Connect to share and comment

The digital world, explained.

Latest LulzSec hacker arrested in US

The FBI has arrested another member of the LulzSec hacker collective in its ongoing crackdown on cyber crooks.
Lulzsec hacker arrests jake davisEnlarge
British teenager Jake Davis was arrested in July 2011 on suspicion of hacking as a member of the LulzSec collective. He was reportedly one of several LulzSec members to be charged in New York on March 6, 2012. (CARL DE SOUZA/AFP/Getty Images)
The FBI is continuing to track down and arrest former members of the infamous LulzSec hacker collective.
More

Gaming and geopolitics collide in Iran

Blizzard Entertainment is tightening up its compliance with US sanctions on Iran in their online games.
Iran gaming sanctions 08 28 2012Enlarge
A Lebanese boy plays the computer game 'Special Force 2', inspired by last summer's war between Israel and Hezbollah, in a southern suburb of Beirut 23 August 2007. The computer game puts players in the role of a Hezbollah fighter on the frontline of war with Israel, simulating raids into Israel to capture soldiers, battling tank movements in the valleys of south Lebanon and launching Katyusha rockets at Israeli towns. (Anwar Amro/AFP/Getty Images)

Iranian gamers will be forced to do without Blizzard games, including World of Warcraft, as the company begins to tighten up their compliance with US sanctions on Iran.

Several Iranian players found themselves unable to log into World of Warcraft and began posting on Blizzards official forums inquiring about the problems. Many of them stated that after last week’s server maintenance, they were having connection issues with the game. 

Players began speculating as to the issues while many blamed the Iranian government for the block. Later in the thread, a Blizzard employee made a post clarifying what was happening in Iran.

More

US lags behind in broadband access

Millions of Americans still lack access to broadband internet. With high prices and a lack of infrastructure, the US is falling behind other developed countries.
Broadband access 08 23 2012Enlarge
A free Wi-Fi hotspot beams broadband internet from atop a public phone booth on July 11, 2012 in Manhattan, New York City. New York City launched a pilot program Wednesday to provide free public Wi-Fi at public phone booths around the five boroughs. The first ten booths were lit up with Wi-Fi routers attached to the top of existing phone booths, with six booths in Manhattan, two in Brooklyn, and one in Queens. Additional locations, including ones in the Bronx and Staten Island, are to be added soon. (John Moore/AFP/Getty Images)

The US is still lagging behind other developed nations in levels of broadband internet availability. Nineteen million Americans still lack broadband access, according to the Eight Broadband Progress Report, issued by the Federal Communications Commission.

“In an era when broadband is essential to innovation, jobs and global competitiveness, the report concludes that the FCC — and the nation — must continue to address obstacles impeding universal broadband deployment and availability,” read the report. 

The US ranked 16th last year in fixed broadband subscriptions per 100 inhabitants, according to a report by the International Telecommunications Union. Several European countries, along with South Korea and Hong Kong, beat out the United States. 

More

Anonymous hits Uganda in defense of LGBT rights

In Uganda, where homosexuality is officially illegal, Anonymous attacks government websites.
Uganda anonymous 08 16 2012Enlarge
Sister of gay Ugandan activist David Kato, Eva Mulumba (L) cries as she gives a speech beside Kato's mother, Nalango Lydia Mulumba (R) during a memorial service for Kato in Kampala, on January 26, 2012. Kato served as a Advocacy and Litigation Officer for sexual minorities in Uganda. Kato was brutally murdered at the age of 46 years his home in Kyetume, Mukono District on January 26, 2011. (Michele Sibiloni/AFP/Getty Images)

The Anonymous collective has hacked and vandalized a website belonging to Ugandan Prime Minister Amama Mbabazi in protest of the country’s laws concerning members of the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) communities.

In Uganda, homosexuality is officially illegal. The Ugandan parliament has also considered passing laws that would punish those who fail to report homosexuality to the police and have even considered executing members of Uganda’s LGBT community. 

"Your violations of the rights of LGBT people have disgusted us. ALL people have the right to live in dignity free from the repression of someone else's political and religious beliefs. You should be PROUD of your LGBT citizens, because they clearly have more balls than you will ever have. Real Ugandan Pride is demonstrated in standing up to oppression despite fearing the abuse, torture and murder inflicted on LGBT at the hands of the corrupt government,” read a statement left by Anonymous on the Ugandan Prime Ministers website. 

More

Anonymous sets out to avenge Demonoid

Anonymous has launched an initial round of DDoS attacks against Ukrainian anti-piracy and government websites, pledging to restore Demonoid.
Anonymous hackers 2012 02 28Enlarge
Anonymous is a loosely organized international network of online activists suspected of the coordinated computer hacking of institutions, multinationals and government organizations around the globe. (LOUISA GOULIAMAKI/AFP/Getty Images)

Anonymous brought down three Ukrainian government websites in the first part of a plan to avenge the loss of Demonoid, a popular bittorrent tracker seized by Ukrainian authorities earlier this week.

“In retaliation for your criminal acts against us and the free flow of information, we have already begun an operation against those responsible. Lazers are already being fired,” read a press release on anonpr.net, the collective's public relations blog.

The collective also released a statement on YouTube, condemning authorities involved in shutting down Demonoid with language that could be described as provocative, even for Anonymous.

More

Helicopter footage of raid on Dotcom home released to the public

Footage from the helicopter used in the raid on Megaupload founder Kim Dotcom's home is released to the public for the first time

At 6:46 a.m. on Jan. 20, a helicopter carrying officers belonging to New Zealand's elite special tactics group swooped down onto a mansion in the rural Coatesville community 30 kilometers northwest of Auckland. These operatives weren’t readying themselves to take down a drug kingpin or a tin pot dictator — they were enforcing copyright laws.

More

Demonoid becomes next causality in war on online piracy

Following an extended DDoS attack, Demonoid's servers have been seized by the Ukranian government, a move, some say, to appease the US.
Demonoid screenshot originalEnlarge
Demonoid (Screengrab/Screengrab)

After an enormous distributed denial of service attack (DDoS), the web's oldest torrent tracker, Demonoid, has been shut down. 

Last week, torrent enthusiasts feared the worst when Demonoid was brought down in a DDoS. They worried that the site had been busted and brought down by governments where the servers were hosted. It turned out they were right. Now, the site has been permanently shut down by the Ukrainian government, according to Kommersant, a Ukrainian news outlet, and file-sharing advocates TorrentFreak

ColoCall, Ukraine’s largest datacenter, housed most of Demonoid’s servers. Last week, government investigators descended upon ColoCall’s server bank to it all down. 

More

Jeter targeted in gender bending Facebook hack

Hackers found their way into several MLB teams' Facebook accounts last night, wreaking havoc on Facebook and poking fun at politicians and athletes.
Yankees hack 08 03 2012Enlarge
Derek Jeter #2 of the New York Yankees throws his bat after striking out to end the fourth-inning against the Toronto Blue Jays at Yankee Stadium on July 17, 2012 in the Bronx borough of New York City. (Mike Strobe/AFP/Getty Images)

Major League Baseball bore the brunt of an all-night hacking spree as seven baseball teams had their social media platforms hijacked by online pranksters.

The Chicago Cubs, Chicago White Sox, Miami Marlins, New York Yankees, San Diego Padres, San Francisco Giants and Washington Nationals all posted embarrassing messages on Facebook, including plans by Derek Jeter to undergo a sex change procedure.

“We regret to inform our fans that Derek Jeter will miss the rest of the season with sexual reassignment surgery. He promises to come back stronger than ever in 2013 as Minnie Mantlez,” said a hacked posting on the Yankees’ Facebook page. 

Other posts featured political satire. The Chicago White Sox weighed in on the 2012 US presidential campaign, satirizing both candidates.

More

French retailer trademarks Anonymous brand

Early Flicker has filed to trademark the brand and mantra belonging to the hacker collective Anonymous. Will Anons let it stand?

French e-commerce company Early Flicker has provoked the wrath of Anonymous.

Last February it filed to trademark the collective’s logo and its mantra, “we do not forgive….”

Early Flicker, specializing in t-shirt designs, may have been looking to capitalize on the popularity of Anonymous by printing shirts emblazoned with the collective’s logo. The Anonymous mantra and logo have been classified as a registered trademark in France’s National Institute of Industrial Property.

More

Windows 8: A coming catastrophe?

Gabe Newell, PC gaming hero and CEO of Valve, says Windows 8 will spell "catastrophe" for PC gaming.
Window catastrophe 07 27 2012Enlarge
Visitors watch a presentaiton of fetaures of the new Windows 8 operating system at the Microsoft stand on the first day of the CeBIT 2012 technology trade fair on March 6, 2012 in Hanover, Germany. CeBIT 2012, the world's largest information technology trade fair, will run from March 6-10, and advances in cloud computing and security are major features this year. (Sean Gallup/AFP/Getty Images)

Windows 8 will herald a catastrophe, according to Valve Software CEO Gabe Newell.

Newell is considered a hero among PC Gamers with Valve titles like Half-Life and Portal heralded as works of genius.

“I think that Windows 8 is kind of a catastrophe for everybody in the PC space. I think that we’re going to lose some of the top-tier PC [original equipment manufacturers]. They’ll exit the market. I think margins will be destroyed for a bunch of people,” Newell told VentureBeat at the Casual Connect video game conference in Seattle this week.

Newell's, however, is not an unbiased third party with the new Windows Stores possibly looking to compete with Steam, Valve's digital distribution and communications platform for gaming.

While discussing the frontiers of the gaming industry, the Valve boss criticized Windows 8 and offered up Linux as a possible alternative. 

“…we’re trying to make sure that Linux thrives. Our perception is that one of the big problems holding Linux back is the absence of games. ” Newell said. “…we’re going to continue working with the Linux distribution guys, shipping Steam, shipping our games, and making it as easy as possible for anybody who’s engaged with us — putting their games on Steam and getting those running on Linux, as well. It’s a hedging strategy,” he added.

More