Saudi Aramco, the world's largest oil company, is being cyber-attacked

Anthony Garreffa | Hacking, Security & Privacy | Aug 17, 2012 2:29 AM CDT

Saudi Aramco, who has the title of the world's largest oil company, has been struck by a cyber attack. The company has reported that nearly all of their workstations have been hit by malware, and the breach is said to be similar to the attack on Iranian systems back in Apri, but oil-production industrial equipment was not affected.

Saudi Aramco have said they've disconnected their entire network from the Internet as a precautionary measure, and expect a full recovery of their systems before the end of the week. The oil company hasn't said who is involved, but have insisted that the production of oil has not been altered as a result of the breach. The company said in a statement:

The company employs a series of precautionary procedures and multiple redundant systems within its advanced and complex system that are used to protect its operational and database systems.

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Crytek CEO: Crysis 3 will 'melt down PCs'

Anthony Garreffa | Gaming | Aug 17, 2012 1:18 AM CDT

Crysis 3's graphics may look good, but we all know how Crysis 2 turned out, even after Crytek CEO Cevat Yerli said just how important PC was to Crytek, and now we're hearing the same things, yet again. Yerli has revealed during an EA livestream that Crysis 3 will push PC gamers' rigs like the first one did.

We all know the next line, "will it run Crysis", was the first comment on most threads, reviews, and websites when a new GPU was launched, it looks like Crysis 3 could do this yet again. Yerli even comments, saying "that joke will be resurrected again with Crysis 3, I'm quite sure about that. There are brutal expectations around the PC version of Crysis 3. So this time we promise to melt down PCs."

I'm disappointed, because I feel like we've heard it all before. Crysis tells us how PC will be looked after, then releases Crysis 2 in DX9-only, with a DX11 patch afterwards. Even then, it didn't look all that great, considering how Crysis launched and virtually blew every other game engine out of the water. The original Crysis also launched in DX10, which was strange that its sequel years later, launched in DX9. This is because Crytek switched from developing for PC only, to multi-platform to cater for those juicy console sales.

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RumorTT: Apple's set-top box could include cloud DVR, iPad-like interface, social features, and more

Another Apple-related RumorTT post, but this time it's not about their next-gen iPhone, sales, iPad, or their TV. This post is about the Cupertino-based company's vision of a set-top box, as reported by the Wall Street Journal. Apple look to want to feature a cloud-based DVR functionality, and an iPad-like interface. The features are said to be summed up into four basic details:

An iPad-like interface doesn't sound too strange, it's something I would actually totally expect. I personally think they should have an option when you buy the set-top box (or TV), if you're an owner of an iPhone, iPad or iPod (or any iOS-based device) then you should be able to download an application that would act as a remote, iRemote? Alternatively, or additionally, there should be an iOS-based touchscreen controller you should be able to purchase.

Cloud DVR? This sounds like iTunes on steroids, but would be great for customers who want a super-easy way of catching up on TV, or movies. Social features, well, considering iOS sports Twitter and Facebook deeply in iOS and OSX in the near future, with the former deeply integrated now, this should be another day-one feature of the STB. Apple still have a lot of work on the business side of things before something like this could take off.

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Disney confirms The Avengers 2 hits theaters May 1, 2015

Trace Hagan | TV, Movies & Home Theatre | Aug 16, 2012 7:32 PM CDT

Avengers fans rejoice! Disney has confirmed that the sequel to the massively successful movie, The Avengers, will indeed hit theaters on May 1, 2015. About two weeks ago, a rumor hit the scene that pegged this as the day that the sequel would hit theaters, but most doubted it as the person claiming this, MTV, didn't name sources.

This morning, Disney unleashed the following press release:

SEQUEL TO MARVEL'S THE AVENGERS TO HIT THEATERS MAY 1, 2015

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New Zealand court rules FBI must release evidence against Kim Dotcom

Trace Hagan | Business, Financial & Legal | Aug 16, 2012 6:29 PM CDT

The United States government just can't seem to catch a break when it comes to the MegaUpload/Kim Dotcom lawsuit. First, the warrant used to raid his house has been overturned by New Zealand. Then, his extradition hearing was pushed all the way back to March, 2013. Now, a New Zealand court has ruled that the FBI must release all evidence against him for his extradition hearing.

This strikes a major blow to the United States as the FBI has been doing their best to keep their evidence secret. The New Zealand court has made a logical argument in which they state that "severely restrict[ing] the ability of [one party] to file relevant evidence would not easily be characterised as 'fair.'"

The New Zealand court asserts that there is no reason that the evidence cannot be presented in New Zealand and subsequently presented in the United States. Furthermore, the court cites the Bill of Rights Act and it's requirements for a fair hearing. Some interesting sections of the ruling follow:

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Android malware level has tripled in Q2 2012

Trace Hagan | Hacking, Security & Privacy | Aug 16, 2012 3:31 PM CDT

Malware is bad. It's created by people who want to cause you trouble or steal your information. It's a fact of life that Windows will always be a target of malware, but how about Android? It seems as more hackers and scammers are now targeting the mobile operating system with varying degrees of success.

In the second quarter of 2012, Kaspersky Labs found that the number of malware out there targeting Android has tripled. Likely this is the result of an increased number of Android phones giving malicious programmers a wider base to attack. This is the same reason so many different malwares are written for Windows.

During the three months that make up the second quarter, the number of new malware increased to nearly 15,000. 49 percent of the malware were multi-functional Trojans designed to steal data such as contact names, phone numbers, and e-mails. 25 percent were SMS Trojans which send texts to premium numbers to gain money for the programmer.

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Fujitsu releases military-grade Android 4.0 tablet, only costs $549

Trace Hagan | Mobile Devices, Tablets & Phones | Aug 16, 2012 11:31 AM CDT

When I hear military-grade, I immediately hear "expensive," however, that's not the case with Fujitsu's new military-grade tablet. At $549, it's $50 less than a storage-comparable Apple iPad 3--and the device even weighs less than it does. It manages all of this while being tested to meet or exceed military durability standard MIL-STD-810G.

So just what do you get with the Fujitsu M532? Well, it features a quad-core Tegra 3 processor and 1 GB of RAM stuffed behind a 10.1-inch IPS display running at WXGA (1280 x 800) resolution. Camera-wise, it features an 8-megapixel rear-facing camera and a two-megapixel front-facing camera.

It weighs in at just 1.23 pounds which, as I said, is less than the iPad 3's 1.44 pounds. Furthermore, the battery is said to last for 8.4 hours of video playback, which should get you through at least 3 movies and will get you most of the way to Europe from the United States. You also get a one-year license for device tracking through Absolute Computrace.

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MPEG releases draft for a new video codec, H.265, would halve video bandwidth

Anthony Garreffa | Software & Apps | Aug 16, 2012 5:25 AM CDT

The Motion Pictures Expert Group (MPEG) has released a new draft which should see the release of a new video codec, H.265. The proposed High Efficiency Video Coding (HEVC) looks to save on space by up to 50% of the current MPEG-4 H.264 standard, with its aim of reducing the amount of bandwidth used by online video applications, making room for more.

A group of 450 people met in Stockholm during July in order to approve the new codec, which if adopted, would see double the amount of TV channels broadcast, all in the same amount of spectrum. Per Fröjdh, chairman of the Swedish MPEG delegation and manager for Visual Technology at Ericsson Research has said it will "have an enormous impact on the industry", and rightly so. He also notes that it is currently predicted that video could account for "90 percent of all network traffic" by 2015.

Fröjdh also believes that the new HEVC format could see a launch in the commercial product space as soon as next year. Apple would hopefully be an early adopter in H.265, as they were in H.264. Nokia and Microsoft also recommend H.264 as an alternative to plugins for video in the HTML5 specification. We should hear more about H.265 over the coming months.

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Planetary Annihilation gets Kickstarter funding, is 'Total Annihilation-inspired gameplay on a planetary scale'

Anthony Garreffa | Gaming | Aug 16, 2012 2:26 AM CDT

Developer Uber Entertainment wants to get out from behind games such as Super Monday Night Combat and create a real-time strategy title called Planetary Annihilation. Uber Entertainment has taken to Kickstarter to finance the $900,000 cost of the game, but they're also taking donations through the game's website, too.

What the best bit of this news is, is that Planetary Annihilation is described as "Total Annihilation-inspired gameplay on a planetary scale". Now, when I was in high school, I would've spent hundreds upon hundreds of hours on Total Annihilation, I had a non-cached version of the Celeron 300, and if I reset my computer 20-30 times, it would somehow clock in at 333MHz instead of 300MHz. I would get a decent frame rate boost when there were tonnes of units on screen. I upgraded so many times for this game it wasn't funny. Nostalgia, check.

Planetary Annihilation will give players the chance to create their own maps, and in the case of this planetary game, their own planets and systems, where players will be able to publish and share out to the community. Multiplayer skirmishes are said to have anywhere between two and 40 players, and in order to handle the amount of load on the server, Planetary Annihilation will employ a client-server model to handle the majority of the work on running multiplayer matches, meaning that real-time multiplayer won't be slowed down by slower systems.

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DriverTT: AMD Catalyst 12.8's are now available

Anthony Garreffa | Software & Apps | Aug 16, 2012 1:21 AM CDT

AMD have just released a tasty version of their Catalyst drivers, version 12.8. The biggest gem in this driver is most likely going to be the Windows 8 support, which includes AMD's first logo certified and unified driver for Windows 8 production. This includes:

Major technologies / features also supported under Windows 8:

There's also some performance improvements with Catalyst 12.8 when versed against Catalyst 12.6:

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