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Meltdown and Spectre: does patching your PC impact game performance?

Eurogamer - Wed, 10/01/2018 - 16:00

It's been described as one of the most serious PC security issues we've ever seen. Headlines have been dominated by the news that there's a serious flaw in the hardware design of Intel microprocessors, going back over 20 years and covering millions upon millions of CPUs still in use today. If your gaming PC is based around an Intel processor, it's vulnerable to the recently revealed 'Meltdown' exploit. Side by side with Meltdown is another serious security problem, dubbed 'Spectre' - which has the potential to affect your PC, smartphone or tablet, regardless of whether or not it has Intel technology at its core.

So at the very basic level, what's at risk here? Essentially, Meltdown allows malware to gain access to protected memory within your CPU, areas within your processor that should be impossible to access. Sensitive data of just about any description is potentially accessible. Spectre offers another vector in acquiring sensitive data, to the extent that, although more difficult to deploy, it may well be causing headaches months or even years from now.

In the short term, fixes are being rolled out - and more may yet follow - and the concern is that performance may be significantly impacted. Epic Games recently revealed the extent of the hit for its Fortnite gaming servers, with a revealing graph showing a huge spike in CPU utilisation once the Meltdown patches were installed. The question is to what extent the patches - such as they are now - will impact the average gaming PC.

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Categories: Video Games

Taiwanese Police Give Cyber-security Quiz Winners Infected Devices

Slashdot - Wed, 10/01/2018 - 16:00
Taiwan's national police agency said 54 of the flash drives it gave out at an event highlighting a government's cybercrime crackdown contained malware. From a report: The virus, which can steal personal data and has been linked to fraud, was added inadvertently, it said. The Criminal Investigation Bureau (CIB) apologised for the error and blamed the mishap on a third-party contractor. It said 20 of the drives had been recovered. Around 250 flash drives were given out at the expo, which was hosted by Taiwan's Presidential Office from 11-15 December and aimed to highlight the government's determination to crack down on cybercrime.

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

Categories: Geeky Stuff

Congress Is About To Vote On Expanding the Warrantless Surveillance of Americans

Slashdot - Wed, 10/01/2018 - 15:00
An anonymous reader quotes a report from Motherboard: On Tuesday afternoon, a handful of U.S. Representatives will convene to review an amendment that would reauthorize warrantless foreign surveillance and expand the law so that it could include American citizens. It would, in effect, legalize a surveillance practice abandoned by the NSA in 2017 in order to appease the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court, which found the NSA to have abused its collection capacity several times. If it passes Tuesday's review, the bill may be voted on by the U.S. House of Representatives as early as Thursday. Drafted by the House Intelligence Committee last December, the FISA Amendments Reauthorization Act of 2017 is an amendment to Section 702 of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA). It is one of six different FISA-related bills under consideration by Congress at the moment, but by far the most damaging to the privacy rights of American citizens. FISA was enacted in 1978, but Section 702, referred to by former FBI Director James Comey as the "crown jewels of the intelligence community," wasn't added until 2008. This section allows intelligence agencies to surveil any foreigner outside the U.S. without a warrant that the agency considers a target. The problem is that this often resulted in the warrantless surveillance of U.S. citizens as well due to two loopholes known as "backdoor searches" and "about collection." Backdoor search refers to a roundabout way of monitoring Americans' communications. Since intelligence agencies are able to designate any foreigner's communications as a target for surveillance, if this foreigner has communicated with an American this means this American's communications are then also considered fair game for surveillance by the agency.

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

Categories: Geeky Stuff

Microsoft planning Xbox career system with avatar loot crate rewards - report

Eurogamer - Wed, 10/01/2018 - 14:10

Microsoft is developing a new system to track your overall accomplishments on Xbox, currently dubbed your "career".

First details of the system have been uncovered by the reliable Windows Central. The discovery backs up previous comments from Xbox exec Mike Ybarra where he hinted at something similar in the pipeline.

The in-development feature currently looks like it is organised around levels, with quests for XP and rewards when you level up.

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Categories: Video Games

Old-school WW2 shooter Battalion 1944 launches in Early Access next month

Eurogamer - Wed, 10/01/2018 - 14:00

Developer Bulkhead Interactive has announce that its old-school WW2 shooter, Battalion 1944, will launch in Steam Early Access on Thursday, February 1st.

Battalion 1944 first emerged back in 2016 when Derby-based Bulkhead Interactive - the studio behind Pneuma: Breath of Life, and the well-received first-person puzzler The Turing Test - launched a Kickstarter campaign to fund development of the project.

Its World War 2-flavoured first-person multiplayer focus, and the studio's stated aim to recreate the kind of action seen in early shooters like Call of Duty 2, clearly struck a chord with backers; the game reached its £100,000 target in less than three days.

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Categories: Video Games

Xbox One Adds New Achievement, Do Not Disturb Features In Previous Update

Slashdot - Wed, 10/01/2018 - 13:30
A Preview alpha build is now available for some Xbox One users who take part in the Insiders Program, which allows players to test out new system and game features before they go live to the public. This build contains several new features, such as the Next Achievements feature and a Do Not Disturb feature. GameSpot reports: The biggest addition coming for Xbox Insiders is the Next Achievements feature in the guide. Now, those who test new features and games from Xbox One will be able sort a cross-games list of upcoming Achievements. This way, you can easily see which Achievements you're closest to and quickly launch the game to achieve them. You can also sort your Achievements by how rare they are. There are also a few tweaks to social settings. A Do Not Disturb online status is coming, which will suppress notifications and let your friends know you're unavailable at the moment. Comments on community posts are also getting an adjustment, and soon you'll be able to peek at the most recent comment and see who has liked your comments. The Narrator is also now able to read large amounts of text.

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

Categories: Geeky Stuff

Destiny 2 will bring back Bungie's unloved Valentine's event

Eurogamer - Wed, 10/01/2018 - 12:53

Destiny 2's next in-game event will be the Valentine's Day-themed Crimson Days, which popped up for the original Destiny back in 2016.

This earlier version of Crimson Days was not worth setting a date for and developer Bungie later admitted it had goofed on its low reward rate.

Thankfully, Bungie has promised changes this time around.

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Categories: Video Games

'I Tried the First Phone With An In-Display Fingerprint Sensor'

Slashdot - Wed, 10/01/2018 - 12:00
Vlad Savov from The Verge reports of his experience using the first smartphone with a fingerprint scanner built into the display: After an entire year of speculation about whether Apple or Samsung might integrate the fingerprint sensor under the display of their flagship phones, it is actually China's Vivo that has gotten there first. At CES 2018, I got to grips with the first smartphone to have this futuristic tech built in, and I was left a little bewildered by the experience. The mechanics of setting up your fingerprint on the phone and then using it to unlock the device and do things like authenticate payments are the same as with a traditional fingerprint sensor. The only difference I experienced was that the Vivo handset was slower -- both to learn the contours of my fingerprint and to unlock once I put my thumb on the on-screen fingerprint prompt -- but not so much as to be problematic. Basically, every other fingerprint sensor these days is ridiculously fast and accurate, so with this being newer tech, its slight lag feels more palpable. Vivo is using a Synaptics optical sensor called Clear ID that works by peering through the gaps between the pixels in an OLED display (LCDs wouldn't work because of their need for a backlight) and scanning your uniquely patterned epidermis. The sensor is already in mass production and should be incorporated in several flagship devices later this year.

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

Categories: Geeky Stuff

Pokémon Go will drop support for older iPhones and iPads

Eurogamer - Wed, 10/01/2018 - 11:47

Pokémon Go will soon no longer support older iPhones and iPads.

iPhone 5 and 5C support will be dropped on 28th February, developer Niantic has announced.

The 4th generation iPad (released in 2012) and all earlier iPad versions will also see support dropped on the same date.

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Categories: Video Games

Surreal cult classic Yume Nikki now available on Steam

Eurogamer - Wed, 10/01/2018 - 10:51

Cult Japanese indie game Yume Nikki has been given a release on Steam.

Available as a free download, the freeform adventure where you play a character named Madotsuki who explores surreal dream worlds whenever she falls asleep in her apartment.

Though created using RPG Maker, there is no dialogue, battle systems or action to speak of. Instead, you find and use 'effects' to interact with each dreamscape and their strange inhabitants.

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Categories: Video Games

Star Citizen, I am disappointed

Eurogamer - Wed, 10/01/2018 - 10:00

Star Citizen is a bit like an Instagram account: what you see looks amazing but the reality is hollow. As it stands, at major milestone alpha 3.0, Star Citizen does not convince as a game. But as a picture-postcard-maker - as a demonstration of technology - it's virtually peerless. Standing on top of a canyon on a dusty, windswept planet, looking up at the suns and moons in the sky and knowing you can fly up to them is hair-raisingly cool. Knowing when night comes it's because of the rotations and orbits of those same planets, of those same stars, is an awesome feeling. And even though there might only be a handful of planets to touch down on (for now), they are truly massive, taking probable hours to fly around. It's a simulation of the highest detail and largest proportions.

But once you've seen the eye-popping sights, once you've flown down from space onto a planet and then back up again - once you've seen the beautiful Blade Runner hubs with their rebellious posters on murky walls and flickering neon lights - there's little to do. You can buy fancy-looking guns, you can even buy a great big railgun, which charges up and then very satisfyingly unloads, but there's nothing to kill.

Likewise, you can buy various suits of armour off mannequins in shops - one of the game's many lovely flourishes of detail - but there's no real need to other than to look cool, other than to pose for screenshots. Most shops don't have any interactive stock and so, like the hubs and the universe around them, they contribute to the feeling of touring a giant Hollywood set: all front and no substance.

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Categories: Video Games

January 2018 security update release

Microsoft Security Response Blog - Tue, 09/01/2018 - 20:16

Today, we released security updates to provide additional protections against malicious attackers. By default, Windows 10 receives these updates automatically, and for customers running previous versions, we recommend they turn on automatic updates as a best practice.

More information about this month's security updates can be found in the Security Update Guide.

 

Categories: IT
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