US Federal Agent Admits To Stealing $820,000 Bitcoins From Silk Road

Shaun Bridges, a former US DEA agent who was investigating the online drug marketplace Silk Road, has been charged with obstructing justice and money laundering. He has since admitted the charges that were levelled against him.

So, how did Mr Bridges nick quite so many Bitcoins with a huge resale figure? According to the US Department of Justice (DoJ), Bridges was granted as part of the investigation to the rights to an administrator account on the notorious deep web black marketplace Silk Road. He misused his account by resetting the passwords and pocketing around 20,000 in Bitcoins from numerous wallets on the service, he then transferred the digital currency into his own wallet. Having quite a lot of Bitcoins in a virtual wallet is fun and all, but, Mr Bridges envisaged a big financial reward and subsequently sold off the stolen Bitcoins on the Mt Gox exchange between March to May 2013, which netted him a combined figure of $820,000 in cash.

When the net closes tightly around you, Shaun Bridges decided to admit all as part of a plea deal, he also admitted that during the investigation of Silk Road he had lied to investigators and also tried to obstruct them in their duties.

This is why government law enforcement is unable to take the moral high ground in cases like this. Yes, what Ross Ulbricht and co operated was illegal, but the actions of the former agent in question weren’t exactly saint like either. It’s difficult to convey the evils of this type of behaviour to would-be cyber criminals when the supposed “good side” have also been charged with theft.

A perfect summary of this case arrives courtesy of US Attorney Melinda Haag who Stated the following

“Mr. Bridges has now admitted that he brazenly stole $820,000 worth of digital currency while working as a U.S. Secret Service special agent, a move that completely violated the public’s trust. We depend on those in federal law enforcement having the highest integrity and unshakable honour, and Mr. Bridges has demonstrated that he utterly lacks those qualities.”   

A part of preventing crime is trust in those who defend the law-abiding, if trust is disappearing after scandal upon scandal, it’s difficult to regain it.

Thank you techworm for providing us with this information.

Image courtesy of nextpowerup

Unhappy Gamers Start Petition Against Paid Content in Steam Workshop

Valve is doing a lot of restructuring in Steam at the moment. First there was the added limitation for people who haven’t spent any money on the service and yesterday they announced that it now was possible for modders to set their own price for their work and sell it in the Steam Workshop instead of just sharing their work as it was up until now.

But it looks like a lot of users aren’t happy with this new addition to Steam and a user named Cyand Wondel started a petition on change.org to stop it again. The petition was started about 12 hours ago and over 15 thousand have already signed the petition out of the 25 thousand petition goal.

The comments people give on why they are signing the petition all look very similar, a fear that this could ruin a great modding community on Steam:

“This has the potential of ruining the mod community, it has to be stopped.”

“This should have never happened in the first place Valve. I mean no 1 would pay for this, they are not DLC’s they are mods and they are supposed to be free.”

“Many of the mods currently being sold require the Skyrim Script Extender and that team of people won’t be seeing a single penny from this the way you have it set up. Also modding is a hobby, not a career. You will ruin the modding community by going about this in the fashion that you are”

In short, the fear is that this could ruin the modding community as it is, by turning it into a marketplace rather than just a forum for sharing your own creations with fellow gamers and get some feedback on items that you’ve put so much work into.

But it isn’t an entirely new scheme from Valve, just an extension. People have already been able to sell items for Valve’s own games and it is estimated that 1500 users have made a total of about $57 million in these games over the previous three years.

What’s your take on Valve’s newest initiative, do you think it’s a good or bad thing?

You Can Now Order Pizza from an Xbox One

After announcing it in October, Domino’s Pizza yesterday released its Xbox One pizza delivery app.

Now you barely have to stop playing to get your pizza fix – you can even order using Kinect’s gestures or its voice recognition system. The app allows you to customise your pizza, modify delivery and track it being made. You can take advantage of the Xbox One’s Snap feature, so you can get straight back to play in no time at all. As The Telegraph points out, Pizza Hut had an app on the Xbox 360, making some wonder why the change to Domino’s?

Did Pizza Hut get Bill Gates’ order wrong?

The new app is available now from the Xbox Marketplace.

Source: The Telegraph

Google Constructing a Play Store for Project Ara

It’s been a while since we’ve heard anything about Google’s ambitious fully modular smart phone; Project Ara. The cell-phone can be chopped, changed and modified according to the users desires and specification needs. Reports are swirling that Google’s moving ahead with the project and the company has confirmed that it’s in construction stages of creating a Google Play store for Project Ara.

The marketplace like web-store will allow developers to sell custom components directly to consumers exactly like apps are sold today. It’s an incredibly big dream that Google’s trying to bring to life and the road forwards is certainly not going to be an easy path. There are many looming technical risks associated with Project Ara that still need to be overcome.

We still don’t have a lot of specific information on how much modules will cost or how many will be available through the store. It’s been rumoured that Project Ara will allow users to swap out components without having to even power down the device (except the display and CPU).

Big questions still face the team behind the modular smart phone – nothing like this has ever come to consumers before in the mobile space. It’ll be interesting to see how things progress in the coming months as Google moves forward with Project Ara; we expect to hear more details soon.

Thanks to Gizmodo for providing us with this information.

Unreal Engine 4 Marketplace Launched to Compete with Unity

Unreal Engine 4 looks set to compete with Unity by launching its own marketplace, this will offer an easily accessible built-in resource to their engine, allowing people to browse free content that was created by the developers at Epic. The store is open for early submissions of community created content, this includes both free and paid commercial content such as samples, textures, prefabs, tutorials and more.

Those interested in submitting their work for consideration should follow these three steps.]

In a few weeks time the first bits of content will be made available to the community, which the developers at Unreal say “he result should be a robust mix of readily-usable asset packs containing models and materials; sample scenes; sounds; and other useful components.”

It’s still early days, so there is obviously a lot of work to be done before the store is up to a good standard and it will take time to grow a good level of content, but for developers who use UE4, this is a great addition to an already very powerful development tool.

Thank you UE for providing us with this information.

Image courtesy of UE.

Windows Phone’s Marketplace Will Not Get BlackBerry’s BBM Anytime Soon

BlackBerry’s BBM is available for iOS, Android, as well as BlackBerry itself. Though, nothing is heard about the newly rising Windows Phone operating system. Microsoft’s WP Marketplace has been short of applications, including well-known and used applications. This is the case for BBM too, whereas the app will not be seen in the WP Marketplace anytime soon.

The news comes directly from BlackBerry’s senior director of BBM, stating that BBM will become available in Windows Phone devices when demand for it will suffice the investment in porting the application. This does not mean that Windows Phone will be discriminated though. BBM will also be ported to other platforms, including Microsoft’s WP operating system, but later on as it is expected. Looking at Vine and Instagram, both application eventually got ported to the WIndows Phone Marketplace, but only after the number of demands reached an acceptable number seen from a financial point of view.

As all businesses out there, BlackBerry is always judging from a financial point of view. And currently, it does not make any sense to release a WP variant of BBM since there are not enough users interested in downloading the application on their Windows Phone powered devices, hence BlackBerry is most likely to lose money in porting the app rather than make more money by launching it on other platforms.

Currently Windows Phone is slightly surpassing BlackBerry in global market share, while iOS and Android are miles away. If Microsoft will make some serious changes in the new Windows Phone update which will be announced in April, maybe BBM will have a change in popping up in the Marketplace sooner rather than later.

Thank you Ubergizmo for providing us with this information

Impending Doom In Tropico 4 With New Apocalypse DLC

The Cold War has gotten hotter, and mutually assured nuclear destruction is just around the corner…or is it? In the new Tropico 4 ‘Apocalypse’ DLC, it’ll be up to players to prepare their island nations, and their Tropican citizens, for the end. The new DLC, priced at £3.49/€3.99 on the Xbox 360 and Windows PC, gives players the tools they need to protect their island nations from the nuclear threat – protective shelters, a new survivalist trait (helps with scavenging food) and more.

The Cold War is in full swing and nuclear conflict is inevitable. Prepare the island nation of Tropico for the coming apocalypse and carefully choose which resources and factions to save from certain eradication. The new Nuclear Shelter provides and converts faction bonuses depending on its work mode. Don the new Hazmat suit and choose the Survivalist trait to become a true doomsday prepper.

Features:

  • New building: Nuclear Shelter (provides bonuses depending on work mode)
  • New trait: Survivalist (Tropicans need less food)
  • New outfit: Hazmat suit
  • New mission: How I learned to love the bomb – Survive a doomsday scenario

It’s certainly a nice spin on the game and why prepare for a prosperous future when you can work toward not being blown to hell!

Thank you Tropico for providing us with this information.

Image courtesy of Kalypso Media.