Cyber Warfare Could Become A Specialist Combat Unit In The US

The saying goes that “to be prepared is half the victory”, this is never more the case in the modern day when everything can change in a split second. With the modern day battle happening months and even years before the first shot is fired, warfare happens every day on the internet attacking the minds and systems of countries with no warning. In response to this growing threat, cyber warfare could soon become a specialist combat unit within the United states military.

Currently, anything relating to cyber warfare is united as part of a “sub-unified command” beneath the U.S. strategic command, but reports are coming in that Defence Secretary Ash Carter may be looking at turning the cyber command unit into a full combatant command.

This would put cyber warfare on bar with the nine that currently operate within the U.S. military including six commands based on their geographical areas (Pacific, Europe, Africa, Middle East, Central and Southern command) and three based on their areas of specialty, such as the transportation command, strategic command (those in charge of nuclear forces) and special operations command groups. Moving out from strategic command to become the 10th COCOM (Combat Commander Exercise combatant command) would be a big step in realising the threat of cyber warfare and the steps that countries need to take to protect people beyond the lines of maps.

ExecuteIndirect Command in DirectX 12 Brings Improved Performance and Low CPU Usage

Microsoft has revealed a new indirect dispatching draw solution that can be used by all DirectX 12 compatible hardware, completely replacing the DrawIndirect and DispatchIndirect commands. The company says that this solution will bring ‘major performance improvements to the already incredible performance that DX12 can achieve’.

ExecuteIndirect is said to perform multiple draws with a single API call, and gives the ability to both the CPU and the GPU to control draw calls, as well as change bindings between draw calls. Principal Development Lead for Direct3D and DXGI at Microsoft, Max McMullen, has demoed the new feature at GDC with the help of Intel’s Asteroid benchmark.

McMullen first demoed the DX11 version, where the benchmark results came in at only 29 FPS. Switching to DX12 however, an outstanding 75 FPS result was achieved, having a 4 to 6 FPS increase when bindless mode was added to the equation. For those unaware, bindless mode is a DX12 feature which can pre-bake all textures used in the application. Microsoft states that the feature is “a major efficiency improvement in how the GPU is running”.

Lastly, when switching to ExecuteIndirect, an epic 90 FPS result was achieved in the benchmark. This is where we see a significant reduction of CPU usage as well compared to the previous two DX12 benchmarks, making the feature one of the best solutions for delivering high-quality graphics at the lowest possible hardware usage. Now it remains to be seen if developers can take full advantage of Microsoft’s new feature.

Thank you DSOGaming for providing us with this information

US Central Command’s Twitter and YouTube Hacked by ISIS

It appears that the Twitter and YouTube accounts of the US Central Command have been hacked. The hackers seem to associate themselves with ISIS. As of writing, the Twitter account has been suspended, while the YouTube page is still up carrying a load of ISIS propaganda.

They’ve posted a number of documents, including links to those documents, which seem to contain personal information regarding US troops. With the Twitter account having been shut down, most of that data has now gone.

The US Central Command or any department of US government has yet to issue a statement on the matter, but we’ll update you with a further article as this story develops.

Update: CENTCOM released a statement calling the hack “a case of cybervandalism” and added that “no classified information was posted and that none of the information posted came from CENTCOM’s server or social media sites.”

Earlier today, U.S. Central Command’s Twitter and YouTube sites were compromised for approximately 30 minutes. These sites reside on commercial, non-Defense Department servers and both sites have been temporarily taken offline while we look into the incident further. CENTCOM’s operational military networks were not compromised and there was no operational impact to U.S. Central Command. CENTCOM will restore service to its Twitter and YouTube accounts as quickly as possible. We are viewing this purely as a case of cybervandalism.

In the meantime, our initial assessment is that no classified information was posted and that none of the information posted came from CENTCOM’s server or social media sites. Additionally, we are notifying appropriate DoD and law enforcement authorities about the potential release of personally identifiable information and will take appropriate steps to ensure any individuals potentially affected are notified as quickly as possible.

Source: The Next Web

Windows 10 Build 9897 ISO Images Creep Online

A few weeks ago, Microsoft released a newly compiled version of their upcoming Operating System – Windows 10. However, some tech savvy enthusiasts have cleaned it up a little and re-released it for illegal download.

Obviously we’re not going to link the download instructions here, as we said it’s illegal. But it’s interesting to point out that in this day and age, pirated copies for all kinds of software are generally expected to appear just mere hours or days after the original release. Recently we reported on Ubisoft’s gloat, claiming that all those who had pirated their latest Assassins Creed: Unity game, were met with the inability to change their FOV settings. Just a few hours later, well-known game cracking group Skidrow released an update to their version, allowing consumers to change their FOV as they like. Making their mark and claiming that they weren’t to be messed with.

Back to Windows – this download provides the user with the ability to skip all automatic updates, giving you the complete latest package in one download file.

What are your thoughts on Windows 10 so far? Since the release of Windows 7, we’ve seen many users claim that there is simply no need to upgrade their Operating System, saying that Windows 8, 8.1 and 10 offer no real advancements in software technology to entice them to take the plunge.

Image courtesy of Chiphell

Hacker Diverts Traffic from 19 ISPs to Steal a Large Sum of Bitcoins

It is said that researchers over at Dell’s SecureWorks security division have uncovered a series of hacking attempts in which a bitcoin thief redirected a portion of online traffic from 19 ISPs, including data from Amazon, DigitalOcean and OVH, in order to steam digital currency from a group of bitcoin users.

The hijack said to have lasted just 30 seconds, but the hacking attempt is said to have been performed 22 times. On each attempt, the hacker gained control of the processing power of a group of bitcoin miners, redirecting their mining activity towards his private pool. Security researchers say that the hacker was able to pocket a flow of bitcoins and other digital currencies worth roughly $9,000 through the hijacking.

“With this kind of hijacking, you can quite easily grab a large collection of clients,” said Pat Litke, one of the Dell researchers. “It takes less than a minute, and you end up with a lot of mining traffic under your control.”

A technique called BGP is said to have been used, exploiting the border gateway protocol. The hacker took advantage of a staff user account at a Canadian ISP to periodically broadcast a spoofed command that redirected traffic from other ISPs from February throughout May this year. The command, along with miners not checking their rigs to notice the ‘new’ settings, led to the hacker pocketing $83,000 worth of cryptocurrency.

“Some people are more attentive to their mining rigs than others,” said Joe Stewart, a Dell researcher whose own computers were caught up in one victimized mining pool. “Many users didn’t check their setups for weeks, and they were doing all this work on behalf of the hijacker.”

The BGP hijacking method has been discussed as a potential threat to the internet security since 1998. Back then, a group of hackers known as L0pht stated that they could use the attack to take down the entire Internet in 30 minutes. The discussion was followed at the DefCon security conference in 2008 and was later used in 2013 to temporarily redirect a portion of US internet traffic to Iceland and Belarus.

Thank you Wired for providing us with this information

Apple And Google To Battle Over Personal Assistants

Smartphone manufacturers have been battling over features, specs and design. But now it seems that the battleground is moving towards the personal assistant area, where Siri and Google Now comes into play. According to a report out of the U.K., both Apple and Google are hard at work improving their virtual personal assistants. Both companies are spending hundreds of millions of dollars trying to improve how each of their “assistants” comprehends the human language.

Google Now works differently than its rival Siri, anticipating what information is needed by reading a users emails and looking at their calendar. Google feels it has an advantage in understanding real world language because of the way search results are ranked on the Google search engine. Google Now, which also plays a big part in Google Glass, will also be found on smartwatches, cars, and in the home.

Apple might have felt some pressure from the way that Google Now anticipates information requests. This could explain Apple’s decision to purchase Topsy for $200 million. Topsy looks for patterns among the 500 million tweets that are sent out daily. Nick Halstead, the CEO of Topsy’s U.K. rival DataSift, believes that Apple will use the information delivered by Topsy to improve how Siri responds to requests for information.

Thank you Phonearena for providing us with this information
Image courtesy of Giga.de

Matrix Games Prepare “Command: Modern Air/Naval Operations” For Release On PC

Following the official unveiling and presentation during the Press Conference at Historicon, Matrix Games has announced the official release date of their highly anticipated wargame and simulation of modern air and naval combat developed by Warfare Sims. Command: Modern Air/Naval Operations puts the player in charge of air and naval operations in a period stretching from post-WW2 all the way to the modern day and even the near future at the tactical and operation scale.

We can now confirm that the 24th of September will be the day when players will be able to get their hands on this incredibly realistic, deep and challenging game. Furthermore, to thanks to Forum user Tomcat84, you can also have a look a beta preview After Action Report featuring the Fighter Weapon School scenario, which details the tactics of an air engagement between evenly matched forces.

Over the coming weeks, through additional previews, you will get the chance to appreciate the impressive management possibilities of aircraft, surface ships, submarines and satellite technology of Command Modern Air/Naval Operations, a game that aims to set a new benchmark for depth and realism in the wargame landscape. You can read the AAR on the related Forum Page.

Thank you Warfaresims for providing us with this information.

Image courtesy of Warfaresims.