Sony Pictures Entertainment was compromised in a big way by the Guardians of Peace hacker group, and there is uncertainty if the hackers were properly removed from the company's network. SPE could be back to enjoying a fully operational network within the next two months if security holds, but would face lingering problems if hackers still have backdoors into the network.
"It took me 24 or 36 hours to fully understand that this was not something we were going to be able to recover from in the next week or two," Sony Entertainment CEO Michael Lynton said in a statement published by the Wall Street Journal. The company began using an old fleet of BlackBerry smartphones to communicate and conduct day-to-day business, following the data breach.
Since being released on Christmas, "The Interview" has collected more than $18 million in digital and box-office revenue - and has proven popular among Internet pirates. However, Lynton and other executives continue to apologize to movie actors and other industry bigwigs following leaked email conversations.
Oklahoma Sen. Ron Sharp wants to stop drivers in his state from using mobile phones to talk, text, or otherwise be distracted while behind the wheel. The state remains just one of six in the country that haven't implemented laws against distracted driving already.
The Senate Bill 67, however, takes a significantly harsher approach than other states' efforts - with a violation counting as a misdemeanor, with the potential of a $1,000 fine, up to one year in jail, or a combination of both.
"Using a cell phone to call or text while driving can be just as deadly as drunk driving," Sharp recently said. "The danger is real. We see it every day, on city streets, highways and interstates. Senate Bill 67 is designed to make people think twice about pulling out their phone to answer a text or make a call while behind the wheel. The risk is just not worth jeopardizing lives."
It's been a tough few months of connection and lag issues for Blizzard. If you're trying to login to their Battle.Net service to play any game they have on offer, it might be worth giving it a few hours.
As confirmed on their Customer Service Twitter account, Blizzard's login servers are experiencing connection issues and are developing long queues for users. Even more unfortunate for them was commenting on a time they expect the servers to be operational - four hours ago they stated a 90-minute wait, followed by a Tweet two hours ago claiming only 60 minutes until the servers are operational.
Young South African director Neill Blomkamp, whose vision has bought to life the edgy science fiction films 'District 9' and 'Elysium' and who was attached to directed the mooted 'Halo film has released via his Instagram account some spectacular concept art for a presumably abandoned 'Alien' sequel. Whilst the account is unverified, there's little doubt that the page is not genuine as it also shared via his Twitter account, which has been active for five years.
In two separate annotated posts, Blomkamp is keen to distance rights holder Twentieth Century Fox from his efforts, saying "this has nothing to do with the studio. I just feel like I might do something else instead. In which case why not show some work.. they didn't really even know I was working on it ha", but the concept art, which includes some tantalising looks at an appropriately aged and battle weary Ripley and Hicks from James Cameron's 'Aliens', and an alien morphed Ripley wouldn't have been a fascinating project indeed. If you continue in his account you'll even see Blomkamp with Sigourney Weaver herself, in an image posted at the start of last year. Interesting...
If you're reading this Fox - give this man another look. I'm sure that the 'Prometheus' universe can co-exist with the Alien universe, especially since Ridley Scott has indicated he will move even further away from it in the sequel.
The Osterhout Design Group (ODG) has unveiled a consumer-oriented version of its Smart Glasses system, providing a lighter and smaller version than its military-grade counterpart. The headset will be unveiled later this year and should have a retail price tag less than $1,000.
However, the headset will still be able to show high-definition video, record video, utilize a 3D graphics overlay, and provide line-of-sight directions for wearers. The headset runs a Qualcomm Snapdragon 805 CPU, Wi-Fi, global navigation satellite system, Bluetooth, and custom-built orientation sensors.
"Our Smart Glasses are proving their worth in some of the world's toughest environments and we look forward to bringing our innovative technology closer to everyday customers," said Ralph Osterhout, Ostherout Design Group founder and CEO, in a press statement. "At ODG, we're working to change the world of computing by changing the way we interact, connect, and explore information, and I am happy to introduce the next step on this journey."
The United States has issued new economic sanctions against North Korea, as Pres. Obama and lawmakers look for methods to retaliate against North Korea. Even with increasing pressure stating otherwise, the FBI and Obama Administration still believes North Korea is directly involved in bringing down Sony Pictures, ahead of the launch of "The Interview."
Here is what White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest noted in a press statement: "This (executive order) is a response to the Government of North Korea's ongoing provocative, destabilizing, and repressive actions and policies, particularly its destructive and coercive cyberattack on Sony Pictures Entertainment."
This reportedly is the first step by the Obama Administration, though could be nothing more than a symbolic effort - North Korea endures heavy sanctions, so any additional sanctions could end up being meaningless. However, the newest sanctions will target the Korea Mining Development Trading Corporation, Reconnaissance General Bureau and Korea Tangun Trading Corporation, in an effort to hurt the government's intelligence and arms dealing sectors.
The FBI wants skilled and qualified cybersecurity experts to help lend a hand in cyber-based investigations. Interested candidates must be skilled in computer science and similar fields, while also passing a fitness test, medical exam, extended background check and a polygraph test, according to the FBI.
A brief look at the FBI Cyber Careers page indicates a number jobs for cyber special agents, computer science specialists, information technology forensic examiners, and qualified candidates for cyber internships. The FBI is increasingly helping companies following major data breaches, cyberattacks from hacker groups and suspected foreign states, cyber forensics, and other roles following a major incident.
"Cyber agents will be integrated into all the different violations that we work," said Robert Anderson Jr., FBI cyber crimes branch executive assistant director, in a recruitment video. "So whether it's a counterterrorism or counterintelligence investigation, they could be the lead agent in the case."
Mobile Internet browsing on smartphones and tablets will continue to be a major priority that companies and advertisers must address in 2015 - but trying to make a successful transition has largely proven difficult. Facebook, the No. 1 social networking website, has ensured it was ready for mobile users and advertisers, but Google has struggled.
"I think most of us thought Google made the leap, but I think there are some real question marks facing them in their business," said Eric Jackson, founder and managing partner of the Ironfire Capital tech-focused hedge fund, in a statement published by CNBC.
Google still controlled more than 40 percent of total mobile advertising revenue in 2014, but lost six percent year-over-year - and competition will only increase, industry experts believe. The company has a large team dedicated to capturing mobile advertising revenue, and is making changes it believes will woo advertisers, while not frustrating mobile users.
Chinese electronics company Huawei saw its smartphone shipments increase more than 40 percent in 2014 - an impressive figure, but still below internal estimates - as Huawei tries to keep up with Xiaomi.
Huawei saw global shipments reach 75 million, coming in shy of its estimated 80-million unit mark, with growth rate figures also dropping year-over-year. However, continued growth helped Huawei revenues increase 30 percent to $11.8 billion.
Much of the attention in the smartphone market is captured by Samsung and Apple, but Chinese smartphone manufacturers have a lot to be proud of. Xiaomi, Huawei and Lenovo help make up the top six global smartphone manufacturers - mainly contributing to China and emerging markets with low-cost handsets.
Fast food restaurant Chick-fil-A reportedly suffered a data breach at retail locations in the United States, confirming "potential unusual activity involving payment cards" at restaurants in Georgia, Virginia, Pennsylvania, Texas and Maryland before the holidays in December. Up to 9,000 customers could be at risk following the incident, cybersecurity experts confirmed.
"We want to assure our customers we are working hard to investigate these events and will share additional facts as we are able to do so," according to Chick-fil-A, in a statement sent to Krebs on Security. "If the investigation reveals that a breach has occurred, customers will not be liable for any fraudulent charges to their accounts - any fraudulent charges will be the responsibility of either Chick-fil-A or the bank that issued the card. If our customers are impacted, we will arrange for free identity protection services, including credit monitoring."
Trying to compromise retail locations, collecting payment information from point-of-sale (POS) machines, continues to be a popular target among cybercriminals. Despite many of the records being safe from attack, as banks and credit card companies are faster to disable accounts and reissue cards - breaching POS systems has proven easier than direct attacks.