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Three Top Russian Cybercrime Forums Hacked

Slashdot - Thu, 04/03/2021 - 22:05
tsu doh nimh shares a report: Over the past few weeks, three of the longest running and most venerated Russian-language online forums serving thousands of experienced cybercriminals have been hacked. In two of the intrusions, the attackers made off with the forums' user databases, including email and Internet addresses and hashed passwords. Members of all three forums are worried the incidents could serve as a virtual Rosetta Stone for connecting the real-life identities of the same users across multiple crime forums. On Tuesday, someone dumped thousands of usernames, email addresses and obfuscated passwords on the dark web apparently pilfered from Mazafaka (a.k.a. "Maza," "MFclub"), an exclusive crime forum that has for more than a decade played host to some of the most experienced and infamous Russian cyberthieves. At the top of a 35-page PDF leaked online is a private encryption key allegedly used by Maza administrators. The database also includes ICQ numbers for many users. ICQ, also known as "I seek you," was an instant message platform trusted by countless early denizens of these older crime forums before its use fell out of fashion in favor of more private networks, such as Jabber and Telegram. This is notable because ICQ numbers tied to specific accounts often are a reliable data point that security researchers can use to connect multiple accounts to the same user across many forums and different nicknames over time. Cyber intelligence firm Intel 471 assesses that the leaked Maza database is legitimate.

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Categories: Geeky Stuff

Chrome Switches Its Release Cycle for First Time in a Decade

Slashdot - Thu, 04/03/2021 - 21:24
Google Chrome releases will soon arrive more frequently than ever. From a report:In an announcement today, Google said it is updating the Chrome release schedule for the first time in over a decade. For a cool 10+ years now, Chrome stable releases have shipped every 6 weeks with new features, security fixes, etc. With improvements to testing and release processes, Google has realized that it can shorten the release cycle and will do so in Q3 of this year. Starting with Chrome 94, Google will move to a 4-week milestone release cycle. Freaked out at the possibility that Google might break features, remove things you like, or cause other issues with so many releases? Don't worry, Google is also introducing an Extended Stable release that will see milestone updates every 8 weeks. Now, it will still get updates every 2 weeks to address "important issues," but none of the new features or all security fixes that the 4-week milestones see will be included.

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Categories: Geeky Stuff

Survival adventure The Eternal Cylinder is wonderfully, dazzlingly bizarre

Eurogamer - Thu, 04/03/2021 - 21:00

Do you ever have that dream where a giant metal rolling pin is rumbling across the world, destroying everything in its path? You know, the dream where you're a strange two-legged Spore creature which can change shape and gain abilities by inhaling other creatures through its trunk. The one with the red and purple alien planet, and the giant chattering teeth enemy, and the huge insect creatures. Oh, hang on a moment, it's not a dream! Silly me. It's a game: The Eternal Cylinder.

It's a game by Chilean developer Ace Team, which burst onto the scene with the strikingly surreal Zeno Clash in 2009 (and then Rock of Ages after). Remember that? The Eternal Cylinder is so similar! It's a kaleidoscopically colourful and bizarre world full of huge creatures a bit like snails and insects, and some I just have no idea what they're supposed to be. But here they are, in a world of big stone towers and beams of light, and strange planets in the background. And dominating everything: a terrifyingly massive metal cylinder that moves.

This is how you wake up in the game. You are a small two-legged creature with a trunk and a grand purpose, you're told, and the very second you come to life, you have to run from the cataclysmic cylinder rumbling behind you. We're talking about a horizon-spanning thing here, which destroys absolutely anything in its path. You, a relative flea to its massiveness, do not stand a chance. Eventually, however, it stops, and when it does, you can begin nosing around.

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Categories: Video Games

Most Life on Earth Will Be Killed by Lack of Oxygen in a Billion Years

Slashdot - Thu, 04/03/2021 - 20:45
One billion years from now, Earth's atmosphere will contain very little oxygen, making it uninhabitable for complex aerobic life. From a report: Today, oxygen makes up around 21 per cent of Earth's atmosphere. Its oxygen-rich nature is ideal for large and complex organisms, like humans, that require the gas to survive. But early in Earth's history, oxygen levels were much lower -- and they are likely to be low again in the distant future. Kazumi Ozaki at Toho University in Funabashi, Japan, and Chris Reinhard at the Georgia Institute of Technology in Atlanta modelled Earth's climatic, biological and geological systems to predict how atmospheric conditions on Earth will change. The researchers say that Earth's atmosphere will maintain high levels of oxygen for the next billion years before dramatically returning to low levels reminiscent of those that existed prior to what is known as the Great Oxidation Event of about 2.4 billion years ago. "We find that the Earth's oxygenated atmosphere will not be a permanent feature," says Ozaki. One central reason for the shift is that, as our sun ages, it will become hotter and release more energy. The researchers calculate that this will lead to a decrease in the amount of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere as CO2 absorbs heat and then breaks down. Ozaki and Reinhard estimate that in a billion years, carbon dioxide levels will become so low that photosynthesising organisms -- including plants -- will be unable to survive and produce oxygen. The mass extinction of these photosynthetic organisms will be the primary cause of the huge reduction in oxygen. "The drop in oxygen is very, very extreme -- we're talking around a million times less oxygen than there is today," says Reinhard.

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Categories: Geeky Stuff

Marvel's Avengers is increasing the grind required to level up in next update

Eurogamer - Thu, 04/03/2021 - 20:41

Developer Crystal Dynamics has announced it'll be making it harder to level up in Marvel's Avengers as part of the game's next update.

Writing on the Marvel's Avengers website, Crystal Dynamics explained the aim of its upcoming XP rework is to replace the "straight line" levelling system currently employed by the game with a levelling curve. This will result in players needing more XP to level up in-game from level 25 onward, with the amount increasing as the level 50 cap draws closer, meaning it'll take additional time to reach higher character levels.

While it's tempting to read the increased grind as a cynical attempt at keeping players embroiled in the Avengers' live service game for longer, Crystal Dynamics insists the goal is to fix pacing issues with the existing levelling system, arguing the speed the game currently awards skill points "may be confusing and overwhelming" to newer players. "We want each decision to invest in a skill or Heroic to be more meaningful", it writes.

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Categories: Video Games

EU Sets 2030 Target To Produce Cutting-Edge Semiconductors

Slashdot - Thu, 04/03/2021 - 20:05
The European Union is planning to produce its own advanced semiconductors by 2030, part of the bloc's plans to reduce "high-risk dependencies" on technology companies in the U.S. and Asia. From a report: Officials want to ensure that at least 20% of the world's cutting-edge semiconductors by value are produced in Europe by the end of the decade, according to a draft document obtained by Bloomberg. The document, which could still change, is due to be presented next week by the European Commission, the bloc's executive body. The EU has discussed potentially establishing a new foundry as part of a plan to boost semiconductor production in Europe, Bloomberg has reported previously. The EU wants to manufacture chips faster than the most efficient 5nm semiconductors made by industry leaders Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co. and Samsung Electronics. "A reduction in critical dependencies will enable the EU to become digitally sovereign and better able to assert European interests," the EU said in the document, which said its approach would seek to support "the open nature of the Internet." The so-called Digital Compass plan outlines the bloc's digital goals for the next decade. As part of that, it also aims to deploy 10,000 climate-neutral facilities to guarantee businesses have rapid access to data services, develop a computer with quantum acceleration by 2025 and cover populated areas in Europe with 5G by 2030. In addition, the EU said over the next decade it wants to double the number of unicorns, or companies with a valuation above $1 billion, by improving access to financing.

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Categories: Geeky Stuff

Senators Call on FCC To Quadruple Base High-Speed Internet Speeds

Slashdot - Thu, 04/03/2021 - 19:23
The federal government's definition of high-speed broadband has remained stagnant over the last six years, sitting at 25Mbps down and 3Mbps up since 2015. But faced with pandemic-fueled network loads and a new push for infrastructure spending, lawmakers are getting ready to upgrade that definition. In a letter to government leaders Thursday, a bipartisan group of senators called for a quadrupling of base high-speed broadband delivery speeds making 100Mbps down and 100Mbps up the new base for high-speed broadband. From a report: "Going forward, we should make every effort to spend limited federal dollars on broadband networks capable of providing sufficient download and upload speeds and quality," Sens. Michael Bennet (D-CO), Joe Manchin (D-WV), Angus King (I-ME), and Rob Portman (R-OH) wrote to the FCC and other agencies. "There is no reason federal funding to rural areas should not support the type of speeds used by households in typical well-served urban and suburban areas." The letter calls on the FCC and other agencies to change their definitions of "high speed broadband" to anything above 100Mbps down and 100Mbps up -- a shift that would prohibit the FCC from identifying an area as being served with broadband unless it met those speed criteria. It's a complete change of pace from the FCC under former Chairman Ajit Pai's leadership, which established the previous 25 / 3Mbps standard.

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Categories: Geeky Stuff

Apple Faces EU Antitrust Charge on Spotify Complaint

Slashdot - Thu, 04/03/2021 - 18:45
Apple could face an EU antitrust charge sheet in the coming weeks following a 2019 complaint by music streaming service Spotify, Reuters reported Thursday, citing people familiar with the matter. From the report: The charge could force changes to Apple's lucrative business model, they said. The European Commission could send the statement of objections setting out suspected violations of the bloc's antitrust rules to Apple before the summer, one of the people said. The case is one of four opened by the EU competition enforcer into Apple in June last year. The EU charge sheet usually indicates whether a fine is merited and what companies have to do to halt anti-competitive practices.

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Categories: Geeky Stuff

Call of Duty: Warzone players create their own nuke out of vehicles

Eurogamer - Thu, 04/03/2021 - 18:40

Call of Duty: Warzone has been teasing a nuclear explosion for quite a while now, and although rumours are once again swirling that the destruction of Verdansk is imminent, it seems some players decided to take things into their own hands: by making their very own bomb out of cars. And yes, it did break the server, what did you expect?

The experiment was conducted by streamer MarleyThirteen, who enlisted 149 followers to join him in a Warzone game to create the "biggest explosion Verdansk has ever seen" (thanks, VGC). The players agreed on a ceasefire and were tasked with finding as many vehicles as possible, with MarleyThirteen's team picking up recon contracts to show upcoming rings and the location of "ground zero". Players were also told to pick up as much cash as possible - and use all that money to buy a bunch of cluster strikes.

The group didn't exactly get it right the first time, or even the second: on the first attempt one player accidentally used their cluster strike too early, while on the second players drove into the vehicle pile so fast that it caused damage and mini-explosions, creating a chain reaction instead of one big fireball. Third time's the charm, as they say, and with some careful driving and queuing under MarleyThirteen's direction, the group managed to get their desired explosion. Unsurprisingly, it crashed the server, as the game was unable to process all those cluster strikes and burning vehicles.

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Categories: Video Games

A look at how big budget game developers outsource crunch

Eurogamer - Thu, 04/03/2021 - 18:31

When Cyberpunk 2077 developer CD Projekt Red promised none of its employees would have to work overtime to get the game done, did this also apply to the many developers working on parts of the game at its support studios?

As far as Cyberpunk is confirmed, well, that point is now all moot. But it's an interesting question, and as pretty much every big budget game employs support studios, it's a topic well worth exploring.

This month, Chris Bratt (who?) does just that in the latest video from the Patreon-funded People Make Games. In it, we hear from young developers working unpaid overtime on numerous big AAA projects, in support studios based in Malaysia and Indonesia.

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Categories: Video Games

There are Moa Burger Pringles and now I'm convinced moas are in Halo Infinite

Eurogamer - Thu, 04/03/2021 - 18:14

I never thought I'd see this: Moa Burger Pringles.

These limited edition Pringles, sold exclusively in Walmart (so we don't have to suffer them on these shores) riffs on a Halo: Reach in-joke - and a rather niche one at that.

OK, some background. In the world of Halo, the moa is an ostrich-looking creature native to the planet Reach. So the lore goes, moas were used as pets and also food. They're sort of like Halo's version of the chocobo from Final Fantasy.

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Categories: Video Games

African Researchers Use Gene Editing and Other Tools To Breed Heartier Livestock

Slashdot - Thu, 04/03/2021 - 18:10
wooloohoo shares a report: Livestock researchers in Africa are looking to genome editing and other new technologies to identify genes that could help them tame the spread of a parasite that spreads sleeping sickness in animals and humans. In addition to work aimed at eradicating African trypanosomiasis, scientists at the International Livestock Research Institute (ILRI) in Nairobi are using gene editing to introduce such desirable traits as heat tolerance and disease resistance into cattle and chickens, said Prof. Steve Kemp, program leader in livestock genetics at ILRI. However, he said the effort is still at the preliminary research stage. African animal trypanosomiasis is a parasitic disease that causes serious livestock losses due to anemia and lower reproduction rates, according to the Center for Food Security and Public Health. Losses in cattle are especially prominent, though other animals, including dogs, can also be affected. Untreated cases can be fatal, and the mortality rate is high in some outbreaks. "Eradicating African animal trypanosomiasis is extremely important as we estimate that Africa loses US$1 billion annually due to human and livestock diseases," Kemp said. The people keeping livestock have experienced huge losses due to animal diseases, said Abdikadir Mohamed, chief executive officer of the Kenya Livestock Marketing Council (KLMC). "This leads to people getting poorer. Some sickly animals are rejected during market days, yet they come from far to sell the livestock. There is also a security threat as herders go back with their livestock. We need to stop these persistent diseases by available technologies."

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

Categories: Geeky Stuff

Elite Dangerous' Odyssey expansion opens playable PC alpha later this month

Eurogamer - Thu, 04/03/2021 - 18:00

Elite Dangerous: Odyssey, the new on-foot-focussed expansion for developer Frontier's long-running space sim, will be opening its doors to the paying public on 29th March, when its playable alpha gets underway for Commanders on PC.

Players wishing to take part in the alpha will need to have pre-ordered Elite Dangerous: Odyssey's Deluxe Alpha edition, priced at £39.99 - which is £10 more than the standard edition if you're wondering how much you'll be paying for the privilege (and an OST).

To accompany the news, Frontier has released a new trailer showing off gameplay from the alpha build of Odyssey. Here, three players team up to complete an on-foot raid of a military outpost in order to disable its power and hinder the opposing faction.

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Categories: Video Games

Smash Bros. Ultimate's latest new characters arrive tomorrow

Eurogamer - Thu, 04/03/2021 - 17:42

Pyra and Mythra, the latest characters to join Super Smash Bros. Ultimate, will become available in-game tomorrow here in the UK.

You can swap between the Xenoblade Chronicles 2 duo at any point during battle, as detailed this afternoon in a deep dive on their mechanics presented by Smash Bros. boss Masahiro Sakurai.

In short, Pyra's focus is power while Mythra favours speed. Pick the right fighter for the job!

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Categories: Video Games

UK Competition Watchdog Investigates Apple's App Store

Slashdot - Thu, 04/03/2021 - 17:23
U.K. authorities have launched an investigation into Apple's App Store over concerns it has a dominant role that stifles competition and hurts consumers. From a report: The Competition and Markets Authority said Thursday it was looking into "suspected breaches of competition law" by Apple. The announcement adds to regulatory scrutiny of the iPhone maker's app distribution platform, which is also the subject of three antitrust probes by the European Union's executive Commission. Apple said the App Store is "a safe and trusted place for customers" and a "great business opportunity for developers." The investigation was triggered in part by complaints from app developers that Apple will only let them distribute their apps to iPhone and iPad users through the App Store. The developers also complained that the company requires any purchases of apps, add-ons or upgrades to be made through its Apple Pay system, which charges up to 30% commission. "Millions of us use apps every day to check the weather, play a game or order a takeaway," Andrea Coscelli, the authority's CEO, said in a statement. "So, complaints that Apple is using its market position to set terms which are unfair or may restrict competition and choice -- potentially causing customers to lose out when buying and using apps -- warrant careful scrutiny." The watchdog said it would consider whether Apple has a "dominant position" in app distribution for Apple devices in the U.K., and, if it does, whether the company "imposes unfair or anti-competitive terms on developers" that results in less choice or higher prices for consumers buying apps and extra.

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Categories: Geeky Stuff

Square To Buy Jay-Z's Music Service Tidal

Slashdot - Thu, 04/03/2021 - 16:00
Square has agreed to buy a majority stake in Tidal, the streaming music service led by rapper Jay-Z, as part of an effort to expand the company's suite of financial tools to musicians and emerging artists. From a report: Square will pay $297 million in a mix of cash and stock to become Tidal's "significant majority" owner, though Jay-Z and Tidal's other existing artist-shareholders will retain some ownership in the company. Tidal will operate independently within Square, according to a company release, and Jay-Z will join Square's board of directors. "New ideas are found at intersections, and we believe there's a compelling one between music and the economy," Square Chief Executive Officer Jack Dorsey said in a prepared statement. Bloomberg News previously reported that Dorsey and Jay-Z, who are friends, had discussed a potential deal. It's not immediately clear how Square will help Tidal build its business, but there is a lot of overlap between the music industry and Square's existing market, which includes payments and commerce, says Jesse Dorogusker, the Square executive who will serve as interim leader of Tidal inside its new parent company.

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

Categories: Geeky Stuff

World Book Day 2021: Eurogamer's reading recommendations

Eurogamer - Thu, 04/03/2021 - 15:00

It's World Book Day! And while we mainly do our work via video games, we're relatively sure that most of the staff can read. Probably? Actually, maybe best not to ask. Still, we know at least some of them can, as we amassed a whole range of recommendations on what the Eurogamer crew is reading outside of work.

If you're looking for new reading material and hoping for something superb to bookend your weekends, we've got some advice on where to begin. Or head to the page we put together on Jelly Deals for everything you need to know on how to make the most of World Book Day!

I'm now one of those people converted by Chris Donlan into recommending Skyfaring to anyone. Written by veteran British Airways pilot Mark Vanhoenacker, this book offers an experienced, inquisitive and infectiously romantic view of the wonders of flight - and it's one I frequently find myself dipping back into while stuck at home and on the ground.

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Categories: Video Games

SpaceX Launches 60 New Starlink Satellites

Slashdot - Thu, 04/03/2021 - 14:48
SpaceX has launched another batch of its Starlink satellites -- the usual complement of 60 of the low Earth orbit spacecraft, which will join the more than 1,000 already making up the existing constellation. This is the fifth launch of Starlink satellites for SpaceX this year, and the 20th overall. From a report: Earlier this year, SpaceX opened up Starlink access to anyone in a current or planned service area via a pre-order reservation system with a refundable up-front deposit. The company aims to continue launches like this one apace throughout 2021 in order to get the constellation to the point where it can serve customers over a much larger portion of the globe. SpaceX COO and President Gwynne Shotwell has previously said that the company expects it should have coverage over much of the globe at a constellation size of around 1,200 satellites, but the company has plans to launch more than 30,000 to fully build out its network capacity and speed. While SpaceX is making good progress on Starlink with its Falcon 9 launcher, it's also looking ahead to Starship as a key driver of the constellation's growth. Starship, SpaceX's next-generation launch vehicle currently under development in South Texas, will be able to deliver 400 Starlink satellites at a time to orbit, and it's also being designed with full reusability and fast turnaround in mind.

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

Categories: Geeky Stuff

Wasteland 3 is getting permadeath

Eurogamer - Thu, 04/03/2021 - 14:11

Wasteland 3 is getting permadeath as part of a new update coming soon.

Patch 1.3.3, titled Death & Taxes, adds permadeath mode as well as an optional difficult skill checks mode, respeccing, new character customisation items, and a raft of improvements and fixes.

Wasteland 3's permadeath works as you imagine it should: when activated at a game's start, your characters will die good and proper when their health reaches zero.

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Categories: Video Games

Valheim's Body Recovery Squad will help get your items back

Eurogamer - Thu, 04/03/2021 - 14:09

Earlier this week, I was involved in an all-too-familiar Valheim tragedy: after sailing too close to the shoreline, I was pursued by a rather large insect and nibbled to death, leaving my tombstone (and all my precious belongings) stranded in a distant land. What followed was a high-risk naked rescue mission that only just succeeded, but it turns out there was a far easier way I could have solved this: by enlisting the help of Valheim's very own Body Recovery Squad.

The BRS is a group of Valheim players dedicated to helping others recover their items, no matter where the tombstone is stranded - and they do it all for free. Players in need of assistance can head over to the community's Discord server, join a channel called #assistance-application, and hit an "SOS" button which changes their Discord role and allows them to request help in the channel. At this point one of the team members (known as operators) will get in contact with the client, organise to join their server, and a bunch of burly Vikings will set sail to help them recover their gear.

It all sounded like a fantastic community effort, so I got in touch with BRS founder and leader Lucas (known as Rim Jaynor) to ask him more about the process. In the real world, Lucas is a mechanic who lives in northern British Columbia, but he decided to establish the BRS after he and his friend had a brush with a deathsquito. "We were lucky that we had a portal close by and another friend who wasn't with us," he explained. "For us it was a quick run back through the portal to grab our stuff. In the discussion of the events it came up - 'you know, what if we weren't that lucky? We'd be back in the Stone Age!'"

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Categories: Video Games
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