Are you able to log onto Microsoft's Xbox Live service? Days after being dropped by the Lizard Squad on Christmas morning, it appears problems are surfacing again. On Saturday afternoon, the Microsoft service website saying Xbox Live is down once again, with Xbox One and Xbox 360 gamers confirming the news.
Although the Xbox Live Status website reports the core services, purchase and content usage, website, TV music and video, and social gaming aspects are reported to be working again - many users are reporting they are unable to game and access content.
Multiplayer titles such as Destiny and Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare require active Internet service, but titles such as Far Cry 4 and Dragon Age: Inquisition - which are largely played in single-player - still access third-party server connections.
The US Navy tested the MQ-8C Fire Scout unmanned helicopter drone during sea trials, with 32 successful takeoffs and landings earlier this week. A heavily modified Bell 407 utility helicopter can be controlled by command teams on military ships or ground-based teams.
"The MQ-8C Fire Scout's fist flight from the USS Dunham represents a significant Navy milestone," said Capt. Jeff Dodge, Naval Air Systems Command (NAVAIR) Fire Scout program manager, in a press statement. "This is the first sea-based flight of the MQ-8C, and the first time an unmanned helicopter has operated from a destroyer."
The Navy and Northrop Grumman will continue to conduct tests to see how the helicopter drone operates in varying weather and wind conditions.
Apparently, the North Korean government isn't happy with the Obama Administration and Sony's decision to release "The Interview." The North Korean National Defense Commission (NDC) released a statement that accuses the US of crippling its Internet - which has happened twice in less than one week - while also lobbing a racial slur towards Obama.
"Obama always goes reckless in words and deeds like a monkey in a tropical forest," said someone from the North Korean Policy Department, in a statement published by the Korean Central News Agency.
Once Sony Pictures reversed its decision to release "The Interview," it seemed likely the North Korean government would issue public statements. Furthermore, this isn't the first time North Korea has issued racially-driven statements aimed towards Obama, though this appears to be nothing more than political posturing.
For the second time in less than one week, it appears the fragile North Korean Internet infrastructure has been dropped offline from cyberattacks. Reports from Chinese media indicate the Internet and 3G mobile phone networks in North Korea have gone offline, following the US government's accusations that Pyongyang had a direct hand in breaching Sony Pictures.
In the incident reported earlier in the week, it appears a distributed denial of service (DDoS) attack stopped Internet access for a brief period. Most Internet access in North Korea is reserved for high-ranking government officials and military personnel, reports indicate.
Despite countries focusing on developing cyberespionage weapons able to target foreign companies and governments, clearly not enough is being done to help improve cybersecurity. The United States, UK, North Korea, China, Russia, Iran, and other nations have greater cyberattack capabilities - but fall prey to their own data incidents on a frequent basis.
Microsoft's Xbox Live and Sony's PlayStation Network are clawing their way back to full functionality, a couple of days after crippling distributed denial of service (DDoS) attacks by the Lizard Squad hacking group.
The Xbox Live service, which has almost 50 million global users, was working significantly better by Friday evening - but the PlayStation Network, supporting almost 110 million users, still had significant problems, preventing users from logging on.
In a tweet issued Saturday morning, Sony had this to say: "Update: PS4, PS3, and Vita network services are gradually coming back online - thanks for your patience." A follow-up statement noted: "We are seeing reduced reports of network issues. We'll continue to monitor."
The malware software and cybercriminal techniques used to cripple Sony Pictures could be used in additional attacks against US companies, according to a recent alert from the U.S. Computer Emergency Readiness Team (US-CERT). Specifically, the malware, which is similar to code used to target South Korean companies, is able to communicate with operators while spreading quickly and conducting brute-force password attacks against systems.
"Due to the highly destructive functionality of this malware, an organization infected could experience operational impacts including loss of intellectual property and disruption of critical systems," the US-CERT warning stated. It's true that next-generation malware, written by increasingly skilled cybercriminal groups, has a wide variety of different purposes. Although stealing and compromising infected PCs remains lucrative, cyberespionage would be better served by disrupting day-to-day operations of necessary systems.
North Korea has been blamed by the US government for the attack against Sony Pictures, a charge it vehemently denies - has dedicated resources to improving its cyberattack capabilities.
Popular HBO show "Game of Thrones" maintained its spot as the most pirated TV show of the year, topping the list for the third consecutive year. The shows was downloaded an estimated 8.1 million times throughout the year via BitTorrent, and has topped "The Sopranos" as the most-watched HBO show ever made.
"Game of Thrones" also set a record when 254,114 users downloaded and shared the same torrent file.
"The Walking Dead" had an estimated 4.2 million downloads while "Breaking Bad" rounded out the No. 3 spot as the most pirated TV show, collecting 3.6 million downloads.
NVIDIA was one of the first companies to roll-out Android's 5.0.1 Lollipop Operating System to their devices, seeing this widely-acclaimed update work flawlessly on NVIDIA's tablet offering.
Said to focus on adding new features to the Android platform, with NVIDIA adding in a few extra's of their own to increase the updates potency, as per their usual practice.
Seeing their Camera Awesome App updated to include new FX features said to take advantage of the Tegra K1 chip on offer (for acceleration of live and preview recording), NVIDIA also brought back their acclaimed SHIELD power control menu. The feature is designed to help you pick your processor modes, including things such as Custom Battery Saver, Optimized and Max Performance, alongside giving you the ability to enable an auto-shutdown of your device.
The latest Tesla model upgrade has been announced, with the Roaster 3.0 package boasting an impressive 400 mile range - seeing a 31 percent increase in battery capacity when compared to it's older brothers 52 kWh lithium-ion offering.
This 70 kWh battery package takes up the same amount of room as the older model, providing "more potent" lithium-ion cells for use. This improved and extended battery also includes an improved aero body-kit, enabling this futuristic vehicle to travel along at a more efficient rate and reducing its drag coefficient from 0.36 to 0.31, meaning a 15 percent improvement has been made.
The last improvement following this massive 40 to 50 percent increase in driving range is a 20 percent decrease in rolling resistance, to further help drive in efficiency.
The Chinese Government has recently announced that they will be reaching a settlement on the anti-trust case against large-scale manufacturer Qualcomm as soon as this Friday.
Chinese regulators announced previously that they suspected this company of abusing and overcharging its market in wireless communication standards. Due to this, the Government launched a probe of this US manufacturer 13 months ago, investigating their claims. The National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC) claims that this investigation is to be settled lawfully before the close of the current working week.