posted 9 days ago on ars technica
Sean MacEntee/Flickr A Georgia man agreed to plead guilty to federal racketeering charges associated with the so-called Carder.su criminal enterprise that trafficked and manufactured stolen and counterfeit credit cards resulting in $50 million in losses globally. The defendant, Cameron Harrison (also known as "Kilobit"), was not offered a plea deal but faces years behind bars when sentenced later this year in a Las Vegas federal court, according to court records unveiled Wednesday. As many as 55 members of the Carder.su group have been charged in the nation's first case in which old-school racketeering laws were invoked against a cybercrime group. Eight others have pleaded guilty. Trial awaits some of them and many remain at large. Read 3 remaining paragraphs | Comments

Read More...
posted 9 days ago on ars technica
The nondescript meeting room in which Steve Jobs, Greg Christie, and others discussed the first iPhone prototypes. Apple via the WSJ The Wall Street Journal is reporting that Apple's Greg Christie, head of the iOS human interface team and one of the earliest employees to work on the original iPhone, will be retiring from the company after 18 years. Christie's former team, which currently reports to software engineering SVP Craig Federighi, will begin reporting to design chief Jony Ive instead. Christie originally joined Apple in 1996 to work on the Newton, an ill-fated early digital assistant infamous for its bulk and wonky handwriting recognition. While higher-profile execs like Ive and Federighi get much of the credit for Apple's software design, Christie's role has been made clearer in recent interviews and in testimony from Apple's ongoing patent trial with Samsung. According to one interview with the Wall Street Journal, Christie was recruited for the iPhone project by Scott Forstall in late 2004. He would then go on to invent fundamental features of the operating system, including the "slide to unlock" gesture that has been a staple on the iPhone lock screen since its inception. Christie also kept Steve Jobs appraised of the iPhone's progress in secret, twice-monthly meetings in an unassuming conference room in Apple's Cupertino headquarters. 9to5Mac originally broke the news this morning, and its anonymous sources allege that Christie's departure was due to friction with Ive. The two supposedly "clashed over design direction" during the development of iOS 7, and Ive later "circumvented Christie's leadership of the team" while redesigning the operating system. Read 4 remaining paragraphs | Comments

Read More...
posted 9 days ago on ars technica
New flavors of Athlon and Sempron promise top power draws of 25W and enough power to play modern games in 1080p. No promises of a free pony, however. Roughly one month after its announcement, AMD's AM1 chipset launched internationally today, promising an all-in-one desktop computing solution that combines CPU and GPU with low wattage, low cost, and (relatively) high performance. Today's launch comes in four flavors, ranging from the $34, dual-core Sempron 2650 to the $59, quad-core Athlon 5350. AMD's announcement included performance charts that compared its highest-end AM1 offering to the Pentium J2900, a chipset whose clock rate actually runs roughly 400 MHz higher. Even so, the 5350 won handily in a number of categories, particularly 1080p gaming framerates that more than doubled the tested Pentium. (How the 2650, advertised as a $59 total cost with a motherboard, fared compared to similar offerings was left unannounced, however.) Tom's Hardware opted for a more equitable head-to-head, pitting the 5350 against the similarly clocked Pentium J1900, and the test results bore out as AMD advertised. The major exception was that the 5350 ticked up to 13W higher in energy draw in extreme situations, but otherwise, benchmarks went almost unanimously in AMD's favor. Short version: efficient Photoshop and playable, 1080p Dota 2, yes; Battlefield 4 in any flavor, not so much. Read 1 remaining paragraphs | Comments

Read More...
posted 9 days ago on ars technica
LAS VEGAS—Here on the show floor of the National Association of Broadcasters (NAB) conference, there’s an awful lot of equipment that is beyond the purchasing power of most average individuals. That is to say, most people will wait for their company to invest in that $16,000 Codex ARRIRAW digital recorder that’s being demoed at NAB rather than save up to buy it themselves. But a number of products at NAB dance the line between professional-grade video cameras and cameras you might buy for a side project you’re particularly dedicated to. Below are some of the cool new things we saw on the show floor. Accessorizing your POV shot Sony's Action Cam has been taking shots at GoPro for a while now, and while GoPro is still the first name many people think of when they think of point-of-view (POV) video, the Action Cam has also received a lot of attention on the show floor this week. Perhaps a lot of the hype comes from Sony's latest Action Cam accessory, the Live View Remote wristwatch. Read 13 remaining paragraphs | Comments

Read More...
posted 9 days ago on ars technica
Screenshots from Dropbox's new photo syncing app, Carousel. Dropbox Dropbox announced a handful of expansions for its business Wednesday, including Dropbox for Business service, updated versions of its Mailbox app, and a new photo syncing service. Last but not least, the company is adding a pro-wiretap board member. The photo syncing service, Carousel, is a formalization of what used to be a Dropbox feature: the app could automatically sync photos taken from your phone to your Dropbox, making them available on all platforms (and, for some of us, adding significantly clutter to your Dropbox). Carousel itself is now a standalone app that syncs both photos and videos, but it's still supported on the back end by your Dropbox space; therefore its functionality is limited to the size of your Dropbox. Dropbox also formally introduced the ability to connect Dropbox for Business accounts with personal ones. Dropbox for Business service has been in beta for a few months, and it gives companies features like the ability to administrate or remote-wipe content. Now Dropbox for Business accounts can be linked to personal ones so all the content can be accessed from the same apps. Read 2 remaining paragraphs | Comments

Read More...
posted 9 days ago on ars technica
SimonQ/Flickr When does an online threat become worthy of criminal prosecution? The Supreme Court is being asked to decide that unanswered question as prosecutions for online rants, from Facebook to YouTube, are becoming commonplace. Authorities are routinely applying an old-world 1932 statute concerning extortion to today's online world, where words don't always mean what they seem. The latest case involving the legal parameters of online speech before the justices concerns a Pennsylvania man sentenced to 50 months in prison after being convicted on four counts of the interstate communication of threats. Defendant Anthony Elonis' 2010 Facebook rant concerned attacks on an elementary school, his estranged wife, and even law enforcement. Read 15 remaining paragraphs | Comments

Read More...
posted 9 days ago on ars technica
Aurich Lawson / Thinkstock There’s good news, bad news, and worse news regarding the “Heartbleed” bug that affected nearly two-thirds of the Internet’s servers dependent on SSL encryption. The good news is that many of those servers (well, about a third) have already been patched. And according to analysis by Robert Graham of Errata Security, the bug won’t expose the private encryption key for servers “in most software" (though others have said several web server distributions are vulnerable to giving up the key under certain circumstances.) The bad news is that about 600,000 servers are still vulnerable to attacks exploiting the bug. The worse news is that malicious “bot” software may have been attacking servers with the vulnerability for some time—in at least one case, traces of the attack have been found in audit logs dating back to last November. Attacks based on the exploit could date back even further. Security expert Bruce Schneier calls Heartbleed a catastrophic vulnerability. "On the scale of 1 to 10, this is an 11," he said in a blog post today. The bug affects how OpenSSL, the most widely used cryptographic library for Apache and nginx Web servers, handles a service of Transport Layer Security called Heartbeat—an extension added to TLS in 2012. Read 9 remaining paragraphs | Comments

Read More...
posted 9 days ago on ars technica
Comcast Executive VP David Cohen. Comcast Comcast was named the "Worst Company in America" in a Consumerist poll yesterday, and the cable giant knows it has room for improvement. While the nation's largest cable and broadband provider hasn't fared quite so poorly in some other rankings, Comcast Executive VP David Cohen told the Senate Judiciary Committee today that "it bothers us that we have so much trouble delivering a really high quality service level to customers on a consistent basis. It is not something we're ignoring." "We have spent billions of dollars over the last five years improving our networks to try to make them more reliable," he said. Comcast has also improved training of call center employees and increased reliability in getting to customer homes within one- and two-hour appointment windows. Read 4 remaining paragraphs | Comments

Read More...
posted 9 days ago on ars technica
City Year Comcast has repeatedly said the biggest reason US regulators should approve its $45.2 billion purchase of Time Warner Cable (TWC) is that the two companies do not compete against each other. While Comcast has more than 21 million customers and TWC has more than 11 million, there isn't a single city or town in America in which the two companies both offer video and Internet services. At a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing today, Sen. Al Franken (D-MN) said that Comcast made a very different argument in order to secure approval of its 2011 purchase of NBCUniversal. During a hearing in 2010, Comcast argued that competition from Time Warner would prevent it from taking unfair advantage of increased ownership of television content. Franken said: Comcast has argued that there's nothing to worry about here because it doesn't compete with Time Warner Cable in any ZIP code… When Comcast wanted to acquire NBCUniversal, Comcast's CEO told this committee not to worry about it because there were still other robust distributors, and he specifically named Time Warner Cable, which would prevent Comcast from setting anti-competitive prices for Comcast content. The point was that Comcast couldn't get away with that sort of behavior because distributors including Time Warner Cable wouldn't stand for it, and they could go to the FCC and complain about it, too. Later in the hearing, Comcast's CEO also told us, 'We are not getting any larger in cable distribution here.' Well, if this deal goes through, Comcast will become larger in cable distribution, and if this deal goes through, Comcast never again will have to negotiate with Time Warner Cable when it comes to setting prices for NBC content. And NBC content, everyone should remember, is 20-some networks. Comcast can't have it both ways. It can't say that the existence of competition among distributors including Time Warner Cable was a reason to approve the NBC deal in 2010 and then turn around a few years later and say that the absence of competition with Time Warner Cable is a reason to approve this deal. According to a transcript of that February 2010 hearing, Comcast CEO Brian Roberts was asked by Sen. Herb Kohl (D-WI), "Won't Comcast have the incentive to raise its rivals' costs by raising the cost of NBC programming if this merger is completed?" Read 29 remaining paragraphs | Comments

Read More...
posted 9 days ago on ars technica
DNA robots crawl across a surface made of DNA. Harvard DNA-based nanotechnology has been around for more than 30 years, but it really took off in 2006, when DNA origami was featured on the cover of Nature. This form of origami, the folding of DNA into 2D and 3D shapes, was more of an art form back then, but scientists are now using the approach to construct nanoscale robots. The basic principle of DNA origami is that a long, single-stranded DNA molecule will fold into a predefined shape through the base-pairing of short segments called staples. All that’s required is to ensure that each staple can find a complementary match to base-pair with at the right location elsewhere in the molecule. This approach can be used to create both 2D and 3D structures. The idea behind the new work is that a DNA origami robot can be programmed to have a specific function based on a key, which can be a protein, a drug, or even another robot. Once the right key and the right robot find each other, the key drives a conformational (structural) change in the robot. The new shape causes the robot to perform a programmed function, such as releasing a drug. Read 7 remaining paragraphs | Comments

Read More...
posted 9 days ago on ars technica
This kind of setting looks very different when you're not a fully decked-out soldier. The teaser video for This War Of Mine begins with soldiers running through an urban landscape. It’s a deliberate misdirection. This is a game about war, but not about soldiers. It’s not about fighting a war; it's about surviving one—as a civilian. Using soldiers as protagonists inherently limits the ways video games can discuss the horrors of war. Sure, games like Spec Ops: The Line feature morally questionable decisions, but those decisions are forced on players through the story, sparing the player real culpability and reducing the moral questions to pure horror. It's harder to imagine a game that allows soldier-players to deliberately choose to commit war atrocities. Games like the canceled Six Days in Fallujah, which tried to base in-game events on real battles, are already shouted down by critics as disrespectful. This War Of Mine skirts these obstacles by dropping the soldier protagonists and instead puts the player in control of a group of civilians trying to survive an urban conflict in a fictional war based on real-life accounts. To capture what war is like from a civilian perspective, developer 11 Bit Studios, based out of Warsaw, Poland, is researching everything from YouTube videos and interviews on Amnesty International to books about the Kosovo War in the late '90s. Read 12 remaining paragraphs | Comments

Read More...
posted 9 days ago on ars technica
A whitehat hacker from the Baltimore suburbs went too far in his effort to drive home a point about a security vulnerability he reported to a client. Now he’s unemployed and telling all on reddit. David Helkowski was working for Canton Group, a Baltimore-based software consulting firm on a project for the University of Maryland (UMD), when he claims he found malware on the university’s servers that could be used to gain access to personal data of students and faculty. But he says his employer and the university failed to take action on the report, and the vulnerability remained in place even after a data breach exposed more than 300,000 students’ and former students’ Social Security numbers. As Helkowski said to a co-worker in Steam chat, “I got tired of being ignored, so I forced their hand.” He penetrated the university’s network from home, working over multiple VPNs, and downloaded the personal data of members of the university’s security task force. He then posted the data to Pastebin and e-mailed the members of the task force anonymously on March 15. Read 6 remaining paragraphs | Comments

Read More...
posted 9 days ago on ars technica
Damages experts from Apple laid out the specifics of their massive demands against Samsung in an ongoing patent trial yesterday in San Jose. Apple wants the jury to award it a total of $2.19 billion for Samsung's alleged infringement of five patents that Apple says represent key user interface features on the Apple iPhone. The number is about 10 percent more than the $2 billion figure told to the jury during opening statements.  Apple has now made the bulk of its case against Samsung in its second major patent trial, which began on April 1. It's the second big jury trial between the two leading smartphone makers. In the trials, Apple has accused Samsung of copying the designs and features of its phones. PC World has details about the damages data shown to the jury yesterday. Surveys conducted by Apple's damages expert asked a series of questions to Samsung smartphone owners about what features they'd pay for on a hypothetical $149 phone. The study found they would pay an additional $102 for automatic word correction and $69 extra for "contextual links." Read 5 remaining paragraphs | Comments

Read More...
posted 9 days ago on ars technica
One of the controller layouts used to thwart Tetris players and find other links to game-related aggression. I get angry just looking at it. A team of researchers from the University of Rochester has published a study about video game players' feelings of aggression, but unlike other similar studies, its focus wasn't on violence but on competency. Published in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, the study explored the ideas of the General Aggression Model—that exposure to violent media can snowball into aggressive behavior—and then asked whether the interactive nature of games truly fits the model. From there, the paper posited a lot of game-design questions, with discussions about learning curves, "hardcore" players, and even "rage-quitting" before declaring that "to date, the structural and motivational aspects of gaming have not been explored as a source of player aggression." Thus, the team set out to explore whether difficulty and inaccessibility in games leads to more aggressive behavior than an M rating on the box. To make that point, many of the studies involved hacked and modded versions of games. In one of the seven tests, players joined deathmatch games of Half-Life 2; in one of the versions, players could "maim and dispatch the opponents, leaving them spewing blood," while the other version used non-lethal "tag" attacks to make opponents disappear. Other than that superficial difference, the gameplay was identical, and the difference in resulting aggression was minimal. (Players who had been introduced to the deathmatch with a customized tutorial, conversely, came away less aggressively from their sessions.) Read 3 remaining paragraphs | Comments

Read More...
posted 9 days ago on ars technica
Distribution of the Windows 8.1 Update, Microsoft's hefty patch for Windows 8.1 that updates the user interface for desktop and mouse users, has been temporarily suspended for some enterprise users after the company discovered that patched systems are no longer able to receive future updates from Windows Server Update Services (WSUS) servers. The problem occurs when clients connect to WSUS with HTTPS enabled, but without TLS 1.2. Windows 8.1 machines with the KB 2919355 update installed will no longer be able to receive future updates from those servers. Microsoft describes it primarily as an issue for WSUS 3.0 Service Pack 2, also known as WSUS 3.2, when run on Windows Server 2003, 2003 R2, 2008, and 2008 R2; this version does not have HTTPS or TLS 1.2 enabled by default, but HTTPS is part of the recommended configuration. WSUS 4 on Windows Server 2012 and 2012 R2 is also technically affected, as the bug is client-side, but Windows Server enables TLS 1.2 by default, so issues are unlikely to arise in practice. Read 2 remaining paragraphs | Comments

Read More...
posted 9 days ago on ars technica
Chinese soldiers in Beijing. Photo by Luther Bailey Are cyberattacks, security breaches, and mounting distrust between the US and Chinese governments ushering in a new Cold War era? Given US officials’ rhetoric and actions in recent months, it might appear that such a sustained state of political and military tensions between the two superpowers is a serious threat. A number of events have likely precipitated Cold War fears. The disclosures by National Security Agency whistleblower Edward Snowden of dragnet government surveillance, including a revelation that the US has infiltrated the networks of China-based telecommunications company Huawei, have understandably upset the Chinese. Additionally, the increasing number of cyberattacks and security breaches in both the US and China appear to have strained relations. And considering the “mounting tensions over China’s expanding claims of control over what it argues are exclusive territories in the East and South China Seas, and over a new air defense zone,” diplomatic relations between the two countries appear further strained, according to a report from The New York Times. Read 9 remaining paragraphs | Comments

Read More...
posted 9 days ago on ars technica
The Gear 2's various bits and pieces. iFixit We weren't the biggest fans of Samsung's first Galaxy Gear, but however you feel about it (and the wearable computing phenomenon in general), it's clear that Samsung is willing to iterate quickly to fix the watch's biggest problems. That's the thinking behind the Tizen-powered Gear 2 smartwatches the company announced at Mobile World Congress in February—they trailed the original Gear by just a few months, but they aim to fix some of the watch's biggest problems. The way the watches work will ultimately be more important than what's inside them, but iFixit's thorough teardown gives us some insight into what makes them tick. As advertised, the camera has been moved from the band of the watch to the body, and this makes the band easy to replace without the need for any screwdrivers or other tools. Surprisingly, the rest of the watch isn't that easy to take apart, either. Four small Torx screws hold the back of the watch to the rest of it, and once you're inside you'll be able to remove the 300 mAh battery easily—it even has a pull tab. While this is probably the only internal component you'd actually need to replace over the useful life of a watch like this, iFixit was able to remove the camera, main system board, speaker, and the rest of the internal components with tweezers and spudgers—there isn't a lot of glue or specialty screws holding this thing together, which is odd for a product as small and tightly integrated as this one. Read 1 remaining paragraphs | Comments

Read More...
posted 9 days ago on ars technica
After twelve and a half years, the curtain fell on Windows XP yesterday: the aged operating system transitioned out of extended support and into a long, dark, unsupported and unpatched twilight. Bespoke patches will still be made for those customers willing to pay enough money—mainly governments and large corporations with significant Windows XP installed bases—but for most of the world, XP is now officially a dead operating system. Windows XP wasn't the only thing to be shuffled into unsupported purgatory yesterday, though. Also included in the group of applications to be dumped down the memory hole is the browser that everyone loves to hate: Internet Explorer 6. For all its terribleness now, IE6 accomplished a pretty stunning set of achievements. It's the browser that definitively killed Netscape Navigator and ended the first great "Web Browser War." At its height, IE6 was the browser of choice for ninety percent of the Web's users. Its crushing market dominance also ensured that businesses used it internally as well as externally, developing ActiveX-based Web applications for it and further perpetuating Microsoft's ecosystem lock-in. Read 4 remaining paragraphs | Comments

Read More...
posted 9 days ago on ars technica
Los Alamos National Lab As recent disclosures have reminded us, security is not a simple matter. Most will tell you that the weak link in the chain is us: we simply don't use good security habits. But we're only one part of a number of issues. Although passwords are weaker than they should be, a strong password used on a weak system won't be much help. There is still a lot of necessary work being done to ensure that communication between parties is strongly encrypted. One option that has received waves of attention over the last ten years is quantum key distribution (QKD). Despite its promise of absolute security, QKD has many practical difficulties that have limited it to niche applications. Now, in a nice bit of work, researchers have shown how to implement QKD for handheld devices. A quick recap of QKD Light has a property called polarization, which is measured with respect to a reference frame. So, for instance, horizontally polarized light has its electric field aligned with the ground, while vertically polarized light has its electric field aligned perpendicular to the ground. In between, we can have diagonal and anti-diagonal polarized light. Read 13 remaining paragraphs | Comments

Read More...
posted 9 days ago on ars technica
Many gamers who invested in the latest consoles last year are no doubt waiting for a truly next-generation Borderlands title to show off the new hardware. Unfortunately, 2K Games has announced that the next game in the series, the oddly titled Borderlands: The Pre-Sequel, will not be on the latest generation of consoles when it launches this fall. Speaking to Eurogamer at a preview event for the game, Gearbox's Randy Pitchford said the decision to limit the game to PC, Xbox 360, and PS3 was purely based on the higher number of potential players on those platforms. It's not free to build a game for next-gen. So when we decide where to spend our resources, we want to spend all of the attention we can on the game itself. If you try to image the set of Borderlands players who have already upgraded, that's not 100 percent. But if you try to image the set of Xbox One or PS4 owners who do not have an Xbox 360 or a PS3, the difference there is so close to nil you can't make a business rationalization around that... I don't think I would have to stretch far to suggest there's probably a lot of demand for more Borderlands. That demand lives on the Xbox 360, PS3, and PC. We don't know to what extent it'll live on the next-gen. I imagine over time—maybe by the time we get to the third or fourth Christmas—there will be enough of an install base. Currently there is, between PS3 and Xbox 360, over 150 million installed units worldwide—probably 170 million is more realistic. There are fewer Xbox Ones and PS4s than we sold copies of Borderlands 2. Taking place between the events of Borderlands and Borderlands 2, Pre-Sequel follows four new playable characters—including fan favorite mini-robot Claptrap(!)—that fight alongside former antagonist Handsome Jack during his rise to power. The game takes place in a low-gravity, atmosphere-free environment of Pandora's moon, which means high-arcing double jumps and the need for monitoring your oxygen levels. Gearbox has handed off development of the semi-sequel to 2K Australia, which previously contributed work to the Bioshock series and The Bureau: XCOM Declassified. Read 1 remaining paragraphs | Comments

Read More...
posted 9 days ago on ars technica
Quarks are gregarious particles, but only within limits. Protons, neutrons, and other baryons are made up of three quarks, while unstable particles called mesons are composed of a quark-antiquark pair. (An antiquark is the antimatter partner to a quark.) Nothing with more than three quarks in a single particle has been found in nature, at least under ordinary circumstances. Since 2008, however, researchers at CERN in Europe and at Belle in Japan found hints of a four-quark particle. Those hints were confirmed today by physicists at the LHCb experiment at CERN. To discover and characterize the particle, researchers sifted through 25,000 decays of mesons resulting from more than 180 trillion collisions at the Large Hadron Collider. This object they studied, known affectionately as Z(4430)-, has provided the first unambiguous measurement of a four-quark particle; earlier experiments also provided hints about another candidate, the Zc(3900)+. With that much data, physicists were able to determine the composition of the Z(4430)-: it consists of a charm quark, a charm anti-quark, a down quark, and an up antiquark. The "4430" part of the name indicates its mass: 4,430 million electron-volts, which a little more than four times the mass of a proton (938 million electron volts). The combination of quarks gives the Z(4430)- a negative electric charge, hence the "-" in the label. The particle is highly unstable, so none of them are expected to be seen in nature. Read 1 remaining paragraphs | Comments

Read More...
posted 10 days ago on ars technica
D.C. Atty Comcast executives are reportedly considering expanding the company’s telephone service into the mobile realm—or at least letting customers cut the chord to the cable modem. The Information reports that Comcast is looking at a plan that would offer mobile voice and data service over Wi-Fi hotspots, with leased cellular network capacity filling in the holes. Comcast already offers a service, called Voice 2go, that allows existing Xfinity Voice customers to make calls from an Android or iOS device over existing Wi-Fi, using their existing home phone number. Voice2go works from any Wi-Fi connection. But the Voice2go app requires the caller to stay connected to the same Wi-Fi hotspot for the entire call, so it’s not exactly “mobile” in the sense that cellular networks are. The new service would work in a fashion similar to that of Republic Wireless, which uses leased 3G and 4G cellular network capacity (in Republic’s case, from Sprint) as a fallback when Wi-Fi networks aren’t present. Comcast could also use its existing infrastructure to offer public Wi-Fi coverage in some areas, as it's begun to do in some states by adding a public Wi-Fi hotspot to existing home modems. As Comcast noted in a filing for its proposed acquisition of Time Warner Cable, the company has "the largest Wi-Fi network in the nation." Read 3 remaining paragraphs | Comments

Read More...
posted 10 days ago on ars technica
For more than two years, the Internet's most popular implementation of the Transport Layer Security (TLS) protocol has contained a critical defect that allowed attackers to pluck passwords, authentication cookies, and other sensitive data out of the private server memory of websites. Ars was among the millions of sites using the OpenSSL library, and that means we too were bitten by this extraordinarily nasty bug. By mid morning Tuesday, Ars engineers already updated OpenSSL and revoked and replaced our site's old TLS certificate. That effectively plugged the hole created by the vulnerability. By installing the OpenSSL update, attackers could no longer siphon sensitive data out of our server memory. And although there's no evidence the private encryption key for Ars' previous TLS certificate was compromised, the replacement ensured no one could impersonate the site in the event hackers obtained the key. With Ars servers fully updated, it's time to turn our attention to the next phase of recovery. In the hours immediately following the public disclosure of the so-called Heartbleed vulnerability, several readers reported their Ars accounts were hijacked by people who exploited the bug and obtained other readers' account passwords. There's no way of knowing if compromises happened earlier than that. Ars has no evidence such hacks did occur, but two years is a long time. There's simply no way of ruling out the possibility. Read 2 remaining paragraphs | Comments

Read More...
posted 10 days ago on ars technica
The power light on the front of the Fire TV. Casey Johnston In early April, Amazon announced that its long-rumored video streaming media box was finally coming to market. According to Amazon, the Fire TV wasn't just another slightly differently shaped rectangular prism of plastic. Fire TV was no less than the solution to so many of the problems plaguing its competitors. A significant part of Amazon's Fire TV presentation was couched in the criticism of currently available media players, and the company harped on three points: performance, closed ecosystems, and complexity. When we looked closer at the Fire TV, we saw some solutions. But these fixes are too half-baked and too limited in scope. Unfortunately, Amazon doesn't appear to be looking for an answer to the big media box issues as much as it's interested in finding less-glaring ways of cutting the same corners. As a result, functionality is expended for Amazon's own self-absorption. From left, the Fire TV box, the remote, and the power cable that come in the box. On the hardware and setup Our review unit came with a separate HDMI cable in the bag, which means you'll have to supply your own. Everything else, including batteries for the remote, comes in the box. The Fire TV itself is simple, flat, and black without even a set of feet to hold it up off the ground. Instead, the bottom is surfaced with a rubbery plastic. Read 66 remaining paragraphs | Comments

Read More...
posted 10 days ago on ars technica
With no ice flowers in sight, Mario decides to let his rage control him and stupidly fight fire with fire. Adding some much-needed fuel to the waning Nintendo Wii U fire, Super Smash Bros. game director Masahiro Sakurai took to Nintendo's YouTube channel today to announce release windows for the fighting series' next two entries. The boringly named pair of games, Super Smash Bros. For 3DS and Super Smash Bros. For Wii U, will launch "this summer" and "this upcoming winter," respectively. Both titles will include the exact same characters and move sets, Sakurai promised, but the game's wild, constantly mutating stages will differ between the platforms. The two versions will link up in various ways, "but I will tell you about those on a later date," Sakurai said. The director also revealed two as-yet-unannounced combatants. Gear up, Pokemon fans, because Pokemon X/Y character Greninja will join the battle as a quick, karate-loving, water- and ice-spraying frog thing, while Charizard will return to Smash Bros. as an individual combatant (as opposed to his version in 2008's Super Smash Bros. Brawl, which paired him with other characters under the Pokemon Trainer moniker). Read 5 remaining paragraphs | Comments

Read More...