Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Sony had to dig up old BlackBerrys to function during hack


When Sony Pictures' computers were hacked on Thanksgiving, its employees were forced to use older technologies to keep things running, according to reports by The Wall Street Journal and The New York Times. Staff relayed details about the hack from one person to another via phone, and had to haul in old machines to issue physical checks instead of transferring salaries through bank deposit. Sony execs also reverted to old BlackBerry company phones -- as they can send and receive emails through their own servers. These reports don't only shed light on what happened (and what continues to happen) behind the scenes at Sony, they also give us a glimpse at how the investigation was handled.

FBI wants to know if US banks launched revenge hacks against Iran

They wanna know

Your parents might have told you that revenge solves nothing, but it's not clear that American banks have learned the same lesson. Bloomberg sources understand that the FBI is investigating whether or not US financial institutions hired hackers to conduct retaliatory hacks against Iran, crippling the servers that had been used to attack the companies starting in 2012. There isn't any hard evidence banks acted on their anger, although they at least came close. JPMorgan Chase acknowledged that one of its officials proposed an offshore strike that would have knocked the Iranian servers out of commission. The staffer didn't offer a full-fledged plan, however, and nothing appears to have come out of the idea.

Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Microsoft is building a new web browser for Windows 10, may kill off Internet Explorer

It was about time.

According to a few sources from within Microsoft, it appears that the company is working on a new web browser — codenamed Spartan — that will debut with Windows 10. Spartan will reportedly look like a mix of Firefox and Chrome, with tabs above the address bar — and, perhaps most excitingly, Spartan will apparently support real browser extensions. (Extensions/add-ons in current versions of Internet Explorer are a bit of a joke.)

Monday, December 29, 2014

You only need a camera (and luck) to copy someone's fingerprints

The possibilities...

Forget having to lift smudges from a touchscreen to copy someone's fingerprints. According to a Chaos Computer Club presentation, you only need a camera... well, that and a little luck. The hacking association's Jan Krissler recently demonstrated that you can reproduce someone's fingerprint by getting a few good photos of their hand and processing it through off-the-shelf authentication software like VeriFinger. In Kessler's case, he got the German Defense Minister's thumbprint through photos from a press conference.

As you might already suspect, this isn't a surefire way of grabbing prints. It only works so long as you have access to high-quality snapshots of someone's digits. That's relatively easy with hand-waving celebrities and politicians, but it's far from guaranteed that someone will snap photos of your fingers while you're crossing the street. And of course, data thieves would still need to get your devices or otherwise find a way to sign in using your biometric info. The practical danger is low -- the concern is more that a determined intruder doesn't have to work quite so hard to get your secrets.

Source: Engadget

Your VB Kid

Friday, December 26, 2014

Sound Off! What are some games and gadgets that are fun for the whole family?

Wanna play?

The holidays are here and many of us are travelling to visit families located far and wide. While it's always good to see our relatives, it's not as enjoyable to talk politics with Grandpa all day. We really need some entertaining ways to keep everyone sane. Fortunately there's a variety of games available on our tablets, phones, computers, and digital media streamers that are perfect for groups. What are your favourite standbys? Head over to the Engadget forums and share the games and gadgets you play with your family in order to keep things relaxing and fun.

Source: Engadget

Your VB Kid

Thursday, December 25, 2014

500 Blog Posts!

I know it's a bit late,but hey, here it is.


Thank you so much!

Subscribe to my channel: VB Kid

The Chief Technomancer
VB Kid

Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Apple pushes its first ever silent, automatic security update to Mac OS X to fix NTP bug


Apple has pushed out its first ever automatic, silent security update to Mac OS X users, fixing a vulnerability in NTP that would’ve allowed hackers to turn Macs into DDoS zombies. In some ways, this finally brings Apple up to parity with Microsoft: Windows has technically had the ability to do automatic updates for a long time, though it’s very rare to see them performed while a system is in use — usually Windows waits for you to shut down to reboot before installing patches. Rather impressively, the OS X security patch should install transparently, with no need to restart.

Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Google's next lot of driverless cars won't look so silly

Mountain View wants help building its autonomous wheels

Fear not, Google's driver less cars should look a tad less ridiculous next year.

Google won't build its own self-driving cars, it's going to partner up instead
Will roll out 'beta one' models in 2015

2015 is set to be a big year for driverless cars, and Google is on the prowl for manufacturers to build them.

Monday, December 22, 2014

The Open Bay: Now you can download and host your own copy of The Pirate Bay

The Bay is now yours..... to keep

If you’re still lamenting the loss of The Pirate Bay, which was shut down last week by Swedish police, you now have an intriguing new option: If you have some web hosting, a small amount of tech savvy, and you’re located in a country where it’s legal, you can now easily host your own Pirate Bay. Called The Open Bay, it’s as simple as downloading some files from Github and running a setup wizard. If you so wish, the download also includes the complete database of torrents from The Pirate Bay, KickassTorrents, and IsoHunt.

Friday, December 19, 2014

Android 5.1 arriving as soon as February?

Large number of improvements touted

Android Lollipop is slowly but surely rolling out around the world, but one report reckons Google is already planning to push Android 5.1 to our handsets in a matter of weeks.

AndroidPIT says that two separate inside sources have confirmed that Google is readying 5.1 for early next year, with the update said to be launching by the end of February.

We've contacted Google to ask if this is true, but the Android-maker declined to comment.

PC Format turns 300!

Grab a free issue of issue one to see how far we've come…

Where's our telegram from the Queen?

Three hundred issues. Twenty four years. Over 22,000 pages covering the wonderful world of technology, equating to something like 13 million words on our favourite subject.

That's an incredible body of work, and a great achievement for this humble magazine.

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Sony can make any eyewear more like Google Glass

This should be nice

Sony has just announced a new attachable display module that can turn a "pair of fashionable glasses, goggles, sunglasses, or other type of eyewear" into smartglasses. And, yes, it's completely detachable so you can remove it whenever you want to. This module is comprised of a control board where the Bluetooth and WiFi sensors, processor and other components live, along with a 640x400 OLED microdisplay that serves as your screen. The company sees a long list of potential applications for sports, work and entertainment, so it plans to provide "partner organizations" with an SDK.

Aside from software developing partners, we reckon there could well be hardware makers looking to incorporate the module in their own devices. Sony's camera sensors, for instance, are found in Apple's iPhones. That's why we wouldn't be entirely surprised if Google chooses this single-lens display for its next-gen Glass eyewear -- after all, Mountain View's already ditching TI's OMAP processor for Intel -- even though this will barely improve the device's 640x360 resolution. Sony plans to start mass production in 2015, so we'll likely hear about new devices equipped with this module in a year or two.

Source: Engadget

Your VB Kid

Uncrackable quantum authentication uses photons to secure your data

Are they sure?

Multi-factor verification adds an extra layer of authentication to gain access to your data, but for hackers, that just amounts to an extra layer to bypass — a bump in the road. A new type of verification, quantum authentication, doesn’t just add an extra layer, but is nearly impossible to crack from the start.

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

BT is about to buy EE. No, really

It's been doing the rounds in the rumour mill and now BT has confirmed that it has entered into exclusive negotiations to purchase mobile network EE for £12.5bn.

If you're an EE customer don't panic just yet, as the potential takeover is still very much in its infancy and there's a long way for BT to go before it can complete any kind of deal.

The Game Forum

Some thoughts that I have on the way gaming forum are, then and now.

Tekken Zaibatsu

Here we go:

That's just what I think

BTW: This is the 500th post on this blog.

The Chief Technomancer
VB Kid

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Tech industry completes its standards for banishing passwords

Banish the password?

Hate typing passwords? You might not have to enter them for much longer. The FIDO Alliance (backed by Google, Microsoft, PayPal and Samsung, among others) has just published the completed versions of its password-free standards for both regular and two-factor authentication. Apps and websites using the technology can now rely on a number of easier and typically more secure ways to sign you in, such as fingerprint readers and USB dongles, without having to worry about the exact device you're using. There are already some hardware and software solutions that play nicely with FIDO, but the existence of firm specs should significantly boost your choices in 2015.

Like many standards, there's some room to improve. The identity standards don't yet support Bluetooth- or NFC-based authentication, so you'll still have to use built-in gadgets or wired peripherals to prove your identity. Also, there are still holes in support. Apple's Touch ID fingerprint system doesn't work with FIDO outside of a third-party offering from Nok Nok Labs, and many other mobile and PC vendors are sitting on the sidelines. But hey, it's a start -- anything that saves you from having to memorize a convoluted series of characters is a good thing.

Source: Engadget

VB Kid

Tuesday, December 09, 2014

Barack Obama just became the first US president to write a computer program

One with the code

Remember that Hour of Code event ? The one that had President Barack Obama hosting a computer science workshop at the White House? Turns out the president used the event to mark a new milestone in American history: He's now the first US president to write a computer program. Specifically, the president used Google's Blockly tool to craft a tiny segment of code to draw a square. It's not a very useful program, but its creation is symbolic of the event's message -- with a little effort, anybody can learn to code. Even one of the busiest men on the planet.

Source: Engadget

VB Kid

Firefox for iOS is coming, but it’s not what you think

Not exactly

For Firefox diehards, iOS has always been a bit of a sore spot. Mozilla dabbled on Apple’s platform a few years back with an app dubbed “Firefox Home,” but the company has largely shied away from iOS due to Apple’s restrictions surrounding rendering engines. Now, Mozilla is changing course, and bringing a version of Firefox to iOS running WebKit — Gecko be damned. Can this strategic decision help turn the table in Mozilla’s favor, or is the move to WebKit a nail in Firefox’s coffin?

Pirate Bay Apps Yanked From Google Play

Looking for an app to help you access The Pirate Bay on your Android phone? You might have a hard time finding one on Google Play.

Google on Friday removed several popular third-party Pirate Bay apps from the Play Store on the grounds of copyright violation, TorrentFreak reported. The list of newly banned apps includes The Pirate Bay Proxy, The Pirate Bay Premium, The Pirate Bay Mirror, and PirateApp.

These apps use proxy sites to help users get around ISP blockades and access The Pirate Bay from a mobile device. Google claims they violate intellectual property provisions of its Play Store content policy.

Hacker Group Lizard Squad Takes Down Sony's PlayStation Network

You will learn SONY

Fresh on the heels of what appears to be a major attack on Sony Pictures by the North Korean government, the Japanese tech company was hit again Sunday night.

This time the company’s PlayStation Network was taken down. Sunday night, PSN users were greeted with an error message.

“We are currently investigating the root cause for the issue,” Sony has stated.

In the Sony Pictures hack, over 100 terabytes of data was stolen. The PSN hack appears to be far less severe.

It does, however, come at the end of Sony’s first ever PlayStation Experience, and during the company’s 20th anniversary celebration for the PlayStation brand.

Hacker group Lizard Squad claimed responsibility for the network’s outage, tweeting: “PSN Login #offline #LizardSquad.”

Source: Forbes

The Chief Technomancer
VB Kid

PS4 just KO'd the Xbox One by exclusively landing Street Fighter V

Also coming to PC

'I will meditate and then destroy you' 

Hadouken! Capcom's just confirmed it's working on Street Fighter V, and the game's first teaser has revealed something pretty interesting: it's coming exclusively to PS4 and PC.

It seems someone at Capcom pressed the button too early as the trailer has now been taken down, but there were no other details to share beyond the fact that it's happening, and that it's not coming to Xbox One - at least for the time being.

There's always the chance this could turn out to be another finite exclusivity deal like Xbox's Rise of the Tomb Raider. Even if it is, it's a good retalliation move from Sony.
We've contacted Capcom to ask about the nature of this exclusivity deal and we'll update the moment we hear more.

Source: TechRadar

Your VB Kid 

Friday, December 05, 2014

Your next iPhone might use motors, thrusters to prevent screen-cracking falls


You know that weird quirk of physics where toast and iPhones always fall face down? Well, I have good news: Your next iPhone might have the ability to change its angle mid-fall, so that it lands on its side or back, saving the brittle glass display. Apple is researching a whole host of weird and wonderful ways of correcting the trajectory of a free falling smartphone — some are sensible, such as using the phone’s vibration motor to change the fall angle slightly; others, such as using small canisters of compressed gas to act as retro thrusters that can slow the descent, are slightly on the, er, futuristic side.

Thursday, December 04, 2014

Sony's retro-themed PS4 makes us feel nostalgic

Sony announces retro-themed PS4 to celebrate 20 years of PlayStation

Back to the future

All the nostalgia

The original PlayStation has just turned twenty years old, and Sony is celebrating with the launch of a retro-themed, limited edition PlayStation 4.

Shedding its skin for a new coat reminiscent of the PS1, the grey PS4 comes bundled with a matching controller and even some old-school power cables for the full effect.

Sony told us that its new PS4 will be available in time for Christmas, and it'll soon be sharing information on how you can get one of these grey little beauties yourself.

Your VB Kid

Wednesday, December 03, 2014

Any OS Trying to Beat Android Has Long Road Ahead

Long road...

Though still on the rise, smartphone growth is set to slow in the coming years, according to the latest data from IDC.

Global shipments will reach an estimated 1.3 billion units this year—an increase of more than 26 percent over 2013. But the future doesn't look quite as bright.

IDC's Worldwide Quarterly Mobile Phone Tracker report suggested that 1.4 billion smartphones will be shipped in 2015—a 12 percent year-over-year growth rate. What's more, the annual gaps will continue to close, reaching 1.9 billion units in 2019—only a 9.8 percent growth rate between 2014 and 2018.

Monday, December 01, 2014

Microsoft is killing off Clip Art in favor of Bing Images

Farewell, '90s illustrations

Back in the ‘90s, Clip Art took over Word and PowerPoint files thanks to the thousands of office workers and students who used the images as a way to "improve" their documents. These days there are a large number of free images available on the web, and Microsoft is recognizing this by killing off its Clip Art portal in recent versions Word, PowerPoint, and Outlook. "The Clip Art and image library has closed shop," explains Microsoft’s Doug Thomas. "Usage of Office’s image library has been declining year-to-year as customers rely more on search engines."

While most references to Clip Art disappeared with Office 2013, users were able to insert the old-school images into documents using an Clip Art option. That is now being replaced by Bing Images, with Microsoft filtering images to ensure they’re based on the Creative Commons licensing system for personal or commercial use. Most of the new images are much more modern, instead of the illustrated remnants of the past. Clip Art might be facing the same Office-related demise as the great Clippy assistant, but let the images below remind you of the good old times before the modern-era takeover.

Source: The Verge

Your VB Kid

Is the Chromebook unstoppable?

The only things that can stop the Chromebook are you and Google
OPINION It's not the product, it's the perception

The Chromebooks are still waiting for the world to notice them.

For a long time, Chromebooks seemed like they would fizzle, and for just the reasons you might expect. People called them under-powered, said they didn't run the software they depended on, and that there was just no compelling reason to buy one over a cheap Windows or Linux laptop. For a while, we got one Chromebook at a time, made by different manufacturers - not unlike how Google's Nexus brand is applied to smartphones and tablets made by a succession of manufacturers.

But little by little, the Chromebook has gained momentum and diversified, and now ABI Research forecasts that a little over four million Chromebooks will be sold this year (compared to 300m conventional laptops). Four against 300 doesn't sound like much, but this would probably be a doubling of Chromebook sales over the previous year - while conventional laptop sales are predicted to fall from 316m according to ABI.