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Monday, 9 December 2013

The world's biggest data breaches and hacks of 2013

In January this year, The New York Timeshaving been the victim of persistent attacks, experienced a breach which lasted four months.
A sophisticated Chinese hacking team slipped past security systems in order to deploy 45 custom malware pieces and access the computers of 53 employees -- before moving on to a domain controller, breaching the system, and gaining the hashed password of every member of staff on The New York Times payroll. Eventually, once the breach was discovered, the hackers were dispelled. 
The newspaper said that it may have to do with an investigation carried out in October 2012 concerning a story which said the Chinese Prime Minister had accumulated funds through business dealings. The government official said this accusation was "groundless." However, the publication also pointed the finger at security firm Symantec for failing to protect it against the security breach. In response, the security firm said:
"Turning on only the signature-based anti-virus components of endpoint solutions alone are not enough in a world that is changing daily from attacks and threats. We encourage customers to be very aggressive in deploying solutions that offer a combined approach to security.
Anti-virus software alone is not enough."
The Wall Street Journal then came forward, stating that the U.S. publication too had been a victim of attacks designed to monitor reports concerning China, and cyberattacks spanned several years. The WSJ said that "journal sources on occasion have become hard to reach after information identifying them was included in emails," and suggested that information gained by the attackers has worked its way to Chinese authorities, who then took action to silence whistleblowers. 

Game Trailer Time: The Best of the 2013 Spike VGX Awards

The 2013 Spike VGX awards have come and gone. Say what you will about video games award shows — and trust us, plenty of people are — but they do make for an excellent time for developers to show off what they're cooking up across the next few months (or years). To us, at least, it doesn't really matter who wins and loses; the trailers that tease all the hot new games in development are the real prize.
Thankfully, the Spike VGX awards did not disappoint in that regard (although we wouldn't have minded a hint or two of some of the reallyanticipated games in the works like, say, Fallout 4. Or, for that matter, a game or two that everyone doesn't already know about at this point in time.)
So, alas, while many of the new trailers we're about to showcase tease out games that you might already have heard of / are itching to purchase, at least they offer some CG or in-game footage that you might not have previously seen. That's something to celebrate, right? And there's always Tales from the Borderlands, if you really need to get your quick fix from previously unannounced titles.
Without additional ado, we present: The Top Five Trailers You Need To Care About from the 2013 Spike VGX awards.

South Park: The Stick of Truth
Yes, it's South Park doing what South Park does best — mixing semi- (or full-on) grossness with a fair mocking of the fantasy and role-playing genre. This game almost has as many delays under its belt as Kenny has deaths; we're excited to see it come to life if, for nothing else, to prove that it actually has been worked on all these years. That, and we're excited to count up the number of naughty words that might fill an average gaming session with the South Park kids.

If you'll allow me to get personal for a moment, I confess that I'm not the biggest fan of the Halo series. Destiny, Bungie's huge sci-fi follow up to their immense, Master Chief-filled franchise, is allegedly a decent departure from that which you're likely used to playing — "mythic science fiction," as it's been described by members of the game's development crew. That excites me, and the concept of its hybrid multiplayer/single-player setup should excite you too, especially the intriguing AI elements that Bungie is slapping into its lovely planet-based combat.

Game of Thrones
Aren't you busy enough, Telltale games? First, The Walking Dead. Then The Wolf Among Us. Now, Tales from the Borderlands and, if that wasn't enough, a new episodic game based on Game of Thrones as well. We're excited, but do forgive us if we wait for the Stannis Season to fire up before jumping in. (Ours is the fury, after all.)

The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt
Whenever we need a quick fix for a gorgeous, gruesome trailer, we turn to The Witcher series. Remember the assassin-on-the-boat cinematic from the previous title? We sure do. The latest trailer for the third game in the gritty series is a wee shy on crazy, barbaric action, but it still sets a fairly imposing scene. You won't see us taking any courtesy boat rides in this title, that's for sure.

Whether you loved MechWarrior, Power Rangers, or Rock 'Em Sock 'Em Robots in your youth, it's no question that Titanfall has certainly made itself out as one of the likely must-get games on the good ol' Xbox One. Assuming that its mix of giant-painful-robot and guerilla-robot-killing gameplay doesn't fall flat on its metallic face, there's just too much fun to be had by walking around alongside your friends in huge, armored suits, blasting the living daylights out of one another.
If only you could all borrow a page from Transformers and form up into some giant, Devestator/Bruticus killing machine…

Facebook is experimenting with a 'sympathize' button

You must have faced this dilemma a hundred times in the past few years. There are statuses just too sensitive to hit the 'Like' button. How do you react to the news of the death of a friend's aunt on Facebook without looking like a total jerk? With social media increasingly taking over our private space - at the dinner table, during conversations, in the bedroom and at work - the pressure to commiserate is just too great for Facebook to ignore at the moment.
This was first reported by The Huffington Post which quoted a Facebook engineer as saying that the social network has "informally experimented with an alternative to 'like' - specifically, the 'sympathize' button".
The demand and need for a button less upbeat than the 'Like' is ever growing since users complained of the awkwardness of 'liking' someone's sombre status - the death of a pet, the rant against a parent or a traumatic break up. Between a comment and being seen as an insensitive idiot - the options are limited at the moment.

How do you react to the news of the death of a friend's aunt on Facebook without appearing to be a total jerk?

The report said that another Facebook engineer, Dan Muriello, said at aCompassion Research Day event, if a person chose a negative emotion like 'sad' or 'depressed' from Facebook's fixed list of feelings, the 'like' button would be relabeled 'sympathize.'
Facebook toyed with a 'sympathize' button at their hackathon but the 'dislike' button might not happen anytime soon.
The Huffington Post quoted a Facebook spokesman as saying that some of their best ideas came from hackathons.
"The many ideas that don't get pursued often help us think differently about how we can improve our service," he said.
Earlier, product engineer Bob Baldwin had said that the 'dislike' button wasn't happening any time soon. If Facebook can stick to it's words, it's a great decision, really. A dislike button on a social networking site that has hundreds of thousands of young users - many of them struggling with body image issues - will be a trigger for negativity.
Facebook mothers will be a formidable group that will put up a spirited fight with the 'dislike' button linked to their daily stream of baby pictures. If you weren't born during the World War II, simply imagine 'disliking' a baby's photo.