US Compensation for VW Drivers to Increase by 50%

Unless you’ve been living under a rock for the last few weeks, you should know about the latest emissions scandal regarding the Diesel Volkswagen (VW) engined cars; our previous coverage can be found here and here. This has been met with huge uproar and the VW Group started to offer affected owners a $2,000 trade-in credit against the cars/ vans that had the emission cheating software installed.

In the US, on top of that $2,000 trade-in credit, affected drivers are also going to be eligible for up to $1,000 in gift cards and dealership credit and additional complimentary 24hr Roadside Assistance for up to three (3) years. It’s not fully clear whether UK drivers will be receiving the same treatment, The Telegraph has reported owners seek professional legal advice.

This has negatively impacted the resale of the motors and owners are likely to see an increase in road TAX, fuel consumption and possibly even voided warranties if the update hasn’t been applied to the vehicle. However, VW representatives want to reassure its customers that the cars are safe to drive whether or not they have the new software applied or not. Want to know if your car has the cheating software installed? US readers can visit this website and UK/ EU readers can visit this website.

Ashley Madison Hackers Leaving Behind Footprints

Hacking has been big news in recent years, with everyone from Sony to Apple having breaches and personal information released. The latest in this long stream of hacks is a website titled Ashley Madison. In case you aren’t familiar with this website here is what’s happened so far. The Ashley Madison site is a site designed for people to search for companions, no matter what their marital status. This has resulted in it being a site popular among those who are unfaithful for their partners, a problem for many given that to leave the site you are required to pay a £15 fee. In protest of this though they seem to have been hacked, and as a result, this information has since been released on the internet. Now for the fun parts.

In contrast to the initial “moral” stance taken, of which many suspected the reason the hacked data was made public was in order to force people to be faithful and honest with their partners and in protest to the leaving fee, it would appear that this data is now being used by criminals to extort the people who have had their data exposed online. Demanding roughly 1.0000001 bitcoins (£147.28) from each person or to have their information revealed to their significant others.

All is not lost, as a file containing the emails of Ashley Madison’s CEO was left on an unprotected bittorrent server for hours. By not password protecting or disabling the web management system used in the file sharing system people were able to access and change the server configuration, and if it turns out that this was the original torrent server used to upload the files it could be possible to track down the IP of connecting users and find out who initially uploaded the files.

Hacks are appearing every day now and it would seem that people are using these to their own benefits, turning one crime into hundreds.

Thank you Neowin and Ars Technica for the information. 

Image courtesy of Ashley Madison.

Hackers Post 10GB Stolen Data as Ashley Madison Stays Online

It has been a while since hackers attacked the online cheating site Ashley Madison where the hackers claimed that they had downloaded pretty much all relevant information about the users from the site. For those who don’t know it, Ashley Madison is an online dating site specifically designed and advertised to married people who want to cheat on their partner. A pure disgrace in my book that a site like that is allowed to stay online, but that is beside the point right now.

The hackers wanted the site to shut down and threatened to release the user data if that didn’t happen. The site didn’t give in to the blackmail as it looks to be a very lucrative operation, even though they’ve exposed for having 90-95% male profiles and most female profiles being faked by the company. I don’t think that women cheat less than men, perhaps they’re smarter about it.

Now the hackers have made good on their promise and released 10GB stolen data that includes not only usernames and emails, but also appears to contain credit card information to pay for the membership as well as many other personal information. While the site doesn’t verify the profiles in any way and it is possible to create fake profiles with any email you wish, it’s still scary how many government email addresses were found in the database.

Avid Life Media, the company behind Ashley Madison, condemned the release of the data with a statement: “This event is not an act of hacktivism, it is an act of criminality. It is an illegal action against the individual members of AshleyMadison.com, as well as any freethinking people who choose to engage in fully lawful online activities. The criminal, or criminals, involved in this act have appointed themselves as the moral judge, juror, and executioner, seeing fit to impose a personal notion of virtue on all of society. We will not sit idly by and allow these thieves to force their personal ideology on citizens around the world.”

All the information has been posted to the “Dark Web” that only can be accessed through the Tor browser. It will be interesting to see what new dirt will show up as experts dig through the data and decrypt the parts that were secured.

Thank You Wired for providing us with this information

Court Orders Exam Retakes for Students Caught Cheating with High-Tech Vest

The Indian Supreme Court has demanded 630,000 students retake their All India Pre-Medical and Pre-Dental Entrance Test (AIPMT) amid concerns about widespread cheating. One of the most prevalent devices used was a vest which contains a concealed microphone and cellular radio. This can exchange data such as research papers to another person through a traditional SIM card. You can even covertly ask questions into the built-in microphone and hear the response through a minuscule in-ear Bluetooth headset. This makes it quite difficult to detect and relays much more information than writing notes onto your hands. Of course, this isn’t something I am advocating!

An investigation into the scale of cheating produced some shocking results and predict approximately 700 students used the hidden communication tool. In total, 44 candidates were identified and found cheating with the devices being present across Bihar, Jharkhand, Madhya Pradesh, Odisha, Maharashtra and Uttar Pradesh. The AIPMT administers 15% of the seats in the country’s public medical and dental colleges which creates a lot of fierce competition. Additionally, 99.4% of all candidates fail the AIPMT every year and upholds a very high standard. Parents acted in desperation to propel their children into the school and provide a better quality of life. However, cheaters never prosper nor deserve any credit.

The BBC produced a video showing the how the vest works and remarks on the unbelievable quantity of devices out there to acquire the correct answers. India’s educational system is plagued by this notion and gangs can make a profitable business from selling data and devices in huge numbers. Cheating is illegal in India, but this hasn’t deterred students from trying to get away with it!

https://youtu.be/hLD-07tba1A

Thank you Geek for providing us with this information.

Cheater Faces In-Game Death Penalty

Guild Wars 2 is a popular massively multiplayer online role-playing game (MMORPG) which is sold over 3 Million copies worldwide. It’s also one of the places where usage of exploits is not tolerated. DarkSide, in-game character faced sweet justice after he was caught playing by unfair means like teleporting, survive coordinated attacks by other players and dominate player-versus-player combat. After other players complained and submitted proof videos, Security lead Chris Cleary executed the character and deleted all the avatars linked to the account. All the other accounts owned by the same player are were shut down.

“We do not need to see it in-game, sometimes good video evidence is enough for me to track down who it was. In this case, the video was enough for me to find out who it was and take action.” said Mr Cleary “Oh yah, he’s also banned” 

YouTuber Shazbawt has posted a video named ‘RIP DarkSide’ showing the last moments of the character. He is stripped in public then waves and kills himself by jumping off a high bridge.

If cheaters are served justice in similar way that comes with Humiliation, some day there won’t be anymore. This move was appreciated by fans as “That’s pretty gangster” on the forums and it is actually pretty cool though. What do you think? Let us know in the comments section.

Thanks BBC for providing us with this information.

Professional CS:GO Players Caught Cheating and Banned

A shadow has been cast on the professional CS:GO gaming community as three players have been caught cheating in competitive play and received VAC bans last week. The outed players are Hovik “KQLY” Tovmassian, Simon “smn” Beck and Gordon “Sf” Giry.

Professional players or at least semi-professional, have been banned before, but it is rare that it happens on such a high-profile level. It doesn’t just cast doubt on past performances in tournaments, but also on the entire scene. There might be other similar and yet undiscovered cheats in the wild.

KQLY, probably the most prominent of the banned players, has issued some statements via his facebook page. He said that he used the third-party tool for a seven days period and that the programmer that had offered him the tool had ensured that “lots of professional gamers user it.” The tool in question has no visual display and the only way it can be detected is during installation. No visual indication can be found on the affected systems. The cheat allegedly connects through the steam workshop.

No doubt the shame must be high and I bet they’d like to crawl up into a hole and disappear right now. And it is really bad timing with Dreamhack starting this week. The Titan and Epsilon teams have been disqualified from this years Dreamhack Winter 2014 tournaments that has a price pool of $250,000.

Thanks to PC Gamer for providing us with this information

Image courtesy of PC Gamer

LoL Update Sees New Map Introduced

Many months ago I was introduced to a jaw-dropping statistic. According to their own data, Riot Games will see a minimum of 4 million users logged in to their League of Legends client at any one time, worldwide. This really helped put into perspective how big games were really becoming globally. This is coupled with the tens of thousands of concurrent users that League of Legends pro streamers receives every day, alongside hundreds of thousands of viewers for each world series tournament game.

On November the 13th, Riot Games released one of their biggest updates yet – seeing the new update to Summoners Rift head into BETA.

Love it or hate it, there’s no denying that League of Legends is a massively successful project and here to stay. Commonly known as ‘League’ by its regulars, this update sees the games mainly played map fully updated with improved graphics, clutter minimization and it will mesh more with current game styling. So far it’s sounding like a very VALVE-eque CS:GO update in all honesty – you know, those updates they do after the 100th Reddit thread about map release clutter being unbearable. Riot has announced alongside this update that for the next “several weeks” you can earn yourself limited red and blue icons by winning a match on either respective starting side of your game.

There are other game-modes and maps besides Summoners Rift including their popular ARAM (All Random, All Mid) level – however updates for this version have not yet been announced to the public.

This update is said to come alongside more anti-cheating methods implemented by Riot, combating a various range of third-party plugins devised to give one or multiple players an unfair game advantage aka filthy hackers.

If you wish to try out the Beta of this new map, you’re going to have to queue with bots or in ‘team builder mode’ until it goes live on public matchmaking.

Image courtesy of onGamers