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Ex-UK spy: Peace between government, tech firms needed to stop terror

By: Michael Hatamoto | More News: Hacking & Security | Posted: Jan 20, 2015 8:00 pm

Government agencies in the United States and UK increasingly rely on wide-scale surveillance programs, in their efforts to collect intelligence. It's not uncommon for politicians and department heads to claim efforts are designed to prevent terrorism, which is the line being used by a former high-level spy from the UK.




"There needs to be some new compact between the technology companies and those who are responsible for security if we're not to see events like we saw in Paris last week... becoming more and more features of our lives," said John Sawers, former head of the Secret Intelligence Service, in a statement published by BBC.


British elections take place in May, and national security is expected to be a major political talking point.

Continue reading 'Ex-UK spy: Peace between government, tech firms needed to stop terror' (full post)

No surprise: Worst passwords of 2014 are still quite terrible

By: Michael Hatamoto | More News: Hacking & Security | Posted: Jan 20, 2015 6:38 pm

SplashData has published its list of the most common passwords used on the Internet, compiling data mainly from Internet users in North America and Western Europe. The top 10 worst passwords, per the SplashData list: 123456, password, 12345, 12345678, 1234, baseball, dragon, football.




Simple numerical passwords remain common, with nine of the top 25 passwords consisting of numbers only. However, passwords such as "iloveyou" have disappeared, which was prevalent on the 2013 list, has dropped from the top 25 list for 2014.


"The bad news from my research is that this year's most commonly used passwords are pretty consistent with prior years," said Mark Burnett, an online security expert. "The good news is that it appears that more people are moving away from using these passwords. In 2014, the top 25 passwords represented about 2.2 percent of passwords exposed. While still frightening, that's the lowest percentage of people using the most common passwords I have seen in recent studies."

British Secret Service tracked internet usage on Apple iPhones

By: Paul Alcorn | More News: Mobile Devices, Tablets & Phones | Posted: Jan 20, 2015 4:21 pm

The Apple iPhone has strong internal security that is hard to bypass, and iOS 8 encrypts data by default. Google has also followed suit with stronger protections for Android, much to the chagrin of government agencies, which are unable to hack into the phones directly to retrieve information. Apple and Google are also refusing to decrypt the data for anyone, so phone security is locked up pretty tight.




Where there is a will there is a way. According to Der Spiegel, the publication with access to Edward Snowdens documents, the British Secret Service had figured out how to track iPhone users when they connect their phone to a computer. Once the phone is connected to an infected computer the agency analyzes the downloaded data. This eliminates the need to directly hack the phone, thus proving to be a working model for circumventing encryption and security features on the phone itself.


The British Secret Service also tracked internet usage on the device through a vulnerability in Safari and Google's Admob advertising service. The UDID, a device identifier number, is exposed through the tactic, and then the user can be tracked online. These methods were used by the agency in 2010, and likely the loophole has since been closed. However, variants of the same method may still be in use that are successful.

Continue reading 'British Secret Service tracked internet usage on Apple iPhones' (full post)

US police have deployed radar that peers into homes

By: Paul Alcorn | More News: Privacy & Rights | Posted: Jan 20, 2015 3:28 pm

Troubling news is coming to light. Under a cloak of secrecy over 50 U.S. law enforcement have deployed radars that allow them to see through walls. These agencies include the FBI and the U.S. Marshals Service, and the project began over two years ago. These radars run afoul of a Supreme Court ruling that bans the use of high-tech sensors probing the inside of someone's home without a warrant, which helps to explain the total silence on the new radars.




The sensors are effective out to 50 feet and can detect human movement via radio waves. They are so sensitive they can even pick up human breathing. The new technology came to light during a December federal appeals trial of a parole absconder in Denver. During the trial officials revealed they used the device to locate the man, and the presiding judges sounded off that "the government's warrantless use of such a powerful tool to search inside homes poses grave Fourth Amendment questions."


The devices are manufactured by L-3 Communications under the Range-R product family. Each device costs $6,000 and over 200 devices have been sold to US law enforcement agencies. The radar displays if there is movement on the other side of the wall, and displays how far away the movement is. The Range-R doesn't actually show the inside of the building, but there are other models that do. There are similar radar devices that feature 3-D displays of the location of people in a building, and the Justice Department is already funding development systems that can map entire buildings and locate people, so they surely have no qualms with deploying these devices.

Continue reading 'US police have deployed radar that peers into homes' (full post)

Steam suffers from self inflicted drive-wiping bug

By: Paul Alcorn | More News: Gaming Consoles | Posted: Jan 20, 2015 2:55 pm

Steam for Linux has a nasty bug, one that can wipe entire drives of all information in a matter of moments. The problem stems from users that have moved their installation directory from the default location. Steam for Linux features a command, 'rm -rf "$STEAMROOT/" that is used to refresh the Steam directory, which is usually required if there are installation problems with a game.




Unfortunately, many users move their game directories to SSDs, or to other locations on the computer. This removes the part of the code that specifies the correct directory, instead issuing a 'rm -rf "/"' command. Users opening the app trigger a deletion of the entire contents of their drives, including external devices. Valve has confirmed the issue affected a "handful of users". Valve also states they are unable to replicate the issue internally, and are still attempting to do so.

Continue reading 'Steam suffers from self inflicted drive-wiping bug' (full post)

Google teams up with SpaceX for satellite Internet project

By: Anthony Garreffa | More News: Science, Space & Robotics | Posted: Jan 20, 2015 8:37 am

Google is wanting to get back into space, where it is teaming up with SpaceX to join its Internet satellite venture. The Mountain View-based search giant has agreed to value SpaceX at over $10 billion, before it invests large sums of money into Elon Musk's space transportation business.




The total round of funding on SpaceX is said to be even bigger, with some very big names throwing their checks into the company. SpaceX wants to launch countless micro-satellites that would operate in low-orbit around Earth, with the company already in the early stages of development. Elon Musk, the founder of SpaceX and real-life Tony Stark has said that this venture will end up providing cheap Internet for the entire world.


This project would eventually see wireless networks installed around Mars, when humans get to the point of colonizing the red planet. While satellite Internet is usually considered worse than most wired and fiber methods, it will bring Internet connectivity to parts of the world that wouldn't otherwise receive Internet connections.

Upcoming patch for Dragon Age: Inquisition should fix heaps of bugs

By: Anthony Garreffa | More News: Gaming | Posted: Jan 20, 2015 7:22 am

BioWare has taken to a new blog post, stating that the third patch for the PC version of Dragon Age: Inquisition is nearly ready, and that it is "close" to release. Mark Darrah, an Executive Producer with BioWare spread the news on Twitter over the weekend.




The upcoming patch will fix up some of the issues with the multiplayer problems, balance issues, and adds fan-requested features like key binding that will allow walking on PC, armor upgrade menus and a new push-to-talk option in the multiplayer end-of-match summary. BioWare wrote on its blog post: "Based on feedback from our players, we tweaked the banter system to be less random in order to prevent extra-long periods of silence".


The studio continued: "We fixed quest blockers in the personal quests of Dorian and Sera as well as a spawning issue in Solas's personal quest (I won't elaborate to avoid light spoilers). [...] We continue to listen to feedback from our players, and we thank everyone for working with us to create an even better Dragon Age experience".

Balance the equation in our 'Equilizer' Blu-ray giveaway

By: Ben Gourlay | More News: Contests & Giveaways | Posted: Jan 20, 2015 6:12 am

To celebrate this week's release of 'The Equalizer' on Blu-ray HD and DVD, we have ten copies of the Blu-ray to give away to readers, thanks to our friends at Village Roadshow Home Entertainment.


In The Equalizer, Denzel Washington plays McCall, a former black ops commando who has faked his death to live a quiet life in Boston. When he comes out of his self-imposed retirement to rescue a young girl, Teri (Chloë Grace Moretz), he finds himself face to face with ultra-violent Russian gangsters. As he serves vengeance against those who brutalize the helpless, McCall's desire for justice is reawakened. If someone has a problem, the odds are stacked against them, and they have nowhere else to turn, McCall will help. He is The Equalizer.




To go into the running to take a Blu-ray home, simply correctly answer the following question:


Name the 2001 movie which was also directed by Antoine Fuqua and starred Denzel Washington

Continue reading 'Balance the equation in our 'Equilizer' Blu-ray giveaway' (full post)

Deutsche Telekom CEO says that US techies have an unfair advantage

By: Chris Smith | More News: Internet & Websites | Posted: Jan 20, 2015 6:02 am

Timotheus Höttges claimed at the Digital Life Design conference in Munich that companies like Facebook and Google are increasingly turning into communications services, without being regulated as such. During this conference, the Deutsche Telekom stated that "Facebook is a communications service but it's not investing in telco infrastructure; this is unfair. Why does it escape regulation, yet it gathers data freely?"




Höttges went on to mention that Facebook offers a call and messaging service, however they do not have to register with German or U.K regulators, where as telecom companies, like is own do - "There isn't a level playing field."


Deutsche Telekom is further upset as they are investing €23 billion ($26 billion US) over the next 5 years into the German infrastructure, whereas companies like Google and Facebook "are not participating at all." Höttges mentioned that he isn't blaming the Silicon Valley companies directly for negligence, rather pointing towards the regulatory authorities, telling them to do their part and make it easier for traditional telecom companies to compete, adding "what we need is one single legislation for Europe."

The latest trailer for Project Cars is totally gorgeous

By: Anthony Garreffa | More News: Gaming | Posted: Jan 20, 2015 5:37 am

Project CARS isn't too far away from its March release window, so the developer has just unveiled a delicious new trailer for their upcoming highly detailed racing title.



As you can see, Slightly Mad Studios has been doing some great things to the game, showing off some damn impressive technology. The game looks incredibly detailed, with some truly detailed vehicles, slow motion drifting and much more. Slightly Mad Studios is teasing that Project Cars is "the most technically-advanced, beautiful, intense and authentic racing game on the planet that's been tested, guided, and approved every step of the way by both gamers and real-life pro drivers alike".


Project Cars slides onto the Xbox One, PS4, and PC on March 20. The Nintendo Wii U will also see a release, but no firm date has been announced Will you be picking this up in March? I know I will.

Continue reading 'The latest trailer for Project Cars is totally gorgeous' (full post)

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