Cash Machines Infected With Malicious Software Via USB Drive

A recent presentation at the hacker-themed Chaos Computing Congress in Hamburg, Germany has detailed how several cash machines were infected with software that allowed thieves to withdraw the cash multiple times before being discovered. The machines were vandalised to allow the insertion of a USB flash drive to the underlying computer, the drive then installed software on the system that runs the cash machine, and the hole was patched up so that it wasn’t obvious that the machine had been compromised.

The thieves were then able to return to the machine at any time and enter a 12 digit code, this brought up a special interface that they had installed which listed the total number of each note, then allowing them to extract the most amount of money in the shortest amount of time.

The intrusion was discovered in July after the lender involved noticed that several machines were being emptied, but that their safes were unharmed. Surveillance was increased and the banks discovered the sneaky tactics that were being used. Interestingly the thieves setup a system to prevent them betraying each other (return to the machine alone). This involved a second prompt that required the user to phone another member of their gang, who would give them the decrypt code based on the numbers displayed on the cash machine.

Despite their efforts, extensive knowledge of the ATM hardware and software, and the great lengths they went to to disguise the hardware intrusion, they still named the file they installed on the system “hack.bat”, which obviously stood out from the usual file names.

Thank you BBC for providing us with this information.

Want Super Strength? Artificial Muscles May Be The Answer

Researchers at the University of California at Berkeley have developed something we never thought would be possible. After all robots that have been designed so far to date have only been made to help in retrieval and mundane tasks such as painting and assembling. However the team at the University of California have designed a micro sized robotic muscle that is over 1,000 times stronger than an ordinary human muscle. The researchers have found that using a material called vanadium dioxide, that when the material is heated to 152.6 degrees Fahrenheit or 67 degrees Celsius the compound of the material changes. The change is from an insulator to conductive, giving the metal compound a massive amount of strength during the transition.

Once this compound has been changed, the muscle in the robot would be able to pick up and throw objects over 50 times heavier than the robot and also reach a distance of over five times the length of the robot. All this happens within 60 milliseconds, which is faster than the human eye can blink. The way to achieve the heating of the robot muscle is to use a tiny heat pad or by using an electrical current. Junqiao Wu, a Professor of Material Science and lead designer of the project had this to say about the break through;

“With its combination of power and multi-functionality, our micro-muscle shows great potential for applications that require a high level of functionality integration in a small space. Multiple micro-muscles can be assembled into a micro-robotic system that simulates an active neuromuscular system.”

For more information on this amazing discovery the Team at the University of California have published a paper in the Journal of Advanced Materials, which you can view here.

[youtube]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AOnY9mk7jGM[/youtube]

Here is a video showing the micro-muscle in action

Thanks to CNET for the information provided.

Image courtesy of ExtremeTech

 

New York Times Design Director To Head To Tech Giant Apple

The new trend seems to be Media personalities jumping to the tech sector, earlier this year we had Katie Couric and David Pogue join Yahoo and now Apple has snagged Former New York Times Design Director Arem Duplessis. There has been no word yet from Apple as to what Mr Duplessis role will be at Apple, all they are saying is that he will be joining their internal marketing team. When Mr Duplessis was at the New York Times for nearly 10 years, he was behind some of the most memorable front covers which is not surprising seeing he has a highly decorated background in magazine design.

During his tenure at the New York Times, the Design Department which he was director of was named “Design team of the year” for three consecutive years. If that wasn’t enough he and his team also won an Emmy in 2012 for their Video Series on great actors playing villains. As well as his design work Mr Duplessis is also lending some of his time and experience to the Pratt Institute’s Graduate Communications Design Department as an assistant professor their. When asked about his move to Apple Mr Duplessis had this to say;

“I have worked with some of the smartest people on the planet and it’s been one of the most rewarding experiences of my life. I feel very fortunate to have been able to experience such a great gig. With that said, it’s time for a new chapter in my life and a new challenge”.

Whatever official role Mr Dupessis takes up at Apple, his wealth of knowledge will certainly be an asset of the tech giant and will most definitely be put to good use.

Thanks to CNET for the information provided 

Image Courtesy of The Tech Block

Meet The Man With The Largest Game Collection

Meet Michael Thomasson, who was just awarded a Guinness World Record for the largest collection of video games in the Guinness World Records 2014 Gamer’s edition. After receiving his first video game for Christmas at the age of 12, a love and passion for video games took over and now 31 years later he has a collection of over 11,000 games. However any game collection isn’t complete if you don’t have the consoles to play them on, which is no problem for Mr Thomasson, who has nearly every console released. We aren’t just talking about the main stream consoles either, although Mr Thomasson does have all the PlayStation’s, Sega’s and Xboxe’s. He also has obscure and little known consoles and they games that were released for them. Among these are the Casio Loopywhich to date is the only console that has been aimed at a female market and was released in Japan in 1995. Another obscure system was the folp of a release from Apple in the same year as the Casio Loopy, called the Pippin

On the other side of console and game related memorabilia for Mr Thomasson is the first game he received at the age of 12, the game was Cosmic Avenger for the Colecovision, with the story behind this game and system said to be he catalyst for collecting consoles and games. He received Cosmic Avengers for Christmas when he was 12, but had to wait until Christmas next year to get the console to play it on seeing as the consoles were a very hot commodity the year before. Apparently his Grandparents mistakenly thought his parents had gotten their hands on the Colecovision when they got the game for him for Christmas. To this day the Cosmic Avenger game and Colecovision are Mr Thomasson most prized and sentimental possessions in his over 11,000 piece collection. The collection of consoles and games is estimated to be between $700,000 and $800,000 based on today’s prices. What do you think of this collection, and what would you give to own a collection like this? Personally I would be awestruck walking into his collection, which Mr Thomasson keeps in his basement of his suburban Buffalo home.

Thanks to Herald Sun for the information provided

Image Courtesy of Herald Sun

Sapphire R9 290 Tri-X 4GB Graphics Card Review

Introduction


When the AMD R9 290X hit the market everyone was impressed with the fantastic value for money offered – performance that could challenge and often easily beat the GTX 780 for a fraction of the price at the time of release. Nvidia of course responded with price cuts but AMD did even more to undercut the R9 290X than Nvidia did by releasing the R9 290. The R9 290 is $150 cheaper than the R9 290X and offers only a tiny drop-off in performance. Of course we aren’t here to review the AMD R9 290, we’ve already done that here, but what we are doing today is looking at our first non-reference R9 290 graphics card from an AMD partner.

The generous AMD partner is Sapphire and they’ve provided us with their Tri-X AMD R9 290 graphics card. For the eagle-eyed reader with a good memory you make see the rather obvious similarities with this graphics card and the Sapphire R9 280X Toxic Edition graphics card we recently reviewed. The similarity comes from the shared Tri-X cooling solution. In the case of the R9 290 it really needs this kind of high performance cooling solution because it is a graphics card that produces a lot of heat and gulps its way through a lot of power, even at stock clocks. However, Sapphire have been brave and taken clock speeds from 947MHz to 1000MHz on the core and bumped the memory up to 5200MHz from 5000MHz. This is going to result in even more heat so the Tri-X cooler is a necessary addition.

Sapphire’s packaging has the usual feature bubbles along the bottom pointing out key things like UEFI BIOS compatibility, the fact it is overclocked and using the Tri-X cooling solution.

The rear of the packaging contains more product details and explanations of the features. You can check out more details about the product at the official product page here.

Included with Sapphire’s R9 290 Tri-X graphics card is a 1.8m HDMI 1.4a cable, molex to 6 pin power supply adapter, dual molex to 8 pin power supply adapter, driver CD, Sapphire case badge/sticker and some documentation.

Chip Which Mimics Human Brains Revealed

According to Fudzilla, there is some news that a chip which works like a human brain has been developed. According to the French Tribune, the chip will appear in the shops in 2014. Scientists say that this chip will enable the computers to mimic human brains and with the help of this novel device computers will also be able to learn from their own mistakes.

It is confessed by the researchers that this newly designed chip will be able to connect with wires and will also mimic biological synapses. In this completely new as well as digital age, these new brain-like computers will most probably have the ability to beat as well as tolerate errors. These chips will also potentially make the term “computer crash obsolete,” the tribune said. These chips have been designed by the scientists in order to function identical to the biological nervous system of the human beings.

Larry Smarr, one of many research centres devoted to developing these new kinds of computer circuits, said, “We’re moving from engineering computing systems to something that has many of the characteristics of biological computing”. Curiously no one has said where this chip is being made, what is being called or when it will be in the shops. We guess the French press was as short staffed as we were over Christmas.

Thank you Fudzilla for providing us with this information

Wireless Issues In Windows 8.1 PCs Still Persist

It seems not even Windows 8.1 can escape the problem sphere everyone seems to be having lately. According to Softpedia, several users have reported limited or no Wi-Fi connectivity, a bug that previously affected Surface tablet, but now became a widespread issue also targeting PCs and other tablets.

Forums have started filling up with users reporting problems, but it appears that fixes for the problems at hand are yet to be released. Some examples of issues encountered by users can be seen below.

“Two brand new HP notebooks, and two apple computers. Upgraded the bios, rebooted, updated the NIC drivers, (as HP phone helpdesk said to do) upgraded the cisco E4200 router firmware. No matter if pc’s are set to sleep, reboot or powered off, issue happens.

It happens less on the HP notebook, but the wireless setting are the same on the other HP. Issue wasn’t as bad on Windows 8 but after 8.1 it is constantly not connecting without many tried of disconnect, reconnect, reenter the password. The router has been reset a couple times and the cable modem has been reset.”

“I ran into the same issue described in the thread. I use Windows 8.1, Intel Centrino Advanced-N 6235 (ASUS UX31A) and DLink (DIR-655) wireless router. I think it’s a combination of both Intel and Microsoft issue. None of the configuration tricks work for me (rollback driver, disable 802.11n/Bluetooth/power save, etc.).”

“I feel bad for buying new laptop and especially using windows 8. I have new dell laptop, Wi-Fi was dropping intermittent. I upgraded to windows 8.1 thinking it might fix the issue. Think what, now I can’t connect at all. I am decided to get out of Windows 8.”

Microsoft has apparently acknowledged the problem, but instead suggested only vague workarounds that do not seem to fix the issues on Windows 8.1 tablets or PCs.

Thank you Softpedia for providing us with this information

Industry Giants Google And Apple Consider Expanding To The Automobile Industry

The car industry has quickly caught the attention of both Apple and Google. After fiercely competing with each other in smartphone, web browser, and tablet markets, both the companies are now working with leading car manufacturers to develop in-car entertainment and information systems.

Google and German automaker Audi AG are said to be working together on Android based in-car infotainment systems and they plan to announce their partnership at the upcoming Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas next week. The Google announcement is being seen as the answer to Apple’s “iOS in the car” initiative, which was launched in June at the company’s Worldwide Developers Conference (WWDC). As part of the initiative, Apple is developing technology to integrate iPhones with car’s dashboard control panels. Apple is said to be collaborating with BMW, Mercedes-Benz and Honda Motors for their projects.

In terms of tech features, while Apple is going for the iPhone attachment to the car, Google is taking to a more embedded approach and is working on integrating the Android OS with the car’s dashboard. According to the report, 80 million new cars and light trucks are sold every year. Quite clearly, the market has huge potential and this is the reason Apple and Google are trying hard to penetrate it. The concept of smart cars has also opened the doors for leading chip-makers like Qualcomm, Intel, and Nvidia, to enter the car business.

Thank you Tech Report for providing us with this information

German Judge States Nokia Should Be Granted Injunction Against All HTC Devices

A German judge has ruled that Nokia should be granted an injunction against all HTC handsets running Android. Judge Dr. Matthias Zigann of the Munich I Regional Court found the devices to be in violation of a broad patent related to a method for transferring resource information across Bluetooth or NFC according to a report from FOSS Patents.

HTC is in between a rock and a hard place in Germany following the ruling. In the event the company can’t come up with a chance to appeal, Nokia could then enforce the injunction which would put a stop to all sales of HTC devices running Android.

And to make matters worse, this isn’t a temporary injunction like we’ve seen so many times before. If Nokia is eventually successful, they would be able to keep the offending devices off store shelves indefinitely.

A victory here could have far-reaching ramifications for other handset makers as well. That’s because the broad patent essentially describes a method used by handset makers to transfer data between devices. True, there’s still Wi-Fi as an option but near-field communication and Bluetooth are both commonly used among Android devices.

This is the second favorable ruling for Nokia against HTC this month. Previously, Nokia won a case that would have required HTC to remove devices from store shelves but HTC made a change that circumvented the infringement. It’ll be interesting to see whether or not HTC can make similar changes this time around to once again thwart Nokia’s injunction.

Thank you Tech Spot for providing us with this information

PlayStation 4 Reportedly Displaying Software Problems, Two New Error Codes Emerge

Sony’s PlayStation 4 is also having its share of latest console issues. Various PlayStation 4 errors are being reported by users all related to the system’s hardware, two new PlayStation 4 errors are stated under. Most reported PlayStation 4 issues are software related, some PlayStation 4 users have been reporting two new PlayStation 4 errors on PlayStation European Blog. According to the reports, an error window pops up every time the users try to check the PlayStation friends list or access the Playroom.

The first error has the CE-34861-2 error code, and is present when users try to access their PlayStation friend list. Kieran0161 reported this error first on PlayStation EU Blog, complaining about the error.

“I keep getting this error and I’m not happy it cost me like £500 for ps4 then £40 to get online and I can’t Even use it you take are money but don’t give use a service we pay for on ps3 it was free so can’t complain but now I pay for bout coz it don’t work you best give use free online for a year now.” Kieran0161 said.

The second reported software related PlayStation 4 error is CE-34878, which occurs when users try to access the PlayStation Playroom. SAUER_30-06 has spotted and encountered the error, and responded with the following post.

“Yesterday I called Sony support about my PS4 that constantly gave me the 34878 error, despite total rebuilding the system, reinstalling certificates and reinstalling games. Sony support told me to get it replaced at the store I got it from, so I did. Got home and plugged it in and everything worked fine. I even played a whole hour of Battlefield 4 for the first time! If your console crashes constantly every 10 minutes, call support or your store. You´ll get a new one. The reason I never found an answer was because the problem is not very common.” SAUER_30-06 said.

Many troubleshooting tips have been posted by other players who have viewed the threads created by the users who are suffering with these PlayStation 4 software errors. Some methods are also reported to be working, so do not forget to check the threads (1, 2, and 3) regarding the PlayStation 4 software errors on PlayStation EU Blog.

Thank you WCCF for providing us with this information

Gigabyte Aorus X7 High-end Gaming Notebook Preview

It appears that “Aorus” is in fact Gigabyte’s new line of gaming notebooks, much like Alienware is to Dell. Therefore, Aorus is a sub-brand of Gigabyte with high-end gaming notebooks under its belt. And the best thing is that the Aorus X7 gaming notebook will debut at CES 2014.

Gigabyte will showcase the whole line of Aorus gaming notebooks at CES 2014 in January. The notebook in spotlight today is the Aorus X7, it is powered by 4th generation Intel Core i7 Haswell processor and NVIDIA GTX 700 series graphics. There is not much reveal in-terms of specifications except for that it houses a 17-inch display and some shots of its exterior. The notebook has a simple yet attractive design, with Aorus logo at the top.

According to the pictures, Aorus X7 comes with VGA, 2 x HDMI and one mini DisplayPorts along with one SD card slot and USB 3.0 ports for external storage. Standard audio jacks plus a full-size keyboards makes up the Auros X7. Benchmarks and details of the notebook will be revealed at CES in January.

Auros X7 sure looks powerful but at the same time quite bulky but its normal for a gaming with a few exceptions of course. Razer’s Blade and MSI’s GT70 are two very powerful yet slim notebooks but if Gigabyte’s Aorus X7 houses SLI NVIDIA graphics with super fast SSDs in RAID then the thickness can be ignored. For more details stay tuned since CES 2014 is just 8 days away.

Thank you Chip Loco for providing us with this information
Images courtesy of VR-Zone via Chip Loco

Leaked AMD A10-7850K Kaveri APU Cinebench Benchmark Revealed

AMD Kaveri APUs are expected to launch early next year housing SteamrollerB CPU cores and GCN 2.0 graphics. 3DMark scores have also been leaked of the flagship AMD A10-7850K APU, making it 40% faster than Haswell Core i5-4570K. The latest leak comes form a Japanese website leaked Cinebench R15 CPU benchmarks of A10-7850K as well.

It is said that AMD A10-7850K Kaveri APU will feature four SteamrollerB CPUs cores and GCN 2.0 Radeon graphics with DirectX 11.1 and AMD Mantle support. The CPU is expected to be 20% faster compared to Richland while the GPU will have a 30% performance gain over Richland. Kaveri APUs have a major advantage over Intel CPUs in terms of graphics since they come with discrete Radeon graphics iGPUs.

We can see that AMD A10-7850K will be compatible with Socket FM2+ (906) and will come with 4 MB L2 cache. It will also house GCN 2.0 Radeon R7 graphics with 512 Stream processors and the new Turbo Core 3.0 technology. AMD A10-7850K is manufactured using the 28 nm process, other than that not much is revealed. However, the screenshot tells us that the software failed to recognize the AMD A10-7850K’s iGPU, therefore any accurate information cannot be provided. The A10-7850K is reported to be 40% faster than Intel Core i5-4570K in 3DMark and 8% in PCMark 8. The disappoint comes in terms of CPU performance which is measured through Cinebnech R15.

AMD A10-7850K managed to score only 88 points in Cinebench R15 which is even slower than Intle Core i5-3317U (Low Voltage) SoC. Intel’s Core i7 4770K scores nearly double compared to A10-7850K. As long as the SteamrollerB cores do not bottleneck the GPU and compromise the performance in games, I think its good to go. Lets just wait for real world performance numbers.

Thank you Chip Loco for providing us with this information
Images courtesy of Chip Loco

Samsung Announces 4GB Ram On Smartphones With 8GB LPDDR4

Samsung has announced the industry’s first 8-gigabit low-profile double-data-rate 4 (LPDDR4) mobile DRAM chip, offering 1GB on a single die. The new LPDDR4 memory is said to provide 50 percent higher performance than current LPDDR3 offerings, with improved energy efficiency resulting in the chips using 40 percent less power than the previous generation, at 1.1 volts.

The chips are fabricated using “20nm-class” process, and combining four of these into a single package could offer up to 4GB of RAM on mobile devices, including smartphones, tablets, and notebooks. Mass production will begin sometime in early 2014, though Samsung hasn’t given an official time frame.

The announcement comes at an interesting time – Samsung has said that its next flagship, the Galaxy S5, will sport a 64-bit processor, and the inclusion of 4GB of RAM would put the 64-bit CPU to good use. The Galaxy Note 3 came with 3GB of RAM just two months after Samsung announced its 3GB LPDDR3 chip, so it wouldn’t be too far-fetched to think that 2014 will see smartphones encroaching personal computer territory even further with 4 gigabytes of memory, with the Galaxy S5 kicking off the trend.

Thank you VR-Zone for providing us with this information
Image courtesy of VR-Zone

Japanese Camera Manufacturers Suffer Losses

Panasonic and other Japanese camera manufacturers struggle to keep up with today’s smartphones. Since most people nowadays prefer more portable and mobile devices, and most importantly, everything compacted, it appears that the smartphones and tablets are the best solution. Therefore, giants such as Panasonic and Fujifilm Holdings have been losing money and have suffered a fall of more than 40%, with only 59 million cameras sold.

On the other hand, sales of single-lens reflex (SLR) cameras are flourishing as users prefer connectivity above picture quality. Looking at a mid to long term, the imaging companies need to turn around and rethink their strategy or face the consequences in the future, and they aren’t looking pretty. Panasonic is said to have had a downfall of 0.7 form 3.8% to 3.1% during the course of this year.

“If you look mid-to-long term, digital camera makers are slipping and the market is becoming an oligopoly,” said Credit Suisse imaging analyst Yu Yoshida. “Only those who have a strong brand and are competitive on price will last – and only Canon, Nikon and Sony fulfil that criteria,” he added.

In the meantime, Panasonic, Fujifilm and Olympus are trying to fend off the smartphone threat by cutting compacts, targeting niche markets such as deep-sea diving, and launching the higher-margin mirrorless models. The mirrorless format promised mid-tier makers an area of growth as the dominance of Canon and Nikon all but shut them out of SLRs, where Sony is a distant third. Neither Panasonic nor Fujifilm makes SLRs, and Olympus stopped developing them this year.

“SLRs are heavy and noisy, whereas mirrorless are small and quiet. While some people say SLRs still have better image quality, mirrorless (cameras) have improved to the point where they’re equivalent, if not superior,” said Hiroshi Tanaka, director of Fujifilm’s optical division.

However, Sony still keeps up to date with its two QX lenses released this quarter. These come with their own sensors and processors, and clip onto smartphones through which the user operates them wirelessly. They are pocket-sized and produce photographs of a quality rivaling that of a compact camera. But Sony appears to have connected with consumers as demand soon outstripped production. Some are even using the lenses in a way Sony didn’t intend, like place them at a distance while they press the shutter on their smartphone to take self-portraits, or selfies.

“We had no idea how much the QX would sell initially when we put it out. We didn’t set any targets,” said Shigeki Ishizuka, president of Sony’s digital imaging business. “There are so many consumers that were hungry for Sony to do this,” said Chris Chute, IDC’s digital imaging research director. “They’ve (waited for Sony) to come out with something really innovative, almost like the Walkman (portable music player).”

Thank you Chicago Tribute for providing us with this information

Chromebooks Account For 21% Of All Notebook Sales

Chromebook is a completely different approach to mobile computing, offering a lightweight alternative to Windows, without going down the route of Linux or Mac. The low price of the hardware due to the more focused functionality has made them a tempting option to consumers who just want access to office files and a web browser, something that has boosted Chrome OS to take up 21 percent of all notebook sales (according to NDP).

Chrome OS clocked in at just 0.2% of the computer market last year, 10% as of November and with retail figures to be counted early in the new year we expect that number to have risen by a sizeable margin. Given that most of their hardware units cost around $200 its clear why it’s becoming a popular choice for those that don’t require a full Windows based solution.

With CES just a week away and companies like Asus, Acer and HP ready to roll out their new model Chromebooks for 2014 and it is clearly going to be a much stronger year for Google and of course their lightweight OS.

Thank you Pocket Lint for providing us with this information.

 

Bathys Atomic Watch To Launch Crowdfunding Campaign

Bathys are a boutique watchmaker based in Kauai, Hawaii and is run by one seriously determined man. Their Cesium 133 atomic watch was first announced back in October and while is may be a little chunky, the idea of having a super accurate atomic watch is just too cool a conversation starter to pass up on. Now that they’ve tinkered with the development of their atomic watch, the company say they’ll be heading to a a popular crowdfunding website very soon.

Using a Symmetricom SA.45s CSAC atomic clock on a chip to power a standard quartz face salvaged from an older Bathys model, the watch is said to be accurate for a very, very, very long time. Bathys have been known for making watches that appear to surfers, nice designs and generally water proof. It’s a far cry from their new design which is to say the least quite chunky, but it is still early days for the model and design and perhaps that could change over time as the watch is still very much a work in progress.

ABlogToWatch estimates that the piece will cost $8,000 or so when complete with discounts offered to early adopters, but of course that could all change depending on the popularity and the final design of the watch body. If you need a time piece that is going to stay accurate over a long period of time, then this may be the ultimate watch to own, plus it’s just cool to say you have an atomic watch.

[youtube]http://youtu.be/6hC-XKBcUI0[/youtube]

Thank you Bathys for providing us with this information.

Image courtesy of Bathys.

UK All-Format Gaming Charts – Week Ending 28 December 2013

Another week and another busy week for the UK all-format gaming charts. One things is for certain this month, next-gen consoles are off to a rock solid start and while many will be debating who the winner is, truth is Sony and Microsoft are both winning in their own respects and it’s a promising start for the games industry as we enter 2014.  The new consoles have helped along game sales too and with 11 of the top twenty games being available on Xbox One or PlayStation 4 in one respect or another, and three of them being exclusively next-gen (Knack, Forza 5 & Dead Rising 3) its clear that software sales are doing well.

Still amazed this week to see that Aliens: Colonial Marines is back in the charts, it returned to 20th place last week and is still there this week, seriously, who is buying this game? Collect-em-all family fun is still going strong with Disney Infinity and Skylanders: Swap Force and will keep up all heavily indebted to publishers for at least another few months with a steady release of new characters.

Lego Marvel has dropped down to 7th place to make way for both Grand Theft Auto V and Need For Speed: Rivals, but beyond that we see that the big four, Battlefield, Assassin’s Creed IV, Call of Duty: Ghosts and Fifa 14 remain in the same spots as the previous week, showing some clear Christmas favourites for the holiday season.

POS.  TITLE  PUBLISHER  LAST
WEEK 
1 FIFA 14 EA SPORTS 1
2 CALL OF DUTY: GHOSTS ACTIVISION 2
3 ASSASSIN’S CREED IV: BLACK FLAG UBISOFT 3
4 BATTLEFIELD 4 EA GAMES 4
5 GRAND THEFT AUTO V ROCKSTAR 6
6 NEED FOR SPEED: RIVALS EA GAMES 8
7 LEGO MARVEL SUPER HEROES WARNER BROS. INTERACTIVE 5
8 JUST DANCE 2014 UBISOFT 7
9 MINECRAFT: XBOX 360 EDITION MICROSOFT 10
10 GRAN TURISMO 6 SONY COMPUTER ENT. 11
11 BATMAN: ARKHAM ORIGINS WARNER BROS. INTERACTIVE 12
12 WWE 2K14 2K SPORTS 14
13 FORZA MOTORSPORT 5 MICROSOFT 15
14 KILLZONE: SHADOW FALL SONY COMPUTER ENT. 9
15 SKYLANDERS SWAP FORCE SKYLANDERS 13
16 KNACK SONY COMPUTER ENT. 18
17 FOOTBALL MANAGER 2014 SEGA 18
18 DISNEY INFINITY DISNEY INFINITY 16
19 DEAD RISING 3 MICROSOFT 18
20 ALIENS: COLONIAL MARINES SEGA 20

What games did you pick up this Christmas, been hitting the chart toppers or bargain hunting in this months massive Steam sale?

IndieDB Present 2013 Indie Title Of The Year

Indie DB have been a long supporter of independent developers and their games, the site is a great place to showcase work and build fan bases during and after development of a title. With all the hardwork that gets put into games, it’s always great to get a little appreciation and recognition for your work and despite only just releasing an alpha, the Players Choice 2013 Indie of the Year will likely come as little surprise to most. Starbound’s popularity is undeniable, which is why after 97,500 votes the players have crowned it this years best independent game. Despite it’s popularity however, only a handful of votes separated the top 10 indie games of 2013 which includes:

10. Rogue Legacy
9. Outlast
8. Tales of Maj’Eyal
7. Path of Exile
6. Into the Dark
5. The Stanley Parable
4. Space Engineers
3. Kerbal Space Program
2. Contagion
1. Starbound

“Congratulations to the victors and huge thanks to the award sponsor Desura, the developers and supporters of the awards who recognize the work that goes into making an amazing indie game.” – IndieDB

Personally I put my vote on Kerbal Space Program, I’m a sucker for anything physics based and it’s a great title, then again I’ve also been blown away by FTL (Faster Than Light) this year. What was your favourite indie gaming title of 2013?

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=r82YmKvcPl0&feature=share&list=UUjpwPAyQewUTNISFblWJq2w&index=2[/youtube]

Thank you IndieDB for providing us with this information.

Wilocity Developing The Fastest Wi-Fi In The World

Wilocity, a 60-person company in Caesarea’s industrial zone is developing what it describes as “the world’s first multi-gigabit wireless chipsets” which it is basing around the current standards for super-high-speed internet connections. The chips will be able to transmit data at a speed of seven gigabits per second, making it around 25 times faster than one of the higher home internet connection speeds of 300 megabits per second and exponentially faster than standard broadband connections.

“With every generation of the product, capability improves and speed increases. As soon as you have speed, there’s no end to the applications.” said Yaron Elboim, Wilocity’s vice president of engineering. “First it will go into the business routers, then to computers for the consumer market and later, the standard will also reach mobile,” said Elboim. “It’s a matter of price.”

The company has already secured over $105 million in funding, and the prospect of transferring the data for a two hour high definition movie in just 2.2 minutes over the new wireless tech is tempting, because no one likes waiting for their data to transfer.

The new Wi-Fi controller chips don’t restrict multiple users by dividing bandwidth between them, giving everyone a massive speed boost. The only downside is that the router and computer have to be in the same room, and within a distance of 100 meters / 328 feet. The new technology may be faster and have great range, but at current it is not effective through walls or other physical impediments.

The super-fast technology is based on new WiGig 60-gigahertz and IEEE802.11 standards for Wi-Fi. The new standards were approved in March of this year, and is expected to become the primary standard in computing over the next few years.

Thank you Haaretz for providing us with this information.

Hacker Details Potential Threat Of SD Card Hacks

Memory cards of all kinds are common place in data theft and hacking, tool kits installed on flash drives are a quick and effective way of stealing information from computers and of course there is also the fact that you can simply copy and pasta data to them, then stick the drive in your pocket. SD cards could soon be the worst offender as hardware Hacker Bunnie Huang details how the micro controllers and firmware of SD cards can be used maliciously.

Flash memory such as SD cards are over engineered to keep data retention at acceptable levels, all memory cards suffer from data loss and are riddled with flaws, but are design with algorithms that allow them to compensate. To do this, SD cards contain a micro controller and firmware, this firmware is often left unsecured and can be manipulated to create areas hidden storage areas that can mirror data, or could even be reprogrammed to become Arduino-esque open source micro-controller and memory systems.

“Today at the Chaos Computer Congress (30C3), xobs and I disclosed a finding that some SD cards contain vulnerabilities that allow arbitrary code execution — on the memory card itself. On the dark side, code execution on the memory card enables a class of MITM (man-in-the-middle) attacks, where the card seems to be behaving one way, but in fact it does something else. On the light side, it also enables the possibility for hardware enthusiasts to gain access to a very cheap and ubiquitous source of microcontrollers.”

Bunnie went into great detail on his site that details accessing the firmware.

Thank you Techcrunch for providing us with this information.

Image courtesy of Techcrunch.

Wii U GamePad Reverse Engineered To Stream From PC

A few people have already been tinkering to use the Wii U GamePad as a PC controller, of could this doesn’t include the use of the screen, but the basic functionality such as face buttons, triggers and analogue sticks work just fine. But simply controlling a PC game with the cool Wii U tablet controller isn’t that much fun, an Xbox 360 controller does a much better job in that respect. A small team of hackers have pushed the controller even further in a new hack that allowed them to not only use the GamePad as a controller, but also allowed them to stream games to the screen, much in the same way that you can do with the Nvidia Shield.

The displayed their hack at the 30th Chaos Communication Congress, where they detailed how they broke through the firmware  and the peak of their efforts was to show a Gamecube emulated session of classic Zelda game Wind Waker on the Wii U GamePad. The software was a little buggy and did crash a few times, but overall worked pretty well as a proof of concept and the team say that their code is primarily aimed at developers. Now the group who to plan on new tools using the hack, building features that are compatible with Windows, OSX and Android, perhaps even using a standard Android tablet as a replacement Wii U controller by porting the firmware.

[youtube]http://youtu.be/m8YgVVtNRjg[/youtube]

Thank you Engadget for providing us with this information.

Image courtesy of Engadget.

Corsair Graphite 230T Windowed Mid Tower Rebel Orange Chassis Review

Introduction


Today we take a look at the latest chassis from Corsair, the budget friendly 230T. At just £59.99 it is a far cry from the more recent Corsair chassis products we have reviewed, such as the £299.99 900D Ultra-Tower and the £129.99 750D Full-Tower. Of course, those premium models are incredible and worth every penny should you need something like that, but the mid budget end of the market is where the majority of consumers spend their hard-earned cash and it will be interesting to see just how many of the high-end features Corsair are renowned for managed to find their way into this model.

The model we are looking at today comes finished in a stunning and somewhat bright “rebel orange”, features support for ATX, Micro-ATX and Mini-ITX motherboards, with room for up to 7 expansion cards, plenty of storage, three 5.25″ drives and three included 120mm fans pre-installed.

The chassis comes in a fairly standard box, with a graphics design similar to the rest of the Corsair range. There is a nice high contrast image on the front and a run down of the basic specifications on the side.

Around the back we have a nice break down image of the chassis that shows all the major components, as well as further details on the specifications.

In the box I found a simple installation guide, a collection of cable ties, various screws for mounting all major components and a few rubber washers.

Game of Thrones Held The Title Of The Most Pirated Show In 2013

HBO’s Game of Thrones is a very popular TV series, there is no denying that fact. We often get to hear exactly how popular this series is when it smashes all piracy records. Earlier this year we reported that Game of Thrones season 3 finale had become the top BitTorrent download and also the most pirated show in the U.S. “sprint season.” So it shouldn’t come as surprise to see that this very series has turned out to be the most pirated show of 2013. It has actually held on that title for two years in a row.

AMC came in second and third, its insanely popular series Breaking Bad was at No.2 with the series finale being downloaded illegally over 4.2 million times. Breaking Bad was trailed by AMC’s The Walking Dead, another hit series, which saw roughly 3.6 million downloads for an episode that hasn’t been named. The Big Bang Theory, Dexter, How I Met Your Mother, Suits, Homeland, Viking and Arrow complete the rest of the list, released by the folks at TorrentFreak. Sure there has been a lot of hue and cry about online piracy and how these illegal downloads are costing studios an insane amount of money, its safe to say that the pirates aren’t going away anytime soon.

Thank you Ubergizmo for providing us with this information

NSA Reportedly Can Bug Computers Before They Reach Buyers

Apparently the NSA does not have to wait until people are using technology to start snooping on it. Spiegel has obtained documents which claim that the agency’s Tailored Access Operations (TAO) group can intercept computer equipment orders and install tracking hardware or software before the shipments even reach their buyers. The division can target a wide array of hardware, too. Another NSA section, ANT, reportedly has a catalog of tools that can install back doors in everything from Cisco and Huawei network systems through to hard drives from most major manufacturers, including Seagate and Western Digital. Some of these bugs can give the NSA “permanent” access, since they’re designed to persist if the owner wipes a device’s storage or upgrades its firmware.

The leak suggests that the targeted manufacturers aren’t aware of what’s happening; Cisco and other firms tell Spiegel they don’t coordinate with the NSA. These hardware interceptions are also limited in scope next to remote surveillance programs. The agency isn’t confirming any specifics, but it maintains that TAO is focused on exploiting foreign networks. Whether or not that’s true, the discoveries show that the NSA’s surveillance can reach the deepest levels of many networks.

Thank you Endgadget for providing us with this information
Image courtesy of Spiegel

PJ-01 OTG USB Flash Drive Announced By Kingmax

KINGMAX announced its PJ-01 OTG USB, a portable devices that does not need any external accessory to connect to PCs or other host with the help of plug-and-play feature. It supports OTG (On-The-Go) and is compatible with android smartphones and tablets. Weighing only 3 grams, the PJ-01 makes it easier to access or store files from your smartphone or tablet without the need for an internet connectivity to access your cloud, which makes it a perfect candidate for outdoor storage solutions.

Whether you want to share files with your friends or sore some important files for later, the PJ-01 is the best and safest solution for that matter. It also comes in a variety of colors to choose from. The PJ-01 uses the USB 2.0 connectivity, with up to 480 Mb/s transfer rates, and has a capacity between 4GB and 32GB, depending on the model.

Features

  • Fashionable and Multi-colored
  • Lightweight, Petite and Reliable compact design in aluminum metiral
  • Plug-and-Play, Support OTG(On-The-Go) function in Micro USB interface
  • Making Sharing file easier, directly read and edit files
  • Compliant with USB2.0 specification ( up to 480 Mb/s)

Specifications

  • Dimensions: 33 mm x 14 mm x 5 mm
  • Weight: 3g
  • Voltage: DC 5V
  • Interface: 5pin Micro USB with OTG support (Compliant with USB2.0 )
  • OS Supported: Android, Window8/7, Vista, XP, 2000, Mac 10.X

Thank you TechPowerUp for providing us with this information
Images courtesy of TechPowerUp

Google Expected To Integrate Into Google+

In an interview with Livemint, Google’s Steve Grove, director of partnerships for Google+, went into some detail about how the company plans to stretch Google+ even further in the future: “We’ve been consolidating the different services, so today Search, YouTube, the Google Play app store, all this plugs into Google+. And the reason for that is that Google+ is kind of like the next version of Google.”

Google is doing everything it can to attract more people to Google+, a service which has been ignored at the best of times, and reviled at the worst. By partnering with celebrities and major companies, integrating all of its products and requiring real names for commenting, Google has been taking the necessary steps to grow the social network, even if some of the methods have been unpopular.

According to Grove, mobile is the next target for Google+. “[Google+ is] going to create a network future with people uploading live videos from their phones, said Grove. “Google+ could do for live video, what YouTube did for recorded video.”

Thank you BGR for providing us with this information

GLONASS Could Be Halted In The US

Russia’s version of the widely-used Global Positioning System could be all but halted in the US due to the nation’s latest defence budget bill, according to The New York Times. The bill, signed into law on Thursday, would require the US secretary of defense and the director of national intelligence to provide a waiver ensuring that data transfer between the Glonass stations is not encrypted, and certify that they pose no threat to national security, among other requirements. “The idea was to make it next to impossible, if not impossible, to do this,” a House Republican aide told the Times.

Several nations in Asia and the EU have been working to compete with the dominance of American GPS. The efforts echo similar ambitions by some nations to reduce the United States’ power over the global internet, especially in the wake of this year’s NSA revelations.

While Glonass is not widely used in the United States, some phone makers have embraced its benefits. Last year, Sony added Glonass positioning to several of its Xperia handsets, claiming that the additional data offered by Russia’s satellites compliment the US GPS system. A Sony and Qualcomm test in San Francisco found that accuracy could be improved by up to 50 percent with Glonass and GPS combined.

Thank you The Verge for providing us with this information