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Syrian Electronic Army claims latest victim, plagues CNN's accounts

By: Michael Hatamoto | More News: Hacking & Security | Posted: Jan 24, 2014 7:44 am

Media giant CNN was recently attacked by the Syrian Electronic Army hacker group, with several social media accounts and one live blog targeted. The official CNN Twitter and Facebook accounts were temporarily defaced before CNN was able to regain control within a few minutes.

 

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The CNN Twitter feed featured the following tweet, for example: "Syrian Electronic Army Was Here... Stop Lying.... All your reports are fake!"

 

CNN was reportedly targeted for reportedly "viciously lying reporting aimed at prolonging the suffering in Syria," according to the group.

 

The Syrian Electronic Army recently targeted Microsoft's social media accounts, and continues to take aim at high-profile targets. Even if the compromised company is able to reset passwords and delete fraudulent postings, screenshots are quickly shared. The SEA also has hit The New York Times, Associated Press, BBC, Al Jazeera, The Guardian, and other major global news publications during its campaign.

British government wants to throw file sharers into the slammer

By: Michael Hatamoto | More News: Internet & Websites | Posted: Jan 24, 2014 6:35 am

British government officials are currently debating the Intellectual Property Bill, with the Prime Minister's staff looking to crack down severely on repeat file sharers. The government wants to begin removing Internet access privileges to repeat offenders that are determined to be 'persistent offenders.' In fact, increasing the maximum penalty for copyright infringement up to 10 years is a current topic of discussion during the meeting.

 

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"The discrepancy I mentioned is a source of great frustration," said Mike Weatherly, the Prime Minister's intellectual property MP, in a statement. "For example, the private prosecution by the Federation Against Copyright Theft of Anton Vickerman, who was making £50,000 a month from running a website (SurfTheChannel) that facilitated mass-scale copyright infringement, saw him convicted of conspiracy to defraud and sentenced to four years in prison."

 

A counter argument issued by Helen Goodman, UK MP, noted that it seems ignorant to distinguish between the teenager downloading music for a mobile device and organized copyright piracy groups.

 

National governments in North America and much of Europe are trying to combat online piracy and copyright infringement - with varying levels of success - and will continue to be a major issue in 2014.

Edward Snowden says he can't get a fair trial if he returns to the US

By: Michael Hatamoto | More News: Hacking & Security | Posted: Jan 24, 2014 5:07 am

Edward Snowden, the former National Security Agency (NSA) IT contractor now living in Russia following his high-profile data leak, won't return to the United States until current laws are changed. The federal Whistleblower Protection Act isn't applicable to former government contractors, which means he could face significant legal trouble if he returns to the United States.

 

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"Returning to the U.S., I think, is the best resolution for the government, the public, and myself, but it's unfortunately not possible in the face of current whistleblower protection laws," Snowden said in response to a question about getting a fair shake if he one day returns to the United States.

 

It seems highly unlikely Snowden will return to the U.S. unless he's offered immunity by the U.S. government, which is something the White House hasn't recently discussed publicly. It seems that the NSA and other government agencies would be able to learn from Snowden, but he won't touch U.S. soil just to face possible espionage charges.

 

Snowden is currently in Russia where he was given one-year asylum, and could eventually find his way to a country like Brazil after his stay in Russia ends. There are rumors private Russian companies are interested in hiring Snowden and trying to help him secure permanent residency.

Tivo axes most of hardware team, shifting efforts to software

By: Michael Hatamoto | More News: Software | Posted: Jan 24, 2014 3:41 am

TiVo has laid off its hardware team as the company continues to transition into cloud-based streaming services, while the home entertainment industry continues to evolve. The company didn't officially say the hardware staff was laid off, with company executives noted the employees were "reassigned," though didn't mention if they were given a new role.

 

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"We continue to balance appropriate levels of staffing and expertise necessary to support our existing hardware business and continue our innovation in hardware platforms and accessories with the need to allocate resources where strategic growth opportunities exist - and there is no doubt that we expect growth in the cloud-based delivery aspects of TiVo's business," said Steve Wymer, TiVo VP of Public Relations and corporate communications.

 

During the 2014 Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas earlier this month, TiVo didn't announce any new direct-to-consumer products.

 

If TiVo is axing its hardware division, it's hard to imagine the company will continue on making set-top boxes and other hardware - even if company officials claim they plan to.

Intel's Bay Trail NUC now on sale in the US

By: Charles Gantt | More News: Computer Systems | Posted: Jan 24, 2014 1:50 am

Back in September the internet was set abuzz with rumors of a new NUC from Intel that features the company's Bay Trail technology, and today the new Bay Trail NUC is finally available for retail sales in the US. At the moment, AVA Direct appears to be the only retailer selling the device though.

 

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The new DN2820FYKH barebones kit is based on Intel's micro NUC chassis design and features a Celeron N2820 processor with dual Silvermont cores clocked in at 2.4GHz. The devices GPU clock is set at 756MHz as well making it much faster than the Atom-based NUCs currently on the market. Users will need to add their own RAM (up to 8GB is supported) via a single SO-DIMM slot, as well as wireless card via a single PCIE slot. Users will also have to bring their own storage to the party with drives up to 9.5-mm thick being supported.

Raptr details most played games of December 2014

By: Charles Gantt | More News: Gaming | Posted: Jan 24, 2014 12:50 am

Today, Raptr unveiled its list of the most played PC games during December of 2013. While the the list is only comprised of data from those who use the social gaming service, the results are still quite telling. Dota 2 still claims the top spot as most played game, while WoW and LoL round out the top 3.

 

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Not surprisingly, Battlefield 4 sits at number 5 despite the server issues that still plague the game. Interestingly enough, the fifth spot is Starbound, a game that is not even available in the mainstream yet and can only be found on Seam Early Access. Counter Strike: GO, Minecraft, Warframe, Final Fantasy XIV, and Team Fortress 2 round out the top ten, while Skyrim, Hearthstone: Heroes of Warcraft , Civ V, and Left 4 Dead 2 make it into the top 20.

Just Cause 2 multiplayer gets updated to include map creator

By: Charles Gantt | More News: Gaming | Posted: Jan 23, 2014 11:59 pm

Anyone who followed my coverage of the Grand Theft Auto 5 build up and launch will know how disappointed I was that RockStar failed to launch the game on PC. While my disappointment was partially because I wanted to play the game on PC, the biggest factor was that GTA Online was not coming to PC anytime soon.

 

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Fortunately, late last year, some community members got together and created a multiplayer mod for Just Cause 2, one of my top 10 favorite video games of all time. Over the last two months, I have been having a blast entering demolition derbies, playing custom manhunt scenarios, and even racing throughout the vast map of JC2. Today the developers of JC2 MP released an update that now lets server admins create custom maps. Additionally functionality has been built-in to allow server admins to permit users to build world elements and maps themselves. So over the next few months, I expect one of the most fun games in existence to get even better.

Mobile workers would rather telecommute than receive a pay raise

By: Michael Hatamoto | More News: Mobile Devices, Tablets & Phones | Posted: Jan 23, 2014 11:54 pm

Around 53 percent of workers recently surveyed said they would rather telecommute from home two or three days per week instead of receiving a 10 percent pay raise, according to a new study shared by network hardware company Aruba Networks.

 

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As more consumers, especially those in the 18 to 35 age demographic own at least three connected devices, mobile working is something many workers are increasingly comfortable with. Almost half of employees claim they work efficiently outside of a typical eight-hour workday, preferring to break up work throughout the day - and 79 percent of workers say they believe they work better when at home.

 

In Silicon Valley and among many companies located in metropolitan areas, telecommuting for at least one day per week is on the rise - among other perks - aimed at wooing young, tech savvy people into the workplace. There are ongoing research studies trying to determine if employees work better in the office, at home, or a mix of both spread out evenly throughout the work week.

Privacy board says NSA's phone surveillance actions illegal

By: Michael Hatamoto | More News: Hacking & Security | Posted: Jan 23, 2014 10:54 pm

The National Security Agency (NSA) phone surveillance program that monitored U.S. citizen phone calls wasn't legal, according to the Privacy and Civil Liberties Oversight Board. Of note, the panel discovered Section 215 of the Patriot Act doesn't give the NSA legal basis to listen in and record phone conversations of American citizens.

 

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"The report reaffirms the conclusion of many that the Section 215 bulk phone records program has not been critical to our national security, is not worth the intrusion on Americans' privacy, and should be shut down immediately," said Sen. Patrick Leah, (D-Vermont), in a statement. "The report appropriately calls into question the legality and constitutionality of the program, and underscores the need to change the law to rein in the government's overboard interpretation of Section 215."

 

Following data leaks of Edward Snowden, a former NSA IT contractor, President Barack Obama and the NSA have battled against strong public backlash. White House Press Secretary Carney fired back against the PCLOB's analysis, saying the White House "simply disagrees" on the "legality of the program," in what will continue to be a complicated matter.

ZOTAC unveils ZBOX Nano series featuring Intel Haswell

By: Charles Gantt | More News: Computer Systems | Posted: Jan 23, 2014 10:50 pm

Today ZOTAC announced the launch of its ZBOX Nano series of mini-PCs featuring Intel "Haswell" 4th Generation Core processors. The new ZBOX ID68 and ZBOX ID69 series mini-PCs feature Intel Core i5 and i7 processors with Intel Turbo Boost Technology and take palm-sized computing to new levels.

 

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"Users that want a taste of Intel Turbo Boost technology can opt for the ZOTAC ZBOX nano ID68 series with a high-performance Intel Core i5 4200U that can turbo boost up to 2.6 GHz," Zotac said in a release. "Demanding users that require the best performance available from the compact form factor can step up to the ZOTAC ZBOX nano ID69 series with an Intel Core i7 4500U processor that turbo boosts up to 3.0 GHz."

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