USB Thief Infects ‘Air-gapped’ Computers And Leaves No Trace

Malware (short for malicious software) is a type of program that is intended to cause harm to a system, be it in the form of ransomware, like that which has hit several hospitals in the US, or just you generic popup creating malware. A new malware named USB Thief, looks to break the chain of common threats by hiding itself and infecting systems even when they aren’t connected to the internet.

The internet is a wonderful thing but the problem with everyone being able to share and talk to one another is that sending something nasty is as easy as clicking a button (or in some cases, the software even does this for you). USB Thief avoids this by working on USB sticks, the very same ones you use to send information to and from your computer to your parents or even your friends.

The software hides by only executing under a certain set of rules, that is using a key created from the original USB drive it was created for. Even when it does spread it uses a unique key created using the ID of the USB stick and the time, meaning that traditional attempts to copy and discover the malware fail when suddenly it has unknown hardware in the mix.

Not only does it mean it won’t always execute, breaking the common rule of repeated behaviour is traceable behaviour, but it doesn’t leave any evidence on the infected computer, meaning your data could be stolen and you wouldn’t even know it. USB Thief lives up to the second part of its name, with it at the moment only working to steal data, but Tomáš Gardoň, a malware analyst with antivirus provider Ese says that “it would not be difficult to redesign the malware to change from a data-stealing payload to any other malicious payload”.

By avoiding the internet and focusing on the more traditional method of using USB drives, the virus is able to infect systems similar to how Stuxnet worked, enabling it to infect ‘air-gapped’ system (those which aren’t connected to the internet). With the USB lock in place, only the original USB created by its designers can infect systems, meaning if you didn’t create the original you won’t be able to use it.

If that wasn’t enough the USB Thief’s developer seems to have done its homework as it only runs as part of a command from portable versions of legitimate applications like Notepad++ and Firefox. If you’re running Kaspersky Lab or G Data though you should be okay as the malware won’t install itself on your system, a feature that was no doubt down to results from some initial testing.

Thief Movie to Steal Our Screens

Thief is a series in which you are playing just that, as a thief getting by on your wits and your skills. The latest game in the series made by Square Enix, currently on sale on Steam for only £5, saw mixed reviews. If the game wasn’t for you, that may be changed when you get to experience it all over again in a new form, on as the Thief Movie.

Los Angeles-based production company Straight up Films has acquired the rights to make a film based on the Square Enix franchise. Currently, the screenplay is set to be written by Adam Mason and Simon Boyes, with all hints pointing to a storyline involving a master thief trying to restore freedom which has been taken away by a magic-wielding tyrant.

With Khalid Jones (from Source Rock and Square Enix) acting as an executive producer, Square Enix still have some say in the creation of the movie, raising hopes that it won’t be a video game movie which fails fans of the series.

Are you excited about seeing a master thief run around in a dark victorian-era city fighting for freedom? If you could take one video game and make a full blockbuster movie on, what would you choose and why?

Humble Square Enix Bundle 2 Full of Great Games

The Humble bundles and sales are just as good at dragging the money out of our wallets as the Steam sales are, and the latest Humble Bundle looks like a great offer too.

The Humble Square Enix Bundle 2 will give you the popular games Hitman: Absolution, Hitman GO and Supreme Commander 2 for what you want to pay, and that’s already a great deal.

For those who pay more than the average donation, currently $6.77, will also get a copy of Thie, Murdered: Soul Suspect and Deus Ex: Human Revolution – Director’s Cut – with the possibility of more games being added later.

The third tier is a $15 donation as it mostly is. This tier will give you all the above games as well as Tomb Raider and Sleeping Dogs.

This could be a cheap way to get some really great adventure games to tie over the last cold winter days before spring finally arrives.

Thanks to Humble Bundle for providing us with this information

Square Enix Humble Bundle Announced

The latest Humble Bundle just went on sale, offering a great selection of Square Enix titles including the Deus Ex franchise, Hitman series and other significant titles. As always, paying more than the average or even higher will get you a wider and more valuable collection to your games library.

From the beginning, you will receive the Thief Gold, Daikatana, Mini Ninjas, Anchronox, Hitman: Codename 47 and Hitman 2: Silent Assassin by pledging only $1 or more, depending on your heart’s desire. These represent a fair bundle for such a low price, but there is more. By pledging more than the current average (which is just $6,72 at the moment), you will get Deus Ex: Invisible War, Deus Ex: The Fall, Hitman Absolution, Nosgoth Veteran Pack and Battlestations Midway. There is even a tile left for more games which are bound to be added next Tuesday.

If that is not enough, then pledging $15 or more will unlock the Deus Ex: Human Revolution Director’s Cut, Just Cause 2, Lara Croft and the Guardian of Light, Deus Ex Game of the Year Edition and Kane & Lynch 2: Dog Days. Either way you put it, the bundle is said to be worth $169 if each title is bought separately. However, a mere $15 will still get you Hitman: Absolution, Deus Ex: Human Revolution, Just Cause 2 and Kane & Lynch 2: Dog Days. The additional titles could be considered just a bonus.

Source: Humble Bundle

Testing AMD’s Mantle: Battlefield 4, Thief and PvZ Garden Warfare

Introduction


“Mantle is Game Changing” is AMD’s tagline for their newest low-overhead API. Mantle has been in the news constantly since AMD publicly released the concept on September 26th last year in their public live stream. The biggest claim to fame of this new low-overhead API is its use in EA’s Battlefield 4 blockbuster and the support it has from EA’s famous FrostBite 3 Engine. However, what is all the fuss about? How does Mantle actually perform in practice? Why should you even care about it? These are questions we are hoping to address today.

What’s Mantle all about?

So we’ve briefly introduced Mantle as a “thing” but at a basic technical level, what is Mantle? Mantle is an API, or application programming interface, that reduces the level of CPU workload required during gaming. Mantle does this by offloading tasks traditionally done by the CPU to the GPU and by simplifying the communication between the two. Compared to DirectX, Mantle uses less CPU capacity for communication between a video game and its graphics card resources, as such CPU bottlenecks can be reduced or removed by using the Mantle API. In short Mantle is an attempt to bring “console-like” optimisations to the desktop PC platform.

Who can make use of Mantle?

The AMD Mantle API is currently only supported on AMD GCN products: that’s 28nm HD 7000 or Rx 2xx series graphics cards and Kaveri APUs at the time of writing. For Mantle to work the game must be programmed in the Mantle API. This is the main reason why AMD is working so hard to push its API among game developers; it cannot go anywhere without developer adoption. The Mantle API is currently in the closed beta stage, but upon release it will be fully open source and made available to all game developers, hardware vendors and industry figures.

What games does Mantle support?

Mantle is supported by a range of top-tier game titles, as of writing these are:

  • Battlefield 4
  • Battlefield Hardline
  • Dragon Age: Inquisition
  • Plants Vs. Zombies Garden Warfare
  • Civilization: Beyond Earth
  • Star Citizen
  • Thief
  • Sniper Elite III

Mantle is supported by the Nitrous, Frostbite 3 and CRYENGINE game engines meaning the potential is there to expand it to many more game titles in the future that use those engines. The only three games on that list that are currently available to buy right now, with Mantle support working right now, are Battlefield 4, Plants Vs Zombies Garden Warfare and Thief. So you guessed it….today we are putting those three to the test.

Full details of game support can be found on AMD’s regularly updated list right here.

Why is Mantle important?

Mantle is important because it is the first significant attempt by anyone in the PC industry to dramatically reduce overhead on a graphics API. Although not specifically confirmed by Microsoft, Mantle has been one of the influential driving forces behind DirectX 12. DirectX 12 has been announced by Microsoft but is still in development. DirectX 12 will be Microsoft’s successor to DirectX 11.x and will also be a low-overhead API like Mantle. AMD claims Mantle will be easily “portable” between DX11 and DX12 so anyone who develops for Mantle now will be able to easily move to the next DirectX when it is released. As such Mantle is not an attempt to undercut the DirectX 12 API, but an attempt to fast track the development and adoption of low-overhead APIs.

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=F0oz-EonmBw[/youtube]

Thief Launch Just Days Away, New Trailer Teases More Gameplay

Square Enix and Eidos Montreal have a lot riding on Thief, with the development team behind the much praised Deus Ex: Human Revolution on board, as well as the running success of the publishers previous series re-boot, Tomb Raider, they’re obviously banking on Thief being a another shame hit.

With just days away from launch and many people such as myself having the game pre-ordered, the excitement to get hands on with Thief is building and to celebrate the impending launch we have a brand new launch trailer from the game. While it doesn’t give a huge amount away it does give a few sneeky peaks at some gameplay and a few of Garrett’s encounters from the game.

If you’re saving up for this one, remember that the game launches on the 25th of February for PC, PlayStation 3, PlayStation 4, Xbox 360 and Xbox One.

[youtube]http://youtu.be/of_3FxnsCZc[/youtube]

Thank you Thiefgame for providing us with this information.

Image courtesy of Thiefgame.

Official System Requirements For Thief Released

Thief is already one of the most anticipated titles of 2014, given that the games earlier incarnations helped push the world of gaming to new heights, the likes of which inspired generations of games such as Elder Scrolls, Fallout and well… just about any other first person RPG since.

The new game is set to be unleashed on the world at the end of February for consoles and of course PC. The dev team have released the official specifications this week so that all us lovely PC gamers can make sure we are ready to rock and roll from day one. Minimum requirements are rather forgiving overall, while the recommended specs do offer a little more demand for performance, they’re still not so high to hold back your average gaming rig front the last two years.

Minimum System Requirements:

  • OS: Windows Vista with platform update
  • CPU: High-performance dual core CPU or quad core CPU
  • RAM: 4 GB
  • Graphics Card: AMD Radeon 4800 series / Nvidia GTS 250
  • DirectX: DirectX 10
  • HDD/SSD: 20 GB

Recommended Specs:

  • OS: Windows 7 or 8
  • CPU: AMD FX 8000 series or better / Intel i7 Quad Core CPU
  • RAM: 4+ GB
  • Graphics Card: AMD Radeon HD / R9 series or better / Nvidia GTX 660 series or better
  • DirectX: DirectX 11
  • HDD/SSD: 20 GB

Personally, I cannot wait to get my hands on this game, I’ve had it pre-ordered for what seems like forever!

Thank you PCG for providing us with this information.

Image courtesy of PCG.

Official Thief Companion App Released Ahead Of Launch

Square Enix and Eidos-Montréal, the award winning studio behind the critically acclaimed Deus Ex: Human Revolution, today announced that an official Thief companion app is heading to Android and iOS devices. The companion app will enable fans to gain additional insight into the Thief universe and offer a second-screen experience to fully engage with the game upon its release.

The lite version available in multiple languages later this month includes Thief news as it happens, access to all the latest trailers, artwork, exclusive screenshots and in-depth character bios and further details of the game’s story.

The full version of the app, priced at $2.99, will be available when the game launches and is packed with additional functionality and content including:

  • Direct Link to the main game to track your in-game stats and stolen loot
  • Official Wiki created in partnership with IGN.com
  • Official interactive digital maps created by Prima
  • Issues #1 and #2 of the Official THIEF digital comics created by Dark Horse Comics
  • Exclusive never before seen art and background content direct from the development team
  • Access to official THIEF merchandise

We are also announcing the ultimate pre-order incentive in partnership exclusively with the world’s largest multichannel retailer of video games, GameStop, and its stores worldwide. Pre-order Thief and you will receive:

  • The full version of the Thief Android App worth $2.99
  • The official soundtrack composed by Luc St Pierre performed by the Prague philharmonic orchestra worth $9.99
  • The in-game Bank Heist mission announced previously worth $4.99

Personally I think it is pretty insulting to ask gamers to pay for a premium copy of the app after forking out $60 for the game, it should be complimentary to the game if it’s so integral to the experience and not everyone will be willing to pre-order at Gamestop to get it included. Still, I like the idea overall, but I’m losing my patience with developers finding ways of adding a few bucks to their games at launch.

Thief is due for release on February 25, 2014 in North America.

Thank you Thief for providing us with this information.

Image courtesy of Thief.

Thief Developers State That The Gap Between PC and Consoles Has Been Greatly Reduced

The developers at Eidos Montreal, having the Thief title in mind, state that the development gap has been greatly reduced between consoles and PC when it comes to the next-gen PS4 and Xbox One consoles. This is some great news, for both sides of the platforms, because it means that we should see fewer and fewer exclusive game titles coming in the future, since the exclusivity was mainly due to production cost of cross-platform development.

According to Thief art technical director, Jean-Normand Bucci, the gap between consoles and PC’s is much smaller in the newest generation. In an interview with DSO Gaming, Bucci spoke the following about the recent differences in PC and console:

“The new consoles are very strong, very powerful. They allow for much more than what a console gamer is used to. The gap between PC and next-gen has massively reduced for sure. The new consoles and high-end PC offer better frame rate, higher resolution, and many new features along with DX11 support.”

Although the battle between what is the best gaming platform between PC and consoles will still rage on between gamers, at least we all can get the same experience on whatever we choose to play on. And the developers are also happy because it doesn’t take nearly as many resources to cross-platform their works of art, and gamers benefit because they don’t have to worry about owning a specific system just to play a game they are interested in. Maybe we can see titles such as Grand Theft Auto 5 coming on PC soon enough as well.

Thank you Tech Spot for providing us with this information
Image courtesy of Tech Spot

AMD Announce New Additions To Gaming Evolved Program – BF4, Thief And More

At its GPU 14 press event in Hawaii AMD announced the expansion of its Gaming Evolved program to include a variety of brand new titles. As we told you earlier on today Battlefield 4 is now a new member of AMD’s Gaming Evolved program.

The upcoming title Thief is also going to be an AMD Gaming Evolved title; optimised for the GCN architecture, able to take advantage of AMD’s strong compute performance and the new AMD TrueAudio technology.

Murdered Soul Suspect, from Square Enix and Airtight Games, is another AMD Gaming Evolved title that will take advantage of AMD TrueAudio technology.

Lichdom, a CryEngine 3 optimised game, will also join AMD’s Gaming Evolved program and has support for the new AMD TrueAudio technology.

The latest Volition title Saints Row IV is also part of Gaming Evolved.

It isn’t just all about first person shooters and blockbuster action or thriller titles because AMD also revealed that Sonic All Stars Racing Transformer would be part of the AMD Gaming Evolved program – optimised for TrueAudio and Eyefinity technology.

Images courtesy of eTeknix via AMD LiveStream

Garrett The Master Thief E3 2013 Trailer Released

Garrett is back and this time Eidos Montreal are showing us a sneaky preview in the run up to E3 where we expect to find out more about the next entry to the legendary Thief series.

Due for release on the PC, PlayStation 4 and Xbox One, Theif is set to start off the next-gen gaming race with a bang and if the previews and images we’ve seen so far are a good impression of what is to come then you should at the very least be making time to check out whats on offer at next weeks gaming event.

“There is a rising tide of fear in The City. Hatred saturates every stone and whilst the rich prosper, the less fortunate face misery and repression. Ravaged with sickness and famine, they wait for something to change.” – Theif PR

Take control Garrett the Master Thief in a first-person adventure featuring intelligent design that allows players to take full control, with freedom to choose how they approach and overcome each challenge and forge their own path through the game, of course the actual gameplay might not be so fantastical, but we can only hope it’s close.

Get a glimpse of what it takes to be the Master Thief in this new trailer.

[youtube]http://youtu.be/nOy7wTB9XPA[/youtube]

Thank you Eidos for providing us with this information.

Image courtesy of theifgame.com