Feeling Those Gamer Blues? Check out Humble Store’s Winter Sale

Christmas is over, the new year is gone. That doesn’t mean your gaming sales have to end, the Humble Store is the latest to start a winter sale with your bank accounts begging for a visit.

Why not start by surviving dinosaurs on a tropical island to overcome the cold in Ark Survival for %40 off, settling at an acceptable £13.79. Boost around the pitch and score goals in a rocket powered car in Rocket league for only £10.49. Still too much? Why not try games like Dishonored Game of the Year Edition for only £6.79, or the latest in the Trine series, Trine 3, for only £3.99. Go retro with Pacman for £2.99 or Audiosurf for £0.69.

With discounts on entire series like the Call of Duty franchise, you can enjoy Advanced Warefare Gold Edition for only £19.99 or the complete Zombie Experiance for £67.49, at 50% off.

Sales are all over the place all year around but with 10% of your purchase going to the one of the many charities they support, please think about checking out the store and doing a little good with your games. They even have a bundle for mobile courtesy of Bandai Namco, featuring everything from Pac-man to Pac-man, with a little bit of Flight Control and Ridge Racer joining.

Hide Your Wallets – Steam Winter Sale Starts Today

It is that wonderful time of the year again, the time where you should hide your wallets and credit cards far away and preferable forget where they are until next year. The reason, Steam Winter Sale is starting today and it is that time where your risk buying hundreds of games because they are cheap and look interesting enough to be worth it.

There will also be a lot of high-profile games on sale as there is each year and while PayPal told us the date for the sale a while ago, we don’t know what actual games will be on sale yet. But there are only a few hours until we all find out.

This year as every year, Steam created a profile badge for the sale where you can collect trading cards in order to craft your badge and get an emoticon, background, or other in-game items. Usually, you’ll get one card for free each day for logging in and more for every 10 dollars you spend during the sale.

Are there any special deals you are hoping for? Some game you have been waiting to get? Or have you already spent all your money in advance to be out of the risk zone? Let us know in the comments.

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

Invalid Bitcoin Upgrade Causes Chaos

Relativity recent and certainly modern anonymous currency Bitcoin has somewhat botched an upgrade which has left many Bitcoin miners generating invalid data blocks.

This upgrade applies to a new rule which means that certain Bitcoin mining pools which do not validate their money, have been generating the aforementioned invalid data blocks. This could also mean that if a consumer is paying by certain client apps to for example a retailer, the payment in Bitcoins could therefore be invalid which means said shopkeeper has received similar to that of a counterfeit note.

According to the official Bitcoin website, if you are using a lightweight (SPV) wallet, a Bitcoin Core 0.9.4 or earlier or a web wallet, you would need to wait a quite staggering 30 confirmations more than normal. Of course if you are using a paper note with a historical face on the front, this problem does not affect you.

It also turns out that “around half the network hash rate was mining without fully validating blocks (called SPV mining), and built new blocks on top of that invalid block”. Without implementing validation, many large miners have lost over $50,000 dollars worth of income so far.

Bitcoin may well be the future but as a consumer, I as yet do not trust the anonymity or security of this currency. After all, in order to buy a Bitcoin, a consumer would need to pay using a form of payment which connects the individual. On paper, yes I know, Bitcoin has potential to expand, but until the finer details are ironed out, I think I will stick to physical forms of currency.

Image courtesy of slimbeleggen

Thank You Bitcoin for providing us with this information

 

Valve Restricts Steam Service Features to Users Who Don’t Spend At Least $5

If you’ve ever been bullied or targeted on Steam by spammers or phishers, then you might be excited to know that Valve has set some restrictions to its online service. Valve stated on their Support Page that they are adding this security measure to deal with the latter problems.

Therefore, if you would like to have full access to Steam as a new user or even as an old one who used the service only for Free-to-Play games, you need to spend some money to get the full features.

Valve says that if you add at least $5 on Steam Wallet it should get you access, regardless if you actually buy anything or not.

Other methods of unlocking your account(s) include purchasing games that are equal to at least $5, adding a Steam Wallet card to your Steam account or purchasing a Steam gift.

If you think that you can do something to get around this, you are out of luck. Valve says that activating a retail game, playing free demos, adding a non-Steam game, adding/playing trials, free-to-play games or activating promotional CD keys from GPU manufacturers (like the ones found on AMD cards) won’t get your features activated.

Now, moving to the thing that really matters. What is actually restricted? Well, the company seems to restrict pretty much every social communication in the service. You can’t add friends, open group chat, vote on Greenlight/Steam Reviews/Workshop, take part in the Steam Market or post often on Steam Discussions.

In addition to that, you can’t send anything to the Workshop, post in Workshop Discussions, access the Steam Web API, use the browser and mobile chat and on top of that, your Steam Profile will always have its level locked at 0.

Now the real kicker. Though Steam said a minimum of $5 (that is USD currency by the way), how will it work in other non-US regions? I’ll let you read their response below.

“If the Steam store isn’t in USD, we will track the purchase amount in USD by converting each purchase total made on Steam using daily exchange rates. Once you have made the equivalent of $5.00 USD or more in total Steam purchases, you will gain access to the restricted Steam features.”

So why do non-US countries have to pray for the US dollar to drop in value to not spend more than others? I mean, why not do this for all the currencies once you thought about adding the restriction? Let us know if you consider this fair or not in the comments below.

Android’s “Fake ID” Issue Could Allow Hackers to Steal Data from Millions of Devices

A security company by the name of Bluebox Security has been throwing warning out there in regards to a major flaw in Android operating systems that would potentially allow hackers to steal sensitive information from millions of devices without the user noticing it.

The company stated that the most affected users would be the ones owning an old Android handset that stopped receiving software updates. However, Android users should note that not all Android users are affected by the flaw at hand.

The “Fake ID” vulnerability, as Bluebox describes it, consists of the way the Android operating system processes the digital signature identities attached to apps from various vendors. The OS is said to be configured to automatically accept Adobe apps for example, or other vendors including the device management outfit 3LM. In addition, some apps bearing the latter vendor signatures can automatically plug into other apps in ways other apps cannot.

What is more worrying is that since Android 2.1, the Android package installer is said not to have properly checked the identity certificates, therefore apps claiming to come from trusted vendors could eventually end up being from another ‘vendor’.

“For example, an attacker can create a new digital identity certificate, forge a claim that the identity certificate was issued by Adobe Systems, and sign an application with a certificate chain that contains a malicious identity certificate and the Adobe Systems certificate. Upon installation, the Android package installer will not verify the claim of the malicious identity certificate, and create a package signature that contains… both certificates. This, in turn, tricks the certificate-checking code in the webview plugin manager (who explicitly checks the chain for the Adobe certificate) and allows the application to be granted the special webview plugin privilege given to Adobe Systems – leading to a sandbox escape and insertion of malicious code, in the form of a webview plugin, into other applications.” a Bluebox expert stated.

This way, hackers could have easily impersonate a 3LM signature and allow malware to take control of many devices, functions and apps, including Google Wallet features. Bluebox is stated to have notified Google of the security breach back in April.

However, up until now, Motorola is stated to have rolled out a patch for some of its devices. The experts say that there is no recorded breach of security using the above technique. Even so, a good practice is to only allow app installations from trusted sources and be weary of schemes that try to install specific ‘dodgy’ applications.

Thank you Gigaom for providing us with this information
Image courtesy of Gigaom

8 Million Concurrent Users on STEAM During Summer Sale

Recently STEAM has reached a new milestone, hitting over 8 million concurrent users during their Summer Sales. With the exact peak being 8.020,813, this was reached during their Summer Sale, Encore Day over the last weekend.

Last December was when STEAM broke the 7 million milestone with November 2012 marking their 6 million figure.

As a whole, STEAM has previously reported a rise to 75 million active users in January 2014 which was an increase from 65 million in October 2013. To put this growth into perspective, the 65 million user mark was reached by a 30% increase in only 12 months!

STEAM has firmly planted itself globally as an industry heavyweight, often being branded by it’s fans with with memes based around it’s sales, Gabe Newell, Half-Life 3 predictions and empty wallets. For those feeling the personal pain of an after-STEAM-Sale hangover, we’ll leave you with this video to ease your pain with a slight chuckle. Unfortunately for those who own and operate ‘conventional’ PC game stores, STEAMs growth can only be seen as a thorn in your side.

[youtube]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yr2GdRBDOmU[/youtube]

Image courtesy of Polygon

Titanfall Currently Free on Origin for 48 Hours

Steam Summer Sale has started and the craze has begun, drawing gamers and ‘wallets’ alike towards Steam’s Store for opportunities to buy everyone’s favourite game(s) or at least get a great deal for game(s). However, Electronic Arts has something up its sleeve to draw gamers away from Steam’s hypnotizing sale event.

The company has apparently added the Game Time, a feature which allows users to play game titles for a limited period time. Along with its latest addition, EA has made Titanfall free for everyone for a 48 hour timeframe. It is said that once the timer starts, it will start counting down even though you are not playing. Comparing the new promotion offer from EA with Steam, it looks and sounds somewhat similar to Steam’s Free Weekend offer.

“We’re launching Origin Game Time for Titanfall across the world over the next several hours, so if you don’t see it available yet in your territory, you will soon,” Electronic Arts stated on Origin’s blog. “Origin Game Time games will appear on our Free Games page when they’re available to download.”

Electronic Arts has also stated that this is just the beginning of Game Time, having more game titles in mind to add with Game Time. Also, achievements and progress for users who choose to play the 48h version can be carried over should users choose to buy the game at the end of the ‘preview’.

In addition to the new feature, the timing is also interesting, having Electronic Arts release the Game Time at the same time as the Steam Summer Sale. This move is without question an ‘offensive’ towards Steam’s deals and an attempt to ‘steal’ potential Steam clients and draw them towards EA’s Origin platform.

Thank you Eurogamer for providing us with this information

Dogevault Goes Offline – Millions of Dogecoins Appear Stolen

As far as cryptocurrencies go, Dogecoin has by far got to be the most popular one of recent times and it’s not surprising really considering it went viral after it was created in the spirit of the popular internet Doge meme.

News has come to light however that some people may have taken a liking to the currency a bit too much after the online wallet Dogevault reportedly went offline without any warning and some users are realising that large quantities of Doge were transferred out of their accounts just before the service went down.

Whether or not the Dogevault servers were hacked or whether the owners have shut up shop and made for the hills is still under investigations, but after some investigation in to where the coins have been transferred to, it seems like we could be looking at the biggest Dogecoin thefts in history. One user posted a shot of his wallet, showing that 950k coins were removed and after following the transaction path, they appear to have landed in this wallet, along with nearly 120 million more coins. Another wallet has been found as well that suggests the Dogevault owners are also responsible, with a balance of over 2.6 million coins itself.

What is certain though is that the coins sadly are not likely to be returned which turn may cost their rightful owners a lot of real hard cash. My suggestion though is that if you use an online wallet, get a desktop wallet that I personally feel is more secure, transfer all your coins there and make sure you keep it safe. A flash drive in a safe would be better suggestion even still.

Source: The Cryptocurrency Times

Dogecoin Expected To Bring ‘Real Money’ To Owners In The Near Future

Dogecoin is one of the most known cryptocurrency out there, after Bitcoin. It may be pretty easy to pick up some Dogecoin, but, until now, it’s been difficult to convert it into cash. On Wednesday, Canadian electronic currency exchange Vault of Satoshi announced that it will now support Dogecoin, making it far easier to convert the currency into U.S dollars.

Anyone interested in turning their dogecoins into government-backed currency with wider acceptance up until now had to make an individual deal with someone willing to trade for Bitcoin, which could then be exchanged for dollars, Euros, and outer currency. However, this intermediate step not only made the entire process significantly more onerous, but it also inserted an element of risk.

Reports are that Reddit r/DogecoinScamWatch moderator u/goodshibe explained how the majority of the scams posted on the forum involve people having their coins taken from them while trying to convert dollars into dogecoins, or vice versa.

‟Once … [Dogecoin] gets a direct USD/CAD conversion … in place, many of these kinds of scams will fall away,” u/goodshibe predicted.

This newfound ability to easily and safely convert Dogecoin into dollars could change the nature of how the currency is used. According to BitInfoCharts.com, dogecoins with the equivalent of $212,500,000 were said to have been traded over the past 24 hours. To give a sense of how ridiculous that transaction volume is, the total value of every dogecoin in existence is reported to be only around $60,300,000.

The generosity seems to be related to the fact that a single dogecoin is worth a tiny fraction of a penny, so handing out a few dogecoins takes only slightly more commitment. However, it’s likely also a function of there not being a whole lot of things someone could easily do with a wallet full of dogecoins other than hand them out just like that. Now that converting dogecoins into dollars is no more difficult than exchanging any other cryptocurrency, there’s the chance that the community surrounding Dogecoin may come to more closely resemble that of any other cryptocurrency

Thank you Mashable for providing us with this information

PayPal Support Added to PS3 PlayStation Store

PayPal payments were introduced to Sony Entertainment Network in January, but users previously would have been required to use a PC to transfer funds from PayPal to their Sony Entertainment Network accounts. Today, Sony introduced PayPal as a form of payment when adding funds to wallets on the PS3 PS Store, meaning users can top-up their accounts straight from their consoles.

“Adding funds to your Sony Entertainment Network wallet through PayPal is easy on PS3,” explains Sony. “When checking out from the cart on PlayStation Store, click ‘Add Funds’, then click ‘PayPal’ and transfer any amount from $5 to $150 (the maximum wallet balance amount). If you’re new to PayPal, you’ll have to set up a PayPal account first to use this option.”

There’s still a $5 – $150 cap on the amount you can add to your wallet, so users can’t exactly go on a shopping spree, but at least they now have even more flexibility to drain that checking account. Sony Entertainment Network wallet can be used to purchase games, add-ons, movies, TV episodes, and more from PlayStation Store.

You can find the official statement on Sony’s official blog. Sony is also ready to launch the new PlayStation 4 console on November 15 in US and November 29 in Europe and Latin America.

Thank you Endgadget and CVG for providing us with this information.