, forcing studios to reconsider how they create films.
"They are both going to present a huge challenge," said Bruno Mahe, Illumination Mac Guff technical head recently told the BBC. Traditional animated films are viewed at 2K resolution with 24 frames per resolution, but 4K boosts the videos up to 4K resolution and 48fps - and it isn't an easy transition.
In addition to slowing down production, studios also need increasingly powerful render farms to produce images and send them to other animation facilities.
A couple of days after temporarily shutting down its external email service, the US State Department has restored access after a suspected organized cyberattack from Russian hackers. State Department IT security staff detected "activity of concern" several weeks ago, and a response plan was developed to ensure no classified data was impacted. Full access to the service still hasn't gone live yet, while security experts verify new security protocols are complete.
"I can report that our external email services from our main unclassified system are now operating normally," said Jeff Rathke, State Department spokesman. "And for those who feel they are, you know, tethered to their BlackBerrys, they are once again - because the BlackBerry service is working."
US federal agencies have been under attack, as there have been breaches against the US Postal Service, White House and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) in recent weeks. It would appear all of the attacks can be tied back to Russian state-sponsored hackers, which would not surprise security experts.
Seventeen people have been arrested as part of an identity theft ring aimed at defrauding the Internal Revenue System (IRS), trying to cash in on $2 million in fraudulent tax refunds. Federal prosecutors said identity thieves were able to use university student financial records to obtain the tax refunds, and the ringleader is accused of directing at least 92 tax refunds to a single account.
"The disturbing fact is that (many) of these individuals are current or former students who allowed their accounts to be compromised," said United States Attorney Wilfredo Ferrer.
While identity theft - and tax fraud - remain significant problems nationwide, it is especially problematic in Florida. Cybercriminals are targeting everything from medical records and tax refunds to debit and credit card accounts, and have been found stealing physical mail from residents' homes. There were 190 complaints filed for every 100,000 individuals, according to the Department of Justice, and 804.9 people per 100,000 filed fraud complaints in 2013.
Jeremy Gutsche signed up for a 30MB in-flight Internet plan when he boarded his Singapore Airlines flight, priced at $28.99. Once a user goes over the 30MB, they're charged for the data used beyond it, where Gutsche's bill ended up landing on $1171 in additional charges.
Gutsche took to his website, where he wrote: "I had an otherwise enjoyable flight but the sticker shock of being gouged $1,200 made me feel like I was deplaning from Total Bastard Airlines, that old skit from SNL where they kick you off the plane with a 'Buy BYE! If you were a family traveler or someone like my mother, that bill would certainly ruin your vacation".
Gutsche said that he visited around 155 webpages, checked his e-mail, and uploaded some PowerPoint presentations. He then estimated that his PowerPoint presentation cost around $100 to upload, adding that "I hope my team liked it". OnAir, the firm responsible for the in-flight Wi-Fi told The Wall Street Journal that the purchase process is "entirely transparent", and that "To consume several hundred megabytes during one flight takes much more than basic email viewing, for example downloading heavy attachments, cloud access and using Skype".
The US Senate didn't receive the required 60 votes to move a bill forward that would have forced changes to the National Security Agency's (NSA) phone surveillance program. The USA Freedom Act was brought before the Senate following former NSA contractor Edward Snowden's revelations of mass surveillance of US citizens, including a sophisticated phone snooping program.
The Senate voted 58-42 to prevent the Freedom Act from moving forward, but there will be similar legal efforts to try to limit the NSA's snooping ability. The same amount of information would have been collected, but phone companies would have retained the records instead of passed them along to the government - unless a court order was produced.
"In the past five or six months, we have witnessed heights U.S. national security concerns with terrorist threats, geopolitical problems, and cybersecurity challenges from Russia and China," said David Fidler, Indiana University's Center for Applied Cybersecurity Research professor of law. "Addressing these concerns requires strong American intelligence and surveillance capabilities - creating the potential for stronger opposition to the Snowden-inspired reforms today than existed only a few months ago."