RansomWeb appears to be emerging new cyberattack against victims

Michael Hatamoto | Hacking, Security & Privacy | Jan 31, 2015 4:20 AM CST

A new cyber threat victimizing users is the 'RansomWeb' attack, which leaves compromised websites encrypted - and they will remain that way until the victim pays a ransom to cyberattackers. The threat was first detected by cybersecurity firm High-Tech Bridge, investigating a client website, which displayed a database error.

The cybercriminals demanded a $50,000 ransom in exchange for decrypting the database, despite it being compromised six months prior. A closer inspection found that several server scripts were edited so data was encrypted before it was submitted to the database, and data was decrypted after being pulled from the database.

Instead of an immediate ransom demand - like ransomware attacks against business users - the cybercriminals patiently waited until backups were also overwritten.

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AMD is offering discounts to GTX 970 owners amid VRAM controversy

By now I'm sure you've read about the VRAM issues surrounding the GeForce GTX 970, and AMD taking a stab at NVIDIA because of it, but now the former is offering gamers special discounts if they return their GTX 970s and pick up a Radeon card.

AMD's Roy Taylor has taken to Twitter, offering GTX 970 owners who return their cards special discounts if they swap them out for Radeon cards, including the R9 290 and R9 290X. Taylor tweeted "Anyone returning their GTX970 and wanting a great deal on a Radeon with a full 4GB please let us know" and even tagged the @NVIDIAGeForce Twitter account at the time.

Are you a GeForce GTX 970 owner? Will you be trading in your GTX 970 for the Radeon R9 290X?

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UK surveillance chief: CCTVs are all over, and too many are useless

Michael Hatamoto | Cameras, Printers & Scanners | Jan 30, 2015 11:35 PM CST

The UK may have anywhere from 4 million up to 5.9 million CCTV cameras in use, but many of the cameras are useless and there must be concern so the region doesn't 'sleepwalk' towards becoming a surveillance state, according to UK Surveillance Camera Commissioner Tony Porter.

"You can still maintain the balance of excellent surveillance but not have a propagation of surveillance that is actually useless," Porter recently said on BBC Radio 5. "Surveillance can be an extremely good thing and run well, it's a useful tool for society. But to quote a former information commissioner, 'we should not sleepwalk into a surveillance society.'"

Broken, damaged and older analog cameras aren't effective to enhance public safety and deter crime, Porter also added. In the future, Porter wants better interaction with the public, especially regarding regulation so cameras are not simply being added just for the sake of purchasing and installing new cameras - especially if there is no benefit to the public.

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Microsoft is building 'magical, delightful' next-gen tech

Anthony Garreffa | Gaming | Jan 30, 2015 8:54 PM CST

Microsoft has been slowly unveiling some exciting stuff lately, where we have Windows 10 and HoloLens to look forward to, the company is now hiring new staff, including a Senior Software Engineer position for something even more 'magical'.

A job listing has popped up on the Microsoft Careers spage for a Senior Software Engineer who will help the development team built "magical, delightful and disruptive consumer experiences for the next generation of technology (from the creators of the Kinect: Alex Kipman & Kudo Tsunoda)" and the company is "looking to make significant contributions to the early stages of a project with huge growth potential".

This could mean we'll see it reach the Xbox One, or something new is coming. I would peg it on HoloLens, but we could see it reach the Xbox One or even Windows 10. The Xbox One for me, is kinda dead ass you can't add some magical peripheral to it like VR as the system isn't fast enough to deliver the experience Microsoft will need to beat Oculus VR and the Rift. But something for HoloLens and Windows 10? Now you're talking.

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Recent fake Facebook porn links infecting systems with a Trojan virus

Chris Smith | Hacking, Security & Privacy | Jan 30, 2015 6:54 PM CST

Don't ever click porn links on Facebook - it's a very good rule to follow in general, however if you're looking to get a porn fix through this popular social media, you need to be extremely alert and aware. Reportedly infecting over 110,000 Facebook users within two days, not everyone is as smart as you might have hoped.

Disguised as a Flash update, this disguised-malware post will tell you to quickly download and run an update in order to see a withheld porn video - doing so will download a Trojan directly onto your system, allowing a hacker to take control of your keyboard and mouse. This virus will then start linking multiple similar links on your wall and tagging up to 20 friends with each post.

Facebook have released an official statement on the matter, saying "we use a number of automated systems to identify potentially harmful links and stop them from spreading. In this case, we're aware of these malware varieties, which are typically hosted as browser extensions and distributed using links on social media sites." In order to cull the wave of infections, Facebook is "blocking links to these scams, offering cleanup options, and pursuing additional measures to ensure that people continue to have a safe experience on Facebook."

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'Game of Thrones' season five trailer hints at the epicness

Ben Gourlay | Celebrities & Entertainment | Jan 30, 2015 6:47 PM CST

With fans eagerly awaiting the return of the long running fantasy drama series 'Game of Thrones' on April 12th, HBO have now released the first trailer from the upcoming fifth season of the George R.R. Martin adaptation.

The two-minute trailer sheds some light on the upcoming plot twists and reveals some of the new characters, including cast memebrss Alexander Siddig, Toby Sebastian, Nell Tiger Free, Keisha Castle-Hughes, Jessica Henwick, Rosabell Laurenti Sellers, DeObia Oparei, Jonathan Pryce, Hannah Waddingham, Enzo Cilenti, Michael Condron, and Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje who join the cast for the first time.

This weekend, 'Game of Thrones' hits select IMAX theatres in the US, with two episodes from the fourth season; 'The Watchers on the Wall' and 'The Children' remastered utilising IMAX digital technology.

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This PC-modified PowerMac G4 is amazing

Chris Smith | Modding | Jan 30, 2015 6:34 PM CST

We've been covering various large and small PC builds over the last few weeks, trawling the internet looking at rigid-tubing, SLI setups, crazy colors and massive overclocks, so here's something a little different - the Sour Apple.

Modder Gardnerphotos has taken a boring old PowerMac G4, slapped a #PCMasterRace array of components within and made it his own.

Modified to fit an ASRock Z87m OC Formula motherboard, an Intel i7 4770k and an AMD Radeon 7990 - the yellow and black themed interior is all cooled by 3x240mm radiators connected to hard acrylic tubing containing Mayhems Pastel Sunset Yellow coolant.

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Foxconn looking to trim their workforce, favoring robot production

Chris Smith | Science, Space, Health & Robotics | Jan 30, 2015 6:03 PM CST

With 1.3 million employees under their wing during peak production time, Foxconn Technology Group, the world's largest contract electronics manufacturer and maker of Apple devices, recently let slip that plans are being put into place to reduce their global human workforce, favoring a robot alternative.

Currently sitting as one of the largest private employers in the world, Foxconn reported slows in revenue growth over the last few years, coupled with rising Chinese wages. Group spokesman Louis Woo has stated that this is a concern for his company. Without mentioning a specific time frame or target for this operation, he noted that labor costs have over doubled since 2010. Speaking to media, Woo stated that "we've basically stabilized (our workforce) in the last three years. We would like to stabilize our employee headcount no matter how fast we are growing in the future."

When Woo was asked if Foxconn was looking to reduce its overall employee number, he answered that there were internal targets for long term cuts, however he was unable to disclose any figures, adding "it depends how successful we are in terms of introducing the process automation and also the robotics."

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IoT increasing, but so are potential cybersecurity concerns

There are plenty of opportunities for consumers and companies embracing the Internet of Things (IoT), but trying to secure connected things will be extremely difficult. Vendors must embrace continuous testing programs to verify their services are secure - and consumers will need to utilize available security protocols, while pushing for new securities in the future.

Regardless of potential privacy and security concerns, expect to see a number of new connected things in the coming years - with everything from smart energy meters to security, lighting and air conditioning expected to be connected. There will be over 28 billion things installed in households and apartments by 2020, according to IDC.

"IoT is a very fast moving space, and the pressure on companies to get new things to market almost invariably comes at the expense of proper security practices," said Casey Ellix, CEO of Bugcrowd cybersecurity firm, in a statement published by Forbes. "On top of this, many of the devices are built on top of open source libraries and components, which themselves have vulnerabilities which are discovered on a regular basis."

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US sources say Ukrainian forces face drones, electronics jamming

Michael Hatamoto | Drones | Jan 30, 2015 3:54 PM CST

Ukrainian forces are overwhelmed by drones and electronic jamming from pro-Russian separatists, as electronic warfare shows how devastating it can be on the battlefield. Ukrainian soldiers lack proper training and equipment to stop continued artillery strikes, and cannot communicate with one another due to radio signals being jammed.

"It is very difficult for Ukrainian forces to be able to operate on radios, telephones and other non-secure means of communications because their opponents have such an exceptional amount of jamming capability," said Lieutenant General Ben Hodges, commander of US Army Europe, in a statement to reporters. "Even if you can acquire where mortar or rockets are coming from, to be able to do something about it is very difficult if you can't communicate."

In addition to electronic warfare, pro-Russian fighters are using drones to conduct surveillance operations - collecting intelligence on Ukrainian military defenses and locations. The drones likely originated from the Russian government, and have become vital in coordinated artillery and mortar strikes against Ukrainian soldiers.

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