Hitman is a “platform,” not an episodic game

February 10th, 2016
by The Feeder

Last month's announcement that Hitman would be adhering to an episodic release format, in which new locations and missions are released each month, was greeted with an understandable degree of anger by an audience expecting to get its hands on a full product this March. While episodic structures are nothing new at this point, the decision to change Hitman to an episodic release just two months prior to launch raised raised questions. Why was this not communicated earlier? Is the game unfinished? Are players eventually going to get all of the previously promised content? Will it benefit the consumer?

As Hans Seifert, studio head at Hitman developer IO Interactive tells Ars, going episodic was not a last-minute decision, at least from a development point of view.

"We started talking about it when we finished Absolution [in 2012], actually," says Seifert. "Six years passed between Hitman: Blood Money and Hitman: Absolution, and we thought that was too long a period for us to react to any feedback that we had off of the back of Blood Money. After all, every game is a child of its time. Tweaking the game after it has been released has become more and more important. When you look at the current games that are out there some have a very long life. A lot of these haven't relied on adding content over time, but the game itself has been tweaked after release. Then there are episodic games which do add new content, but the game itself hasn't necessarily been changed or improved."

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Posted in episodic, Hitman, IO Interactive, Opposable Thumbs, Square Enix | Comments (0)

ARM cashes in despite growth slowdown in smartphone market

February 10th, 2016
by The Feeder

(credit: Martin Abegglen)

British chip maker ARM boisterously brushed aside concerns about a slide in smartphone sales growth on Wednesday morning, when it reported a robust rise in revenues and pre-tax profit.

The Cambridge-based company told the City that its annual sales had jumped 22 percent to £968.3 million in 2015, while profit before tax hit £414.8 million, up 31 percent from £316.5 million a year earlier. ARM—which has seen its share price take a knock, after Apple recently confirmed that iPhone sales would decline for the first time—added that it had shipped four billion chips in 2015. That's a 16 percent climb compared with its performance in 2014.

ARM said that its strong results had been buoyed by its shift into "emerging market opportunities," such as connected devices. It had also benefited from a growth in royalty sales, particularly for chips based on its ARMv8-A tech.

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Posted in ARM, chip, Imagination Technologies, Ministry of Innovation | Comments (0)

Chinese tech firms entice Opera with $1.2 billion buyout bid

February 10th, 2016
by The Feeder

Opera Software, which is best known for its browser of the same name, has urged its shareholders to accept a buyout offer from a Chinese consortium that values the Norway-based company at £820 million ($1.2 billion).

The acquisition bid comes from a number of Chinese tech firms, including Qihoo—a leading security software company—and mobile Internet provider Kunlun. Opera has been looking for what it calls "strategic opportunities" since August last year, and said that its decision to recommend the offer, led by the Golden Brick Silk Road Fund Management of China, came after "careful consideration of the various opportunities for the company and the proposals received."

Opera's board and shareholders in its management team unanimously accepted the offer. In addition, "larger shareholders representing approximately 33 percent of the Opera shares outstanding, have undertaken to accept the offer for their shares in the company." The Chinese consortium said it was offering 71 NOK (about £5.60) per share, a premium of around 50 percent compared to the recent value of shares, which makes it quite likely that the offer will be accepted by the 90 percent threshold of shareholders needed for the deal to go through.

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Posted in browsers, china, Ministry of Innovation, Opera software | Comments (0)

Gmail to warn you if your friends aren’t using secure e-mail

February 10th, 2016
by The Feeder

Google has confirmed a number of changes to Gmail with the arrival of two new features that will let you know if the people you’re corresponding with aren’t hip with TLS encryption.

The alterations are fairly subtle: when you receive a message from, or are on the brink of sending a message to, someone using a service that doesn’t support encryption, you’ll see a broken lock in the top-right of the screen. Clicking on the icon will bring up a pop-up alert with an explanation and a warning to perhaps consider removing the offending recipient.

Likewise, if you receive a message that can’t be authenticated, you won’t be hit by klaxon alarms. Instead, Gmail will replace the sender's profile photo with an incriminating question mark, identifying them as potentially suspicious. What you do with that information after that, of course, is entirely up to you. Despite the advent of this new warning system, Google stresses that not all affected messages are necessarily harmful. It's just better to practice caution.

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Posted in email, Gmail, google, privacy, Risk Assessment, safety, Technology Lab, TLS encryption | Comments (0)

NHTSA rules that AI can be sole driver of Google’s self-driving cars

February 10th, 2016
by The Feeder

(credit: Google)

The US government has cleared the way for Google to create a self-driving car that doesn't also have a human driver inside the vehicle that can take over if necessary. In this setup, the autonomous driving software itself would be the vehicle's legal "driver"; none of the human passengers would require a driving licence.

In November last year, Google submitted a proposed design to the US National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) for a self-driving car that has "no need for a human driver." On February 4, as reported by Reuters, the NHTSA responded:

"NHTSA will interpret 'driver' in the context of Google's described motor vehicle design as referring to the (self-driving system), and not to any of the vehicle occupants. We agree with Google its (self-driving car) will not have a 'driver' in the traditional sense that vehicles have had drivers during the last more than one hundred years."

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Posted in autonomous cars, Cars Technica, driverless cars, Gear & Gadgets, google, self-driving car | Comments (0)

Bye bye, Flash! Google to Ban Flash-based Advertising

February 10th, 2016
by The Feeder
Google had also joined the path of Apple, Facebook, and Youtube to kill the "Adobe Flash Player" by announcing that the company is banning Flash banner support from its Adwords Advertising platform. "To enhance the browsing experience for more people on more devices, the Google Display Network and DoubleClick Digital Marketing are now going 100% HTML5" Google says. It's been two decades

Posted in Adobe Animate CC, advertisement, animation, flash player, Google Adsense, google adwords management, html5, Technology News | Comments (0)

E5 – The Flies and the Hornet – Swatting Flies

February 10th, 2016
by The Feeder

“How’s it coming?”  Marty entered Erin’s office unannounced.  They had spent so much time shuttling back and forth between his desk and her office that they dropped all formalities and decorum.

Erin looked up from her screen.  “Swatting flies,” she said wearily.

‘Swatting flies’ had become their slogan as they tracked down compromised accounts and systems and worked through determining what had happened.  Erin and a few select members of her team had been very busy comparing access logs with vacation schedules, calendars and such to identify any anomalous activity for users.   They spent extra time searching out instances where users were granted more access than they should – an indicator that the attackers may have escalated their privileges.   It was tedious and time consuming work.  Their Identity Governance solution helped greatly but there was a still a lot of data to sift through.

Marty and Greg were busy performing forensics from desktops and other systems.  They had to analyze any malware infections but the bigger issue was ensuring no backdoors were left open for the attackers to return.  Both teams had been working long hours around the clock to seal off every possible angle.

“Are we sure we want to shut everything down?” Erin asked.  “What if we leave open a few special accounts to monitor what they do?  Maybe we can figure out who did this.”

“How long do you want to be swatting flies, Erin?”  Marty answered.  “We already have interrupted work with the network restrictions.  Plus the systems we had to have reimaged.  Plus the file servers that we took offline temporarily for forensics.  Plus…”

“Alright, alright.”  Erin interrupted.  “I get it.  I am just still really P-O’d about this whole thing.”

“The feeling is mutual.”  Marty agreed and took the final swig of his Mountain Dew.

*****

The guard crouched by the fire outside his lonesome post on a small trail cut into the rocky terrain on the outskirts of the Kingdom.  He eyed the incoming individual rounding the bend in the road leading from the Frontier.  The stranger’s horse clipped clopped at a leisurely pace.  While there was nothing suspicious about the figure, the guard was on high alert and he walked up to the gate spanning the dirt path.   The rider stopped at the gate and whipped out a small leather bound folder.  He handed over his credentials to the guard with disdain.  The horse pawed the ground restlessly, anxious to continue the journey.

The guard peered at the credentials.  He ran his finger over the raised seal indicating the bearer was a privileged member of the castle staff.  The stranger looked down on the guard and gave him a patronizing smile.

The guard gazed up at the rider and smiled back.   With a flick of his wrist, he flung the leather bound credentials into the fire and drew his sword.

The horse bucked, raising its front legs toward the guard as the rider yelled.  With a flurry, the horse and rider wheeled violently away from the guard who shielded himself from the dangerous thrashing hooves.

“Stop!” The guard yelled.

A cloud of dust billowed up from the stony dirt as the horse frantically charged back into the frontier, away from the entrance to the Kingdom.

*****

“You said these were good credentials!”  The Maestro bellowed.

“They were when I got them,” The Siren hissed back.

“So why are they not working now?”

The Siren flung her auburn hair and shrugged her shoulders.  “It’s not my fault you sent blundering fools into the Kingdom and they are now getting caught.”

“Idiots!”  The Maestro roared.  He slammed his fist on the table, knocking over an empty wine bottle.  The bottle bounced off the table and rolled across the floor until it rested finally under the massive boot of the Brute.  The Brute, snoring in the corner, was oblivious to the mayhem swirling around him.

“We are getting more and more reports of our men being turned back at the frontier.  Plus those that were already in the castle have been captured and are now stuck in the dungeon.”  The Maestro huffed and puffed, pacing across the room.

“They should have been more careful.”  The Siren countered.

“No.  It isn’t their fault.  The King’s minions are on to us.  I don’t know how they figured it out but they know more than we think.  But we are only losing meaningless flies.”  The Maestro grinned devilishly. “Our hornet is still ready to strike.”

Come back on Tuesday for the next episode!

The post E5 – The Flies and the Hornet – Swatting Flies appeared first on Speaking of Security - The RSA Blog and Podcast.

Posted in Advanced Persistent Threats, advanced threats, apt, Defend the Kingdom, Enterprise Security, GRC, Home, Identity, identity and access management, incident response, Risk & Compliance (GRC), risk management, security management, security mini-series, security short stories | Comments (0)

Windows 10 Sends Your Data 5500 Times Every Day Even After Tweaking Privacy Settings

February 10th, 2016
by The Feeder
Myth: By disabling all privacy compromising and telemetry features on Windows 10 will stop Microsoft to track your activities. Fact: Even after all telemetry features disabled, Windows 10 is phoning home more than you could ever think of. Ever since the launch of Microsoft's newest operating system, Windows 10 is believed to be spying on its users. I wrote a number of articles to raise

Posted in Download Windows 10, hacking news, Microsoft, privacy settings, Windows 10, windows 10 privacy, Windows 10 Spying | Comments (0)

New Twitter Trust & Safety Council sets out to banish the trolls

February 10th, 2016
by The Feeder
Twitter takes another step to tackle the internet trolls who often make the site a deeply unpleasant or just-plain-terrifying place to be.

Posted in Internet trolls, social media, trolls, twitter | Comments (0)

Under Armour and HTC’s HealthBox: Decent together, weak individually

February 10th, 2016
by The Feeder

Video shot/edited by Jennifer Hahn. (video link)

In the connected fitness world, we have yet to see one truly all-purpose device. There are a number of high-end gadgets, including the Garmin Vivoactive and the Fitbit Surge, that have many important features for workout tracking. However, health is measured by much more than how many times you hit the gym. Under Armour wants to expand personal fitness tech from just one device to an entire ecosystem of hardware and software that works together to help you understand your body.

That's what HealthBox is—inside the physical box, you get a wristband tracker, a heart rate chest strap monitor, and a smart scale. On your smartphone, you have Under Armour Record for keeping track of all your health data, as well as other Under Armour-owned apps including MapMyRun and MyFitnessPal. HealthBox is basically your one-stop shop for connected fitness, giving you three essential devices you need to start reaching new health goals. However, at $400, it doesn't come cheap, and each device could use some fine-tuning. It's a big investment to make, and anyone thinking about it should be serious about fitness so none of the HealthBox items get left behind in a bedside drawer.

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Posted in chest strap, fitness tech, fitness tracker, Gadgetology, Gear & Gadgets, healthbox, heart rate monitor, HTC, smart scale, under armour | Comments (0)