Archive for ‘Games’

April 30, 2011

PS3 – It Only Does Identity Theft [Video-Today]

by Avinash Saxena
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April 28, 2011

PlayStation Network users fear identity theft after major data leak [Gaming]

by Avinash Saxena
Playstation Network userUp to 3 million Britons are believed to be among the 77 million users ofSony‘s PlayStation Network, which has been hacked into by criminals who have stolen users’ personal information, possibly including credit card details.

Reeling from one of the worst such security breaches in history, Sony warned all users of the PSN network – used to play games online and download content including films – that they should be alert for fraudulent activity on their credit cards. Users have been warned to be wary of “phishing” emails pretending to be updates or security information, and to urgently change the passwords on any sites or services that use the same password as their PSN username.

The firm conducted a “forensic security” examination and discovered a hacker, or hackers, had accessed the internal corporate computer systems that hold the details. The UK’s information commissioner said he would ask Sony to explain the circumstances of the data leak, which might constitute a breach of the Data Protection Act.

The details of the users of the worldwide PlayStation Network – used by owners of Sony Playstation 3s and PlayStation Portables – include names, addresses, dates of birth, email addresses, and passwords to the network. They are a treasure trove potentially worth more than £100m to those who have stolen them if sold through online black markets, where the data required for an individual identity theft can cost up to $10, and a million unverified email addresses cost just $8.

Sony confirmed late on Tuesday that it had suffered an “intrusion” into its system on Wednesday 20 April, and that it had shut down the PSN and its Qriocity music streaming services as soon as the incident was discovered.

The PSN system was still down late on Wednesday. As well as costing Sony money the closure will be affecting a new generation of games companies that had hoped to use the system as a new means of selling games solely through downloads.

The admission will be a huge blow to Sony, which has been struggling to regain its once iconic status after years of missteps, and will increase pressure on its chief executive, Sir Howard Stringer.

Sony has not said how the hackers broke in. But Rik Ferguson, a computer security consultant at Trend Micro, said: “This has all the hallmarks of commercial criminal activity going for a saleable commodity. It doesn’t look as though they would have broken in directly through the PlayStation Network. Far more likely is that they breached the corporate systems and then moved through them to access this valuable data.”

The breach is one of the biggest ever, and in terms of the value of the data contained may be the most valuable to the hackers. In January 2009 a US payment card processor, Heartland Payment Systems, was hacked, affecting up to 100m cards; in March 2007 the systems of the store chain TK Maxx were hacked, leading to the theft of 46m credit card details.

However the PSN break-in is potentially more valuable because of the quality and breadth of data involved, as it could be used to construct an entire identity.

Security experts are wondering whether Microsoft’s rival XBox Live service, which provides a similar function to Sony’s PSN, could be targeted, though experts said it was a more closed system.

Dave Whitelegg, a data security blogger, said: “Microsoft’s approach to [running a gaming network] is a bit more guarded than Sony’s. The PSN is a much more open system. It’s a whole different philosophy. A classic example is, on Xbox Live you do not get a web browser – the reason for that is security; it’s a possible attack vector and could get you into their network. But the PlayStation 3 has one.”

Ferguson said highly targeted commercial hacking attacks had increased recently, with large online repositories of information being targeted. The activism group Anonymous took the unusual step of insisting it was not behind the breach. It had previously attacked Sony over the company’s legal complaints about gamers who tried to hack software that would let PS3s play any game.

“For once we didn’t do it,” the organisation, which describes itself as fighting for internet freedom, wrote on its blog. “AnonOps was not related to this incident and does not take responsibility for whatever has happened.”

Sony has been criticised for the fact that the hackers have apparently been able to copy the data directly, implying it was not encrypted.

Almost every commercial site scrambles a user’s password before storing it; when the user tries to log in, the password they provide is scrambled in the same way and then compared with the stored one, meaning the “plaintext” password is not available. It does not appear that Sony has done this.

Ian Shepherd, chief executive of video-games retailer Game Group, told Reuters: “The issue, the experience that Sony are having … is a really serious one. It’s one we’re staying very close to. I think there are lessons for the whole industry from the experience that Sony are having.”

Many gamers expressed anger. On the PS3news.com online forum, PSN member Jarvis wrote: “Stop purchasing anything remotely related to Sony. Let companies who deal with Sony know that you can’t support them if they continue to work with Sony.”

But Ferguson said such threats were unlikely to amount to anything. “That’s just frustration. There would be a real hardware cost in doing that. In fact, it’s likely to be more like what happens after a terrorist attack: security is stepped up and everyone is much safer for some time afterwards.”

Since Stinger’s appointment in March 2005 he has struggled to break the company out of its “silo” organisation that has prevented co-ordination between different divisions.

But revenue and profits have both remained flat, while the company has struggled to make an impact in new areas. The PlayStation 3, launched in 2006 in Japan and 2007 elsewhere, is widely seen as third-placed behind Microsoft’s Xbox and Nintendo’s Wii, and has dragged down profits.

A series of other problems such as battery fires and spyware embedded on music CDs have not helped its reputation either, and Stringer is now widely seen as being vulnerable if the company’s performance does not improve.

Meanwhile the first lawsuit resulting from the security breach has been filed.

It was filed on behalf of Kristopher Johns, 36, of Alabama. Johns accuses Sony of not taking “reasonable care to protect, encrypt, and secure the private and sensitive data of its users.”

April 28, 2011

Mortal Kombat: Legacy – Ep. 3 – Johnny Cage [Video-Today]

by Avinash Saxena
April 25, 2011

Nintendo to launch new Wii in 2012 to arrest profit fall [Gaming]

by Avinash Saxena
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 Nintendo Co Ltd will launch a successor to its aging Wii game console in 2012 as it bets on a new hit games platform to win back users lured away by rivals Microsoft and Sony, and reverse a fall in profits.

The maker of the DS handheld games device, which is also facing competition from smartphone makers including Apple Inc, said on Monday it will demonstrate a prototype of the new Wii in Los Angeles on June 7 at the E3 game show.

Nintendo is looking to repeat past successes in the gaming market. The Wii took the industry by storm five years ago by offering family games such as tennis and bowling that appealed to non-traditional gamers.

This time around, however, Nintendo will find it harder to sidestep its competitors and must also contend with a burgeoning smartphone market that didn’t exist in 2006, said Mitsushige Akino, Chief Fund Manager at Ichiyoshi Investment Management.

“Core users and game lovers that will certainly buy it, but I think it will be hard to capture buyers outside of that group,” he said.

On Monday, Nintendo also reported its second straight fall in annual profit, which was half of a year ago, as demand for Wii games console fell. Having sold 86 million units since launching in 2006, sales last business year slipped by five million units to 15 million.

Nintendo company declined to provide further details of the new Wii.

“As for the details of exactly what it will be, we have decided that it is best to let people experience it for themselves at E3,” Nintendo CEO Satoru Iwata, told a news conference.

“So I won’t talk about specific details today, but it will offer a new way of playing games within the home,” said Iwata, a former game designer.

Nintendo launched a glasses-free 3D-capable handheld games device, the 3DS, this year, to fend off increased competition from other game console makers and smartphone makers. It must also contend with Microsoft and Sony which have brought new products to the market since the Wii’s debut.

In March, Microsoft said it had sold more than 10 million Kinect motion-sensing game system units worldwide in just over four months, making it the fastest-selling consumer device on record. The infrared camera add-on for the Xbox game console tracks body gestures for video games. Sony’s rival motion sensing device is dubbed Move.

DECLINING SALES

In the business year just ended, Wii console sales fell to 15.1 million units from 20.1 million a year earlier. It expects sales to fall by a further 2 million units this business year.

Sales of its non-3D handheld DS shrank by almost 10 million units to 17.5 million, and the company expects that to slide to 11 million this term.

Nintendo’ operating profit fell 52 percent to 171.1 billion yen ($2.09 billion) in the year ended in March from 356.8 billion yen the previous year, below a Thomson Reuters SmartEstimate of 200.8 billion yen.

SmartEstimates put more weight on recent forecasts by highly rated analysts.

Nintendo expects operating profit of 175 billion yen for the year to March 2012, compared with a consensus of 215.8 billion yen, based on eight analysts polled by Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S after the March 11 disaster.

Nintendo shares closed up 0.9 percent ahead of the earnings report in a flat broader market. ($1 = 81.845 Japanese Yen)

March 8, 2011

BIWINNING

by Avinash Saxena
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February 19, 2011

Minecraft Mod – Charlotte (Female Companion Mod)

by Avinash Saxena
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