Belgium Hates Loot Boxes

I think this whole loot box issue is just getting spun up. Outside of gamer outrage about loot boxes, now the Minister of Justice in Belgium is saying that loot boxes are nothing more than gambling and he does not want Belgium’s children exposed to it. Take your translator. Thanks cageymaru!

Minister of Justice wants to prohibit purchases in video games, if you do not know what you exactly mean with that purchase. “Mixing gambling and gaming, especially at a young age, is dangerous for the mental health of the child.”

Are loot boxes gambling? There are some good arguments for and against.

And I just missed out on the last Bag-O-Crap.


Source: [H]ardOCP – Belgium Hates Loot Boxes

Uber Tells Us Customer Data got Hacked….Last Year

I think we all call BS on Uber waiting a year to let us know its systems were hacked and personal data was exposed.

The ride-hailing company said Tuesday that it had suffered a breach in 2016 that exposed personal information belonging to tens of millions of drivers and customers.

The information included names, email addresses and phone numbers of 57 million people around the world, according to a statement released by the company’s CEO, Dara Khosrowshahi. The names and driver’s license numbers of about 600,000 U.S. drivers were also included.

And then Uber figured it out after a month and paid hackers $100,00 to keep it under wraps. Jeez. Thanks cageymaru.

Travis Kalanick, Uber’s co-founder and former CEO, became aware of the breach a month after it occurred, according to Bloomberg. Instead of reporting the attack to regulators and victims last year, the company paid hackers $100,000 to delete the data and keep the security breach under wraps, Bloomberg reported.


Source: [H]ardOCP – Uber Tells Us Customer Data got Hacked….Last Year

Surface Book 2 Can't Stay Charged during Gaming Sessions

While plugged into the supplied charger, the battery in the Surface Book 2 will drain during certain games if the power settings are set to max performance to fully utilize the power of the hardware. The amount of drain varies between games, screen resolution, and maximum load on the GPU. Microsoft says that it’s not a bug — it’s a feature.

It’s when you adjust the performance higher that things get interesting. Each performance increment appears to make adjustments to the GPU clock speed and fan speed. Flipping the slider to the midrange setting dials up the fan noise, while the maximum setting ramps it up even further, to the loud “whoosh” most gaming notebooks provide. It’s at this point that the Surface Book 2 begins tapping the battery for extra power, proof that the charger can’t keep up.


Source: [H]ardOCP – Surface Book 2 Can’t Stay Charged during Gaming Sessions

Microsoft's Windows 10 Update Strategy Is Showing Strains

Analysts argue that Microsoft should cut the number of Windows 10 upgrades in half and pledge to support each version for 24 months. They say that upgrades come too frequently, leaving too little time for adequate compatibility testing of critical applications. Support is too fleeting, with each upgrade maintained for just 18 months, theoretically requiring seven migrations during the same timespan when previously only one was necessary.

“Enterprises do need more runway,” said Silver, speaking of the time necessary to upgrade hundreds, thousands, even tens of thousands, of devices from one Windows 10 version to another. Silver would then turn what might be construed as a retreat for Microsoft into a bauble it could dangle in front of Windows 10 Enterprise customers. “They’re already paying more for the privilege of running Enterprise,” Silver said of the highest-priced version of the OS. “Make the [expanded support] a benefit.”


Source: [H]ardOCP – Microsoft’s Windows 10 Update Strategy Is Showing Strains

Spammers Have Risen from the Dead

For a while, spam seemed to be fading away. The 2003 CAN-SPAM Act mandated unsubscribe links and criminalized attempts to hide the sender’s identity, while sophisticated filters buried unwanted messages in out-of-sight spam folders. But it’s 2017, and spam has clawed itself back from the grave.

It shows up on social media and dating sites as bots hoping to lure you into downloading malware or clicking an affiliate link. It creeps onto your phone as text messages and robocalls that ring you five times a day about luxury cruises and fictitious tax bills. “There is no recourse for me,” lamented Troy Doliner, a student in Boston who gets robocalls every day. “I am harassed by a faceless entity that I cannot track down.”


Source: [H]ardOCP – Spammers Have Risen from the Dead

Linus Torvalds Calls Some Security Experts "Morons" Who "Can't Be Trusted"

Linus Torvalds slammed a Google security expert about his approach to cybersecurity after a request to change the Linux kernel, saying that some security professionals are “f*cking morons.” The Linux creator is fed up with the focus on process-killing rather than debugging by experts who believe that “security is so important that nothing else matters.”

If a security person won’t accept “that security problems are primarily just bugs,” then Torvalds doesn’t “want to work” with them. “If you don’t see your job as ‘debugging first,’ I’m simply not interested,” he said. “Stop this idiotic ‘kill on sight, ask questions later,'” he added. “Because it’s wrong.”


Source: [H]ardOCP – Linus Torvalds Calls Some Security Experts “Morons” Who “Can’t Be Trusted”

Black Friday 2017: More Consumers Want Laptops than Smartphones

Was the PC’s death fake news? Shockingly, laptops are more sought after than smartphones — by both teens and adults — while tablets don’t even crack the top four. Maybe all that talk from pundits about the “Post-PC” era was nonsense after all.

Black Friday shopping is more popular than ever, with more than three-quarters (79 percent) of Americans saying that they plan to spend the day after Thanksgiving buying gifts. Additionally, almost half (44 percent) revealed that they plan to camp out to get the best deals on laptops (22 percent), TVs (21 percent) and housewares (20 percent). The national survey was fielded among 1,034 adults and 507 teens by Propeller Insights on behalf of Ebates.


Source: [H]ardOCP – Black Friday 2017: More Consumers Want Laptops than Smartphones

Brutal Legend and MDK Are Free for a Limited Time

Humble Bundle and GOG are (respectively) offering Brutal Legend and MDK free of charge. The former is an action-adventure that takes place in a fantasy world inspired by the artwork of heavy metal album covers, while the latter is a third-person shooter starring a janitor who reluctantly must attempt to save Earth from an alien invasion.


Source: [H]ardOCP – Brutal Legend and MDK Are Free for a Limited Time

Amazon Is Launching a "Secret" Cloud Service for the CIA

Amazon Web Services unveiled a cloud computing region for the CIA and other intelligence community agencies developed specifically to host secret classified data. The AWS Secret Region will allow the 17 intelligence agencies to host, analyze, and run applications on government data classified at the secret level through the company’s $600 million C2S contract, brokered several years ago with the CIA.

The AWS Secret Region is essentially its own commercial data center air-gapped — or shut off — from the rest of the internet. CIA Chief Information Officer John Edwards views the new region as a key step in commercial cloud computing technology that has already changed the way the IC handles data and addresses cybersecurity. AWS also stood up an IC Marketplace, which allows intelligence agencies to download, test and buy software from companies based in Silicon Valley and elsewhere.


Source: [H]ardOCP – Amazon Is Launching a “Secret” Cloud Service for the CIA

Google Collects Android Users' Locations Even When Location Services Are Disabled

A Quartz investigation has revealed that even if you actively turn off location services, haven’t used any apps, and haven’t even inserted a carrier SIM card, phones running Android software gather data about your location and send it back to Google when they’re connected to the internet. Since the beginning of 2017, Android phones have been collecting the addresses of nearby cellular towers and sending that data back to Google.

Quartz observed the data collection and contacted Google, which confirmed the practice. The cell tower addresses have been included in information sent to the system Google uses to manage push notifications and messages on Android phones for the past 11 months, according to a Google spokesperson. They were never used or stored, the spokesperson said, and the company is now taking steps to end the practice after being contacted by Quartz.


Source: [H]ardOCP – Google Collects Android Users’ Locations Even When Location Services Are Disabled

XSPC Razor Neo GTX 1080 Ti Waterblock Review

If you are thinking about delving in water cooling your high end NVIDIA GTX 1080 or 1080 Ti video card, the XSPC Razor Neo is certainly worthy of being on your short list. Outside of its incredibly good looks, Frag Harder Disco Lights, and easy install process, does it work well when it comes to overclocking and cooling your GTX 1080 Ti?

Source: [H]ardOCP – XSPC Razor Neo GTX 1080 Ti Waterblock Review

Star Wars Battlefront 2 Physical Sales down 60% vs. Battlefront 1

Star Wars Battlefront 2 launched with 60 percent fewer physical sales than Star Wars Battlefront 1. Battlefront 2’s big budget release was ruined by, arguably, the biggest controversy in gaming this year. The game’s in-game loot boxes and, to a lesser extent, the high requirements needed to unlock the game’s roster of heroes sparked an eruption of anger from fans which EA has been unable to contain.

In a dramatic and unprecedented move last Friday, EA temporarily switched off all in-game purchases just as Battlefront 2 went live – although it was too late to reverse fan feeling towards the game. It’s impossible to know to what extent Battlefront 2’s pre-launch issues hit sales, but with coverage of EA’s woes on mainstream channels such as the BBC and CNN, it’s hard to imagine the drama not having had an impact.


Source: [H]ardOCP – Star Wars Battlefront 2 Physical Sales down 60% vs. Battlefront 1

GIGABYTE Implements Safety Measures against Intel ME and TXE Security Vulnerabilities

GIGABYTE has implemented safety measures aligned with Intel’s response to the Intel Management Engine (ME) and Intel Trusted Execution Engine (TXE) security vulnerabilities, so customers can be reassured their motherboards are fully protected. Customers who have purchased GIGABYTE motherboards for Intel platforms may visit the official website to download the latest BIOS versions, as well as ME and TXE drivers.

The updates for the motherboards will be released starting with the Z370, 200 series, and then previous generation motherboards. For more information on the Intel ME and TXE security vulnerabilities, please visit the Intel Security Center website for more details. GIGABYTE is committed to ensuring the quality and service of our motherboards. Any issues that affect the user’s experience with our products will be addressed with the utmost concern.


Source: [H]ardOCP – GIGABYTE Implements Safety Measures against Intel ME and TXE Security Vulnerabilities

Uber Fined $8.9 Million for Hiring Drivers with Criminal Records

Uber has missed (or outright ignored) criminal records in the past. Earlier this year, over 8,000 Uber and Lyft drivers failed a Massachusetts background check. It appears that these issues haven’t improved much: this week, Colorado regulators fined Uber for allowing 57 people with criminal offenses to drive for the company.

Colorado regulators slapped Uber with an $8.9 million penalty for allowing 57 people with past criminal or motor vehicle offenses to drive for the company. The state’s Public Utilities Commission said the drivers should have been disqualified, as they had issues ranging from felony convictions to driving under the influence and reckless driving. In some cases, drivers were working with revoked, suspended or canceled licenses.


Source: [H]ardOCP – Uber Fined .9 Million for Hiring Drivers with Criminal Records

The FCC Has Unveiled Its Plan to Repeal Its Net Neutrality Rules

Federal regulators unveiled a plan Tuesday that would give Internet providers broad powers to determine what websites and online services their customers can see and use, and at what cost. The decision will be put to a vote at the agency’s Dec. 14 meeting in Washington. It is expected to pass, with the GOP controlling three of the commission’s five seats.

In a release, Pai said his proposal would prevent the government from “micromanaging the Internet.” In place of the existing rules, he added, the FCC would “simply require Internet service providers to be transparent about their practices.” The proposal would also shift some enforcement responsibility to the Federal Trade Commission, which can sue companies for violating the commitments or statements they have made to the public.


Source: [H]ardOCP – The FCC Has Unveiled Its Plan to Repeal Its Net Neutrality Rules

Over 400 of the World's Most Popular Websites Record Your Every Keystroke

Research from Princeton University released last week indicates that online tracking is far more invasive than most users understand. Third-party scripts running on many of the world’s most popular websites track your every keystroke and then send that information to a third-party server.

If you go to a website, begin to fill out a form, and then abandon it, every letter you entered in is still recorded, according to the researchers’ findings. If you accidentally paste something into a form that was copied to your clipboard, it’s also recorded. Their findings indicated that at least one of these company’s scripts is being used by 482 of the world’s top 50,000 sites, according to their Alexa ranking.


Source: [H]ardOCP – Over 400 of the World’s Most Popular Websites Record Your Every Keystroke

Bitcoin Startup Pulls Disappearing Act after Raising $375K

A cryptocurrency start-up that raised nearly $375,000 through an initial coin offering has disappeared with the funds. Confido billed itself as a company that is developing “smart contracts” to act as an escrow between a buyer and seller during a transaction of some sort.

In the past few days, in what is being dubbed an “exit scam,” online assets related to the Confido founders and the company have been deleted. The firm’s website, Twitter account and Facebook page were erased. However, a cached version of the company’s Medium post that was put online on Sunday still remains. In the post, the Confido team said it is in a “tight spot” due to “legal trouble” with a contract.


Source: [H]ardOCP – Bitcoin Startup Pulls Disappearing Act after Raising 5K

Mysterious Object Confirmed to Be From Another Solar System

Astronomers are now certain that the mysterious object detected hurtling past our sun last month is indeed from another solar system. They have named it 1I/2017 U1(‘Oumuamua) and believe it could be one of 10,000 others lurking undetected in our cosmic neighborhood. The certainty of its interstellar origin comes from an analysis that shows its orbit is almost impossible to achieve from within our solar system.

It is thought to be an extremely dark object, absorbing 96% of the light that falls on its surface, and it is red. This color is the hallmark of organic (carbon-based) molecules. Organic molecules are the building blocks of the biological molecules that allow life to function. It is widely thought that the delivery of organic molecules to the early Earth by the collision of comets and asteroids made life here possible. ‘Oumuamua shows that the same could be possible in other solar systems.


Source: [H]ardOCP – Mysterious Object Confirmed to Be From Another Solar System

Google to Derank Russian Media Sites

Eric Schmidt, Executive Chariman of Alphabet, says the company is working to ferret out Russian propaganda from Google News after facing criticism that Kremlin-owned media sites had been given plum placement on the search giant’s news and advertising platforms.

“We’re well aware of this one, and we’re working on detecting this kind of scenario you’re describing and deranking those kinds of sites,” Schmidt said, after being asked why the world’s largest search company continued to classify the Russian sites as news. “It’s basically RT and Sputnik,” Schmidt added. “We’re well aware and we’re trying to engineer the systems to prevent it.”


Source: [H]ardOCP – Google to Derank Russian Media Sites

Neverwinter Nights Enhanced Edition Announced for PC

It’s been over 15 years since BioWare launched Neverwinter Nights on PC. Now, Beamdog — the Canadian outfit comprised of ex-BioWare employees — has announced the third-person role-player is in line for an Enhanced Edition, that’s “coming soon.”

“We’ve added an improved display that looks great on modern 4K monitors, UI elements now adjust in size based on chosen resolution, and post-processing effects make for crisper, cleaner visuals,” says the developer in a statement. “Save games, modules, and mods from the original Neverwinter Nights work in the Enhanced Edition.”


Source: [H]ardOCP – Neverwinter Nights Enhanced Edition Announced for PC