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Volume 17, Issue 47 Atari Online News, Etc. December 18, 2015 


Published and Copyright (c) 1999 - 2015 
All Rights Reserved 





Atari Online News, Etc. 
A-ONE Online Magazine 
Dana P. Jacobson, Publisher/Managing Editor 
Joseph Mirando, Managing Editor 
Rob Mahlert, Associate Editor 

















Atari Online News, Etc. Staff 





Dana P. Jacobson -- Editor 
Joe Mirando -- "People Are Talking" 
Michael Burkley -- "Unabashed Atariophile" 
Albert Dayes -- "CC: Classic Chips" 
Rob Mahlert -- Web site 
Thomas J. Andrews -- "Keeper of the Flame" 


With Contributions by: 


Fred Horvat 


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A-ONE #1747 12/18/15 
~ Firebee Update News! ~ People Are Talking! ~ 2015 Game of the Year! 
~ Real-name Policy Eased ~ Teen Secret Hashtags! ~ Konami/Kojima Spat! 


~ Commander Keen Is 25! ~ Linear Classic Icons! ~ N3XT - 1000X Faster? 


~ Trump Site Is Attacked ~ Sanitize Your Year! ~ Real Star Raiders II! 


-* Government Hacking Twitter? *- 
-* Lizard Squad’s Christmas Eve Threat *- 
-* Email Privacy Protected by 4th Amendment! *- 











->From the Editor’s Keyboard "Saying it like it is!" 


TOUT Tr re Oe ee ee ee ee 


Well, it’s nice to know that there are still quite a few out there 





who continue to read A-ONE regularly. I base that statement on the 
few e-mails that I received over the past two weeks because of some 
of my editorial comments. The purpose of editorial commentary, 


although severely lacking on my part for quite some time, is to 
invoke reflection of certain topics - both positive and negative. 


My recent feedback references my comments regarding President 
Obama’s initial speech after the terrorist attack in California. 
I also mentioned that Donald Trump should get some "credit" for 
having the testicular fortitude to speak his mind - whether you 
like him or not. While one reader appeared to agree with my 
position, a couple of our readers thought quite the opposite. 
For the record, I’m middle-of-the-road as far as Trump goes. 








There are things about him that I don’t agree. There are times 
that I wished he stated views in a different manner. There are 
things about him that I do like, including his willingness to 





be open rather than dancing around the issues like most 
politicians tend to do in an effort to not offend anyone. 


Anyway, just to refresh our readers’ minds, here’s what I wrote 
last week: 





[here's a reason why I despise talking religion and politics, and 
a bigger one as to discussing a combination of the two!! Everyone 
has his own opinion, and neither is necessarily wrong. 





Last week, I briefly mentioned Obama’s lame speech from the Oval 
Office with regard to the terrorist attack in California. All 
that came out of his mouth was pure BS. One came away from listening 
to him, and scratching your head with the conclusion of "what was 

all that about?" Just more of the same Obama rhetoric that we've 
been listening to for years. 





Love him or hate him, right or wrong - you have to give Donald 
Trump some credit for having the cajones to speak his mind. I 
don’t agree with everything that he has to say, but it’s obvious 
that he’s not pussy-footing around. Forget political-correctness 


for the moment - there are a number of major issues in today’s 
world that need attention. Toes are going to get stepped on. 
Some people’s feelings are going to get hurt. Things are still 


interesting in the world of politics! 


Look at the slate of presidential candidates - from both parties. 
It’s embarrassing! As one of my e-mails mentioned, the Republican 
candidates are spending more time answering questions about Trump 
than talking about the issues. He’s right, they do. Instead of 
spending all this time trying to "knock down" the front-runner 
(amazing that Trump has been leading the polls since the 








beginning!), focus on individual campaigns and the issues! Let 
Trump either self-implode (if that’s his inevitable fate) of let 
him prove himself a viable candidate. That’s what they all 
should do. 


Unfortunately, the focus at-hand is terrorism and what to do 
about it. As Dorothy said in The Wizard of Oz: "Toto, I don’t 
think we’re in Kansas any more!" No, Dorothy, we’re not! The 
U.S. is no longer in its own seemingly protected part of the 
world. September 11, 2001 should have brought that fact to 
light. Move ahead to the present - the Russian passenger plane 
brought down over Egypt. The attacks in Paris. The attack in 
San Bernardino. 











The world is not fighting a "conventional" war here; we’re 
fighting what seems to be radical religious zealouts who have 

no regard for innocent human lives. They’re aptly called 
terrorists. The world is not safe any more - these recent three 
terrorist attacks have shown that to be true. 


Maybe it’s time for more presidential candidates to start thinking 
in a more non-conventional manner rather than the same old, worn 
out rhetoric. 


Until next time... 


FireBee Update News 


By Fred Horvat 


Well I am finally back working with my FireBee again. Where I 
left off was updating my Firmware and TOS’s to try and get certain 
supported software (Netsurf 3.4 and EasyMiNT) to run on my 
FireBee. I did all the updates and it appeared to install all 
fine but I still could not run that software. It was suggested 

on the FireBee Section on Atari-Forum 
http://www.atari-forum.com/viewtopic.php?f=92&t=28704 to inspect 
my DIP-Switch settings. 





I looked on the Basic Information Sheet for the DIP-Switch 
settings and here is what was on the sheet: 


DIP Switches and TOS Versions 
DIP-switch are following from left 

to right. Up indicates an On position. 
1: write protect flash ON/OFF 











Go to PIC 
FireTOS/EmuT 
5 ON, 6 ON; 

Run FireTOS witho 
5 OFF, 6 ON; 

Run 
Please note: Emu 
DIPSwitches. 


2 
3-4: 
5-6: 

















When I looked for 


forced to wear my 
those who wish to 





Ort 
On 
Off 
Off 
On 
On 


Nos WN ER 


OS 


ut 


EmuTOS in fully 


OS 


CF-Socket is master drive ON/OFF 
(currently unsupported) 


selector 


sound support 


ColdFire native mode 
or FireTOS usage has to be selected via 


EmuTOS usage via FireTOS boot menu does not work as of yet. 


the switches it took me a minute or two to find 


them on the board. 
glasses as the switches are very small. 


Once I did it was 


one of the rare times I was 
For 


follow at home my setting are: 


I posted my findings to the thread listed above but shortly before 
I submitted this installment so I will work with the feedback this 


coming week and work with the FireBee some more. 


Until next time. 


Linear Classic Icons Set for Teradesk 


The Linear Classic is a new 48pts RSC icons set for the 
This set is a member of the Linear icons family 


desktop. 


Teradesk 
but, 





while it adopts most of the pictograms from the Linear Blue set, 


it has different basic shapes for files, 
’ interaction. 


improve users 





The Linear Classic set is composed by 206 icons drawn in 256, 


and 2 colors, 
file 
is also included. 


Linear Blue set w 
support/look & fe 





required to replace 


configuration fil 


(folderl-folder7) 


->In This Week’s Gaming Section 


TOU TT Te Wr Oe Or Oe Oe oe ee Oe ee oe ee oe ee oe ee ee eee eo 


in the usual 
(teradesk.inf), 
If you already 
desktop with the Linear Bl 


as 
el 


es 


RSC (AES-4) 


folders and programs, to 


16 


format. A configuration 


optimised for the Official FireBee setup, 


have 








ue 48p 





ts set vers. 


a well customised Teradesk 
14.2. to 1.4b (The 


recently updated and is available in the 


section of firebee.org), 


the cicons.rsc fil 


are upward compatible. 
customise ther working spaces, 


were also included. 


several 


-— Game of the Year: 
Xbox Live Downed After Threats! 


you are only 

le as the teradesk.inf 

To help users 
unassigned folder icons 








The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt! 


Hacker Confirms PlayStation 4 Jailbreak! 
And much more! 





—>A-ONE’s Game Console Industry News 


MUNNET 


Game of the Year: 


Video games officially leveled up in 2015. 


transitional 
PC gaming is 


game machine. 
simply one of the best years on reco 


That made picking our favorite a real 


ynnu Wr ae We Oe ee ee ee ee ee 


The Witche 


years there, the new conso 
thriving, and that phone i 
When it comes to both qua 
rd. 


n 


The Latest Gaming News! 


r 3: Wild Hunt 


After a few dodgy 

les are finally delivering. 
n your pocket is a viable 
ntity and quality, 2015 was 





ightmare, but eventually, 


a white-haired, demon-hunting warrior sliced through the 


contenders to give The Witcher 3: 


A sprawling, 


compelling narrative, 
a truly impressive feat for a 


intimate, 
burned count] 


massive beasts, 





Wild 


open-world fantasy adventu 
The Witcher 3 is 


less hours searching for ou 
playing the clever card 





every nook and cranny of developer CD P 





glorious worl 


Tapped as a Game of the Yea 


at the 


E3 conference in June, 


d. Suffice to say, it was 
r contender 


Fallout 4 


Hunt our top honor. 


re fused with a tight, 
simultaneously epic and 
huge role-playing game. 
r protðøgð Ci battling 
game Gwent, and exploring 
rojekt Reds gorgeous, 

time well spent. 


We 





ri, 








the moment it was unveiled 
had a lot to live up to. 





And while it came up a bit short of our admittedly overblown 





expecta 
journey 





fight, locations to explore, 
addictive than Psycho-Jet, 


Bigger isnt always better, 


tions, 


Bethesdas post-apocalypti 
and duct t 
this one. 


however. Wed 


c RPG is still an amazing 


through a hand-crafted wasteland bursting with enemies to 





ape to pilfer. More 


n these two 





ged betw 


open-world behemoths stands 
compelling: Rocket League, 


will hit you like a fender 
to master, 

performance. This was THE 
the game we logged the most 








More like what isnt. 
games, 
Golden Age for gamers. 





Uncharted 4, 








to the mouth. 


time with. 


a game smaller of sta 
he spectacular sleepe 
Car soccer? Really? Spend more than a half-hour playing and it 


ture but equally 
rohit “of 2015: 








Easy to 1 
Rocket Leagues simple design belies 
multiplayer game of 2015, 


earn but tough 
its best-in-class 
and easily 





While 2015 was jam-packed with killer 

its just the start of whats shaping up to be a new 

A wealth of incredibly cool games are 
lining up to take over our lives next year, 
impossibly big space game No Mans Sky, 
Microsofts time-bending Quantum Break, 
to 2012 Game of the Year contender Dishonored, 


including the 


the breathtaking 


the sequel 
and the 


long-awaited Legend of Zelda game for the Wii U. Rest those 


thumbs youre gonna need em 


Next Xbox One Backward-compatible Games Revealed 


After teasing that the next batch of Xbox One backward-compatible 
games would be announced "very soon," Microsoft has now followed 
through on that promise. The company today unveiled 16 new Xbox 
360 games that are now playable on Xbox One through the feature. 
Scroll down below the image to see all of the games, but spoiler 
alert: Red Dead Redemption is sadly not one of them. 


Xbox One Backward Compatibility Games Added December 17: 


Braid 

Deus Ex: Human Revolution 
Doritos Crash Course 
Fable III 

Halo: Reach 

Hydro Thunder 

Iron Brigade 

Kane & Lynch 2 
Motocross Madness 
Ms. Pac Man 

Peggle 

Portal: Still Alive 
Spelunky 

Splosion Man 

Ticket to Ride 
Zuma’ s Revenge 








November’s New Xbox One Experience update introduced backwards 
compatibility support (and lots of other new features) with an 
initial lineup of 104 games. Microsoft has pledged to release 

new games to the lineup on a regular basis. In addition to the 
games announced today, we’re expecting more next year. 


In past interviews, Microsoft management has said backward 
compatibility should help boost Xbox One console sales, though 
what effect the feature has had in this department remains to be 
seen. 


Microsoft also announced today that, since backward 
compatibility support arrived on November 12, people have logged 
more than 9 million hours playing Xbox 360 games on Xbox One. 

The most popular backward compatibility games, so far at least, 
are Fallout 3, Gears of War 3, Just Cause 2, Assassin’s Creed II, 
and Dirt 3. 


With close to 130,000 votes, Call of Duty: Black Ops II is the 
most-—requested Xbox 360 games for Xbox One backward 
compatibility on the Xbox Feedback website. Rounding out the top 
five are The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim, Red Dead Redemption, Call 
of Duty: Modern Warfare 2, and Halo: Reach (a Microsoft game). 
With the exception of Halo: Reach, Microsoft has not yet 
delivered the other top-requested games. 

















There is no guarantee that Microsoft ever will, either, as 
whether or not games are added to the backward compatibility 
lineup is decided by individual publishers. Back in November, 








Microsoft said it is holding discussions with all major 
publishers and developers, including Rockstar Games. 





Games announced for Xbox One backward compatibility but not yet 
delivered include Halo Wars, Skate 3, BioShock, BioShock 2, 
BioShock Infinite, and Call of Duty: Black Ops. 


Hideo Kojima ’Contractually Forbidden’ From Discussing Konami Split 


According to a new report from The New Yorker, there is a reason 
why Metal Gear Solid creator Hideo Kojima did not speak about the 
terms of his split with Konami when he announced his new studio 
and game earlier this week. The report claims that Kojima is 
"contractually forbidden" from discussing the terms of his exit 
from the Japanese game publisher. 





The veteran game designer officially left Konami on December 15 
after nearly three decades with Konami. However, a previous 
report claimed that he actually parted ways with Konami in 
October. It was believed that he was under a non-compete clause 
that expired in December. 


His new game will be exclusive on console to PlayStation 4, but 
is also coming to PC. It’s still early days for the project - it 
doesn’t have a name or a release window, not even a target 
release window. Kojima’s new studio, Kojima Productions, 
currently has just four employees and no office. 





GameSpot first reported earlier this year that Kojima was likely 
to leave the company following the completion of Metal Gear 
Solid V: The Phantom Pain, which was released on September 1. A 
power struggle between Konami and Kojima Productions, the 
Kojima-led studio responsible for Metal Gear Solid, resulted in 
senior staff having limited access to emails, phone calls, and 
corporate Internet. 








In August, a report detailed the troubling corporate culture at 
Konami. Among other things claimed in the report was that Konami 
employees are monitored with surveillance cameras while at work. 


Kojima first came to work at Konami in 1986. It was there that 
he created the Metal Gear series, which he has helmed since 
1987. His other projects have included Snatcher, Policenauts, 
Boktai, and Zone of the Enders. 








Xbox Live Downed After Threats; Hacker Group Takes Responsibility 





A hacker group previously made threats to down the service during 
Christmas, mimicking a similar high-profile hacker group last 
year. 


Xbox services were downed for a time on Friday following a 
suspected attack, which a known hacker group claimed to take 
responsibility for. 


Hackers from the Phantom Squad are said to have launched a 
distributed denial-of-service (DDoS) attack against the Microsoft 
gaming network. 


In a tweet, the group said Xbox maker Microsoft, and rival 
Sony-owned gaming network PSN, doesn’t "bother working on 
security" despite their "millions of dollars." 


"PSN and Xbox don’t use that money to improve their security. 
Until they open their eyes, Xbox Live and PSN will remain 
vulnerable," the group said. 





During the attack, the group tweeted: "Xbox Live #Offline," but 
did not offer any visual proof that they were directly behind the 
attack. 

The group’s account, @PhantomSgqaud, was later suspended by 
Twitter. 





As of mid-morning on Friday, Xbox services were back to normal, 
according to the company’s support pages. Sony’s PSN network is 
not thought to have been targeted, but a separate tweet by the 
hacker group warned that it is "next" on their target list. 


The first thing you notice after a couple of minutes messing 
around with Edge besides the option for a cool new dark theme 
is how smooth 


The threats came a week earlier, mirroring the actions almost a 
year after the infamous Lizard Squad launched a series of 
network attacks against Xbox Live and Sony’s PSN network. The 
attacks were so ferocious and long-lasting that new and existing 
gamers during the Christmas holidays were unable to login for 
hours or even days at a time, drawing ire from the international 
gaming community. 








The attackers also took down a number of other major sites and 
networks, including the Dept. of Defense’s global satellite 
messaging system. A number of the group’s hackers were later 
arrested by British authorities. 





A Microsoft spokesperson did not immediately return a phone call 
requesting comment. 





Hackers Plan To Ruin Christmas Eve for Millions 
of PlayStation and Xbox Live Gamers 


Remember the notorious hacker group Lizard Squad that spoiled last 
Christmas holidays of many game lovers by knocking the PlayStation 
Network and Xbox Live offline with apparent Distributed Denial of 
Service (DDoS) attacks? 


But, Will you be able to Play Xbox and PlayStation Game this 
Christmas? 


Probably Not. 


Because a new hacking group is threatening to carry out similar 
attacks by taking down the Xbox LIVE and PlayStation Network for 
a week during Christmas. 





In a series of tweets, a bunch of DDoS hackers calling themselves 
"Phantom Group" (@PhantomSquad) announced that they will disrupt 
the XBox Live and PlayStation networks in a coordinated DoS 
attack. 


The attacks could prevent millions of gamers worldwide from 
enjoying their newly opened Christmas gifts and accessing games 
online. 


Here are the tweets by Phantom Squad: 
We are going to shut down Xbox live and PSN this year on 


Christmas. And we are going to keep them down for one-week 
straight #DramaAlert 


Ok, think about this.... Xbox Live and PSN have millions 
upon millions of dollars... but do they use that money for better 
security? 


No. PSN and Xbox do not use that money to improve their 
security... So until they open their eyes, Xbox Live and PSN will 
remain vulnerable. 


A few days ago, Phantom Squad claimed responsibility for knocking 
Reddit offline, and Reddit confirms that the issue, saying its 
databases coming "under extreme load" that could have been caused 
by a DDoS attack. 


"Reddit #O0ffline Goodnight." Phantom Squad tweeted on 
December 15, 2015. 


Now, the group has turned its crosshairs toward the gaming 
networks. 


However, neither Microsoft nor Sony responsible for managing 
PlayStation and XBox Live online networks respectively has 
confirmed the DDoS attacks, but Microsoft, at least, acknowledged 


a 


issues with Xbox LIVE when Phantom Squad claimed responsibility. 











"Xbox Live #Offline" Phantom Squad tweeted on December 12, 
2015. 


As a proof, Phantom Squad also posted a video of its cyber 
attacks. 


If the DDoS attack on PSN and XBox is carried out successfully 
for a week during Christmas, it will again ruin the Christmas 

holidays for millions of video game lovers worldwide, just like 
last year. 


Since DDoS attacks are so easy to conduct nowadays when there 
are so many DDoS tools available online, the important point 
here is whether Microsoft and Sony have upgraded their DDoS 
defences enough to defend against the attacks. 





Hacker Confirms PlayStation 4 Jailbreak! 
Exploit Could Open Doors for Pirated Games 





Sony’s PlayStation 4 the hottest-selling gaming console in the 
United States has been in the market for a while now, and since 
its release, hackers have been tinkering with it to find a way to 
run unauthorized software. 


Though breaking the protection on PlayStation 4 is a huge deal, a 
hacker who calls himself CTurt has claimed to develop a fully 
jailbroken version of the PlayStation 4 with the help of a kernel 
exploit that he previously created. 








The current jailbreak allows dumping of the system RAM from other 
processes and installing custom firmware that can be used to run 
homebrew applications that aren’t approved by Sony. 


Of course, there is still a few other security issues to get by, 
but it is a foot in the door for game piracy, which can affect 
the gaming market as a whole. 


The Twitter account of CTurt seems to indicate that currently the 
exploit only works for PlayStation 4 firmware version 1.76, but 
apparently it can be tweaked to work for more recent firmware. 





CTurt successfully managed to take advantage of an exploit in 
PlayStation 4 v1.76 to inject an external code in the system, 
thereby taking control of the hardware. 





Sony would certainly be unhappy with the launch of PlayStation 4 
jailbreak and would be trying hard to eliminate any 
vulnerabilities for the most recent version of PS4 firmware. 





Man Pleads Guilty to Forcibly Stealing 4.7 Billion Virtual Coins 
for Use in Online Game RuneScape, Sentenced to 6 Months in Jail 








Humza Bajwa pleaded guilty to grand larceny and attempted robbery. 





The currency was virtual and the gun was fake but the jail time 
is real. 


A video game obsessive who flashed an imitation pistol to roba 
Fordham University student of nearly 5 billion fantasy coins was 
taken away in cuffs Tuesday to begin six months behind bars. 


Humza Bajwa pleaded guilty in Bronx Supreme Court to forcibly 
stealing 4.7 billion gold coins for use in the role-playing game 
RuneScape. Gamers use the virtual dough to buy supplies in a 
medieval online fantasy world. 








As part of the plea deal, the Massachusetts native will pay back 
the $3,300 in real cash he had promised to swap for the gold coins 
at a July 13, 2012 meeting on the Fordham campus. 


= 


—>A-ONE Gaming Online = Online Users Growl & Purr! 


TOW TD Tr Wr Oe ae me ae me oe ee ee eo 





The Real Star Raiders II 


Star Raiders was the Atari 8-bit home computer’s killer app, 
inspiring Ted Nelson to claim that "The Atari machine is the most 
extraordinary computer graphics box ever made, and Star Raiders 
is its virtuoso demonstration game." It was not until many years 
later that a sequel, of sorts, was released. This Star Raiders II 
was nothing at all like the original, as it was originally The 
Last Starfighter, a licensed tie-in to that was rebranded to 
avoid the stench of the box-office flop. 





Well now, three decades later, Kevin Savetz of the excellent 
ANTIC podcast has dropped a bomb on the retrogaming community: 
there was a real Star Raiders II under construction for a long 
time, but it disappeared as Atari imploded. Kevin tracked down 
the author, Aric Wilmunder, and convinced him to release it after 
all these years. You can download the game for the emulator of 
your choice, and read the manual and backstory on the Internet 
Archive. 





Commander Keen Turns 25 


Commander Keen is an episodic video game developed by id Software 
in the early 1990s. The series focuses on the adventures of Billy 
Blaze, an 8-year-old boy who travels through space and assumes the 
secret identity of "Commander Keen". The series was successful at 
replicating the side-scrolling action of the Nintendo 
Entertainment System Super Mario Bros. games in DOS. The 
cartoon-style platform games are notable for their pioneering use 
of EGA graphics and shareware distribution, and they were some of 
the first games by id Software (who went on to later develop 
Wolfenstein 3D, Doom and Quake). The games were also exciting to 
the PC gaming community of the time because of John D. Carmack’s 
smooth-scrolling graphics game engine, which first allowed smooth 
side scrollers on PC by only redrawing the elements of the screen 
that actually changed frame to frame. 

















Today is Commander Keen’s 25th birthday. Keen was one of the very 
first games I ever played, and everybody I knew at the time was 
into Keen as well. We swapped floppies around with Keen on them, 
and I must’ve finished many of the episodes countless times. 
Commander Keen is part of my childhood, and a landmark in (PC) 
gaming. 


In honour of Keen’s 25th birthday, John Romero published a video 


today, in which he shows id Software’s "port" (reverse engineering 
is probably more accurate) of Super Mario Bros. 3 to the PC. It 
was created without Nintendo’s consent, and then sent to Nintendo 
for evaluation. The company had no interest in it, but the 
knowledge gained would come to use for Keen. 


Fascinating. 


A-ONE’s Headline News 
The Latest in Computer Technology News 
Compiled by: Dana P. Jacobson 





Twitter Warns Some Users Over Possible Government Hacking 


Twitter sent a warning to some users that the social network said 
may have been targeted by "state-sponsored hackers." 


It’s unclear how many people received a letter from Twitter. 
However, the message warns hackers may be attempting to steal 
phone numbers, along with email and IP addresses, according to 
copies of the email shared on Twitter. It was also unknown who 
the reported hackers are and who they could be working for. 








"At this time, we have no evidence they obtained your account 
information, but we’re actively investigating this matter," a 
copy of the letter posted online by @Coldhak, a Canadian 
nonprofit group, said. "We wish we had more we could share, but 
we don’t have any additional information we can provide at this 
time." 





Among the people who reported receiving the letter were security 
researchers, activists and journalists. 


Twitter did not immediately respond to ABC News’ request for 
comment. 


In October, Facebook said it would begin issuing alerts to users 
who the social network believes are being targeted by 
state-sponsored hackers, according to a message posted by Alex 
Stamos, Facebook’s chief security officer. Google introduced 
warnings for state-sponsored hacks in 2012. 





Red-faced Microsoft Tries to Fix Free Storage Snafu 


Too little, too late? 





Talk about putting lipstick on a chicken. 


Microsoft is trying to make amends for last months decision to 
pull its offer of unlimited free OneDrive cloud storage. Clearly, 
given the negative coverage and customer blowback, this was not 
one of Microsofts finest hours. So now, for a limited number of 
select customers, the company is sort of changing course again, 
according to this post on the OneDrive customer forum spotted by 
ComputerWorld. 








OneDrives biggest and most loyal fans can keep their existing 
15 gigabytes of free storage after next year when the changes 
take effect. And if those users also have an additional 

15 gigabyte bonus for their photos, they can keep that as well, 
but they have to sign up here for that privilege. 





There are more than 4,200 comments on a Nov. 2 OneDrive user post 
titled Give us our storage back and more than 7,000 up votes, 
which gives you an idea of how this change was seen beyond 
Microsoft HQ. 


The whole did we say free? We didnt mean it fiasco shows how 
tricky it is for tech providers to change course especially if 
that means taking something that was free or perceived to be free 
and slapping a price tag on it. And in this case, the freebie was 
really a perk for existing Microsoft Windows or Office/Office 365 
customers who may feel theyre paying plenty already to 

Microsoft. 


Under changes announced in November, the company stopped offering 
free unlimited storage to subscribers paying for Office 365 Home, 
Personal, or University editions. It announced that move the 
previous year, claiming that it got rid of storage limits for 
Office 365 users. 





So much for that. Instead those customers would get 1 terabyte of 
storage with their subscription. Now, 1 terabyte is not nothing, 
but its a far cry from unlimited. Or, even 2 terabytes. 


In addition, the free OneDrive tier available to anyone shrunk to 
5 gigabytes from 15 gigabyte. Office 365 users who wanted to jump 
ship to some other fr or near-fr offer from Google or 

Dropbox could get a pro-rated discount, according to the Microsoft 
FAQ. 








The rationale for all this unpleasantness was that according to 
Microsoft some digital hoarders were putting all their CDs, all 
their photographs, everything onto OneDrive, in what it 
characterized that as an abuse of the system. But others saw this 
as a huge company punishing many for the sins of a few. 


At least Microsoft, in the form of group program manager Douglas 
Pearse, appears to get how badly this was handled. 


We realize the announcement came across as blaming customers for 
using our product. For this, we are truly sorry and would like to 
apologize to the community, Pearse wrote on the site. Pearses 
post also shut down additional comments on the Give us our 
storage back thread so maybe Microsoft was nearing the end of 

its own storage allotment? (I kid.) 














Microsoft in particular has a problem because it is so big and 


profitable, that reversing course on what was called a free 
perk for paying users of Office 365 looks like a big company 
trying to save money on the backs of its customers. 





Breaking News on EFF Victory: Appeals Court Holds That 
Email Privacy Protected by Fourth Amendment 





In a landmark decision issued today in the criminal appeal of 

U.S. v. Warshak, the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals has ruled that 
the government must have a search warrant before it can secretly 
seize and search emails stored by email service providers. 

Closely tracking arguments made by EFF in its amicus brief, the 
court found that email users have the same reasonable expectation 
of privacy in their stored email as they do in their phone calls 
and postal mail. 








EFF filed a similar amicus brief with the 6th Circuit in 2006 ina 
civil suit brought by criminal defendant Warshak against the 
government for its warrantless seizure of his emails. There, the 
6th Circuit agreed with EFF that email users have a Fourth 
Amendment-protected expectation of privacy in the email they store 
with their email providers, though that decision was later vacated 
on procedural grounds. Warshak’s appeal of his criminal conviction 
has brought the issue back to the Sixth Circuit, and once again 
the court has agreed with EFF and held that email users have a 
Fourth Amendment-protected reasonable expectation of privacy in 
the contents of their email accounts. 

















As the Court held today, 





Given the fundamental similarities between email and 
traditional forms of communication [like postal mail and telephone 
calls], it would defy common sense to afford emails lesser Fourth 
Amendment protection.... It follows that email requires strong 
protection under the Fourth Amendment; otherwise the Fourth 
Amendment would prove an ineffective guardian of private 
communication, an essential purpose it has long been recognized to 














serve.... [T]he police may not storm the post office and intercept 
a letter, and they are likewise forbidden from using the phone 
system to make a clandestine recording of a telephone call - unless 


they get a warrant, that is. It only stands to reason that, if 
government agents compel an ISP to surrender the contents of a 
subscriber’s emails, those agents have thereby conducted a Fourth 
Amendment search, which necessitates compliance with the warrant 
requirement.... 








Today’s decision is the only federal appellate decision currently 
on the books that squarely rules on this critically important 
privacy issue, an issue made all the more important by the fact 
that current federal law--in particular, the Stored 
Communications Act - allows the government to secretly obtain 
emails without a warrant in many situations. We hope that this 
ruling will spur Congress to update that law as EFF and its 
partners in the Digital Due Process coalition have urged, so that 
when the government secretly demands someone’s email without 
probable cause, the email provider can confidently say: "Come 
back with a warrant." 











Anonymous Knockoff Donald Trump Website Against Anti-Muslim Speech 





Remember a couple of months ago a hacker defaced Donald Trumps 
official website with a tribute message for Jon Stewart? Now 
Anonymous has done the same but with a DDoS attack. 


The online hacktivist group Anonymous has conducted a powerful 
DDoS attack on one of the Donald trumps website for Trump Tower 
New York trumptowerny.com and forced it to stay offline. 


The group says the reason for targeting Trumps website was due 
to his anti-Muslim hate speech a couple of days ago. 


Earlier the hacktivist organization had announced the attack on 
the Republican presidential candidate and it didnt take long for 
them to carry out DDoS attacks on the candidates site. 





Right after the attack the group posted a video, leaving this 
message for Trump: 


It has come to our attention that you want to ban all 
Muslims to enter the United States. This policy is going to have 
a huge impact. This is what ISIS wants. 

The Trump Tower New Yorks website is protected by CloudFlare. 
The site was available online in cache version for a while, 
however, its been more than 12 hours and the site is still down. 








It seems Anonymous is on a role at the moment. The other day the 
group targeted Japanese Prime Ministers site and have already 
declared war against ISIS with the trolling day on 11th 
December. So, it would be interesting to see how the Anonymous 
carries out both these operations. 





In February 2013, Trumps Twitter account was hacked and whoever 
was behind the attack tweeted a quote from Lil Waynes song 
These hoes think they classy, well thats the class Im 

skippen. 


Target Back on Naughty List With Another Security Vulnerability 


Hackers can access your personal information from Target - again 
-— thanks to a flaw in the retailer’s mobile app. 








In a blog post Tuesday, researchers from security company Avast 
revealed the flaw, which allows unauthorized access to customers’ 
addresses, phone numbers and other personal information from wish 
lists created with the Target app. The only merry tidings are 
that credit card numbers don’t appear to be stored with the wish 
lists, so financial information isn’t vulnerable. 





If this sounds familiar, it’s because last year we learned that 
hackers breached Target’s systems and stole the credit card 


information of up to 70 million customers. Though hackers have 
the opportunity to steal the wish list information right now, 
Avast researchers have found only that it would be possible. 
It’s unknown whether the security hole has been exploited. 

The wish list information was still vulnerable to hacking as of 
Tuesday afternoon, according to an Avast representative who added 
that the company hadn’t notified Target of the problem. The 
representative didn’t immediately respond to a follow-up question 
about why Avast hadn’t informed the retailer of the flaw. 








Target disabled elements of its wish list app Tuesday evening 
after being informed of the vulnerability, said a spokeswoman for 
the Minneapolis, Minnesota-based retailer. 








"We apologize for any challenges guests may be facing while trying 
to access their registry," Molly Snyder, a communications manager 
at Target, said in a statement. "Our teams are working diligently 
overnight to resume full functionality." 





Avast said Tuesday it discovered the flaw while examining the 
security and privacy levels of various mobile buying apps. During 
their examination, researchers looked at what permissions were 
granted users, in addition to trying to hack the apps. 


As if shopping on mobile phones wasn’t vexing enough, the 
discovery shows that some major shopping apps don’t have security 
or privacy nailed down. 


On the privacy side, researchers at Avast singled out the 
Walgreens shopping app for requesting user permissions that had 
nothing to do with the app’s purpose. That means it could be 
collecting information you never meant to share with your friendly 
neighborhood drugstore. 





Walgreens spokeswoman Mailee Garcia said the permissions cited by 
Avast were in fact related to the app’s purpose. 


"For example, these include our Refill by Scan feature, which 
requires a smartphone camera; telehealth services and 
consultations, which require a microphone... and connection of 
personal fitness devices, which require Bluetooth," Garcia said. 
"Any suggestion that our app’s permissions are unrelated to its 
purpose are inaccurate." 





However, Avast researchers said this level of permissions wasn’t 
half bad. 


"In fact, compared to other apps out there they are decent," 
wrote Avast researcher Filip Chytry. 


Well, fa la la la la. 


U.K. Police Arrest Man in Connection With VTech Hacking 


U.K. police on Tuesday arrested a 21-year-old man as part of an 
investigation into the late November hacking of Hong Kong-based 


digital-learning toy maker VTech Holdings Ltd , a cyber-attack 
that garnered global attention as the personal data of 6.4 
million children worldwide were exposed. 


Officers from the South East Regional Organized Crime Unit 
arrested the man in Bracknell, about 30 miles west of London, on 
suspicions of unauthorized access to a computer to facilitate 
the commission of an offense, the police said. 








The man wasnt named and no further details were provided. 


You Can Hack Into A Linux Computer Just 
by Pressing '/Backspace’ 28 Times 


So what would anyone need to bypass password protection on your 
computer? 


It just needs to hit the backspace key 28 times, for at least 
the computer running Linux operating system. 


Wait, what? 


A pair of security researchers from the University of Valencia 
have uncovered a bizarre bug in several distributions of Linux 
that could allow anyone to bypass any kind of authentication 
during boot-up just by pressing backspace key 28 times. 





This time, the issue is neither in a kernel nor in an operating 
system itself, but rather the vulnerability actually resides in 
Grub2, the popular Grand Unified Bootloader, which is used by most 
Linux systems to boot the operating system when the PC starts. 


The source of the vulnerability is nothing but an integer 
underflow fault that was introduced with single commit in Grub 
version 1.98 (December 2009) 
b39lbdb2f2ch5ccf29dab66cecdbfb7566656a704d affecting the 
grub_password_get() function. 


If your computer system is vulnerable to this bug: 
Just hit the backspace key 28 times at the Grub username prompt 
during power-up. This will open a "Grub rescue shell" under Grub2 


versions 1.98 to version 2.02. 


This rescue shell allows unauthenticated access to a computer and 
the ability to load another environment. 





From this shell, an attacker could gain access to all the data on 
your computer, and can misuse it to steal or delete all the data, 
or install persistent malware or rootkit, according to 
researchers Ismael Ripoll and Hector Marco, who published their 
research on Tuesday. 








The Grub vulnerability affects Linux systems from December 2009 
to the present date, though older Linux systems may also be 
affected. 





The good news is the researchers have made an emergency patch to 
fix the Grub2 vulnerability. So if you are a Linux user and 
worried your system might be vulnerable, you can apply this 
emergency patch, available here. 


Meanwhile, many major distributions, including Ubuntu, Red Hat, 
and Debian have also released emergency patches to fix the issue. 


Linux is often thought to be a super secure operating system 
compare to others, and this Grub vulnerability could be a good 
reminder that it’s high time to take physical security just as 
seriously as network security. 


Facebook Sanitizes Your Year, Scrubbing Out The Bad Stuff 


Facebook rolled out a personalized Year in Review page for its 
users that attempts to remember only the good times. 


Launched on Wednesday, the page displays many of the photos you’ve 
posted on Facebook throughout 2015, offering you a visual tour of 
your entire year, at least as you shared it on the site. Rather 
than show you all of your photos, the social network applied some 
technical smarts by automatically eliminating photos associated 
with negative events, such as a death in the family. 





You can edit your photo lineup to add photos the site missed or 
remove ones you’d rather not see again. You can select up to 10 
photos altogether. 


Social networks like Facebook offer an outlet to share both the 
good and bad times of your life, as you see fit. They also 
routinely try to present what they think you want to see. In the 
case of Facebook, the world’s largest social network, that 
includes the "top stories" in your feed, reminders to wish 
friends a happy birthday and memories you can share of an 
individual posts you made years ago. It’s all about getting you 
to visit Facebook more often and to linger longer when you do. 








But not every memory on Facebook is a good one. 


In 2014, Facebook triggered criticism when the photo of a girl 
who died appeared on the Year in Review page of her father. The 
photo was surrounded by images of people dancing and partying as 
if it were a happy event, prompting the father to compose a blog 
post expressing the pain and grief he experienced as a result. 
The Menlo Park, California, company wanted to avoid the same type 
of situation this year, thus trying to better control your photo 
results. 





"We heard feedback last year that we need to do more to select 
the photos that are most enjoyable to people and make it easier 
for them to edit the photos they see and share in their Year in 
Review," a Facebook spokesperson said. "So we’ve applied a 
unique set of filters to Your Year in Review to reduce the 
chance we’ll show you a photo you don’t want to see. And for 
the photos that our algorithms don’t catch, we’re giving people 
control over the photos in their Year in Review." 





The photos you first see in your Year in Review page use filters 
that Facebook applies to other features, such as On This Day, 
which looks back on a specific day in your Facebook history, a 
company spokesman said. You won’t see photos where memorialized 
accounts or ex-spouses are tagged, or photos with people you’ve 
blocked. You can add such photos manually if you wish. 


"We know that people share a range of content on Facebook, and 
we want them to be able to create a Year in Review that 
accurately depicts their year, no matter what kind of memories 
they want to highlight," the spokesman added. 


You can view your own Year in Review through your Facebook News 
Feed or catch it via a dedicated page. You can also share your 
Year in Review with your Facebook friends so they can watch the 
journey life took you on throughout the year. 


N3XT Advanced CHIP That Could Make Your Computer 1000 Times Faster 


Researchers have come up with an all new way to revolutionize the 
standard computer chip that comes inbuilt in all our electronics. 


Researchers from Carnegie Mellon, Stanford, and the University of 
California, Berkeley among others, have invented a new material 
that could replace the ’silicon’ in conventional chips built in 
all electronic devices making the device’s processing speed 
1,000 times faster. 








This means that the new chip made with nano-material could solve 
complex problems in a fraction of the time our computers take. 





The brand new chip, dubbed Nano-Engineered Computing Systems 
Technology (N3XT), takes the landscape from a resource-heavy 
single-storey layout to an efficient ‘Skyscraper’ approach, 
claims a Rebooting Computing special issue of the IEEE Computer 
journal. 























[The standard silicon chips currently used in all electronic 
devices have one major issue: 


The silicon chips are arranged like standalone houses in the 
suburbs. 








This means these chips are single-storeys in which each "house" 
in the neighbourhood are connected with wires that carry digital 
data. 


The drawback of silicon chips is that the data in these chips 
travels longer distances and wastes energy, often causing digital 
traffic jams while processing. 


N3XT chips that are made from carbon nanotube transistors are 
tiny cylindrical molecules of carbon that efficiently conduct 
heat and electricity. 





The N3XT model splits processors and memory into, say, different 


‘floors’ in a skyscraper. 





All those floors are then connected by millions of tiny 
electronic elevators, called /vias,’ that are used to transport 
data between chips. 








The big advantage of Skyscraper approach data moves much 
faster, and more efficiently over shorter distances (vertically) 
than across a larger area (horizontally) like in current silicon 
chips. 


"When you combine higher speed with lower energy use, N3XT 
systems outperform conventional approaches by a factor of a 
thousand," said H. -S. Philip Wong, the Professor, who authored 
the paper. 


Another advantage of Skyscraper chips over Silicon chips is that: 


Silicon chip cannot be piled on top of each other like in N3XT 
chip, because, during fabrication silicon chip gets extremely hot 
(almost 1,000 degrees centigrade) that ends up damaging the 
layers below. 





Whereas the N3XT chip can be fabricated at much lower 
temperatures than silicon chip, so it can easily be layered 
without damaging the stacks below. 


It sounds like an entirely different approach to computer memory 
and, of course, this kind of computing knowledge is new to me. 
But, it’s interesting to know that the approach could bring a 
macro-level revolution in chip architecture that took place more 
than a century ago. 





Teens Are Using Secret Hashtags To Share Dangerous Habits 


Rule-breaking may be just as irresistible to teenagers today as it 
was in their parents day, but a new study of secret social media 
hashtags like #selfharmmm suggests that new technology is helping 
kids share dangerous behaviors more easily than ever before. 


When it comes to whats known as non-suicidal self-injury 

cutting, burning and scratching done with damage rather than death 
in mind teens can be quite crafty at deploying hashtags that 

mask their activities, evade content safeguards and advisory 
warnings, and make it much harder for parents to monitor their 
virtual lives. 





The online communities that develop around these hashtags can 
draw in adolescents and provide them a strong sense of belonging 
and support that is centered on these unhealthy behaviors, said 
lead study author Dr. Megan Moreno, a specialist in adolescent 
medicine at the University of Washington and Seattle Childrens 
Research Institute. 





This can make recovery from these behaviors more challenging, 
Moreno added by email. 


Moreno and colleagues used the search term #selfharmmm to identify 
public posts on the social media platform Instagram, a 
photo-sharing service popular with teens, that related to 
destructive habits like cutting and burning. 





Then, they used the search results to identify a list of ambiguous 
hashtags such as #blithe, #MySecretFamily and #SecretSociety123 
that were tied to the same dangerous behaviors. 





Other hashtags related to mental health conditions through use of 
common names, such as #Deb for depression, #Annie for anxiety, 
and #Olive for obsessive-compulsive disorder. 

The number of search results for self-harm hashtags was high and 
grew over time. 





[The broad term #cat, which refers to cutting, had more than 44 
million search results in 2014 and more than 56 million in 2015, 
the study team reports in the Journal of Adolescent Health. 


Over that same period, use of #selfharmmm also grew, generating 
1.7 million search results in 2014 and more than 2.4 million in 
2015. In its various permutations, #SecretSociety1l23 grew by 
approximately 500,000 search results. 





One limitation of the study, the authors acknowledge, is its 
reliance on data generated by starting with a single term, 
#selfharmmm, which was selected for its popularity as a portal 
into online communities that focus on these behaviors but might 
omit some relevant content. The study results are also limited to 
self-harm, and dont look at other destructive behaviors such as 
substance abuse or eating disorders. 


Still, the results show that parents cant rely on social media 

sites to provide safe places for their kids, and highlight the 

need for parents to be proactive in communicating with children 
about their online experiences, Moreno said. 





One effective response to unhealthy content on social media may 
involve meeting teens where they live their virtual lives, suggests 
a second study focused on eating disorders like anorexia and 
bulimia. 








For this study, researchers analyzed videos posted on YouTube that 
promoted eating disorders using terms like pro-ana as well as 
posts opposed to the dangerous behavior with terms like anti 
pro-ana. 





While pro-ana videos were more popular, garnering 4.8 million 
views compared to just 1.4 million views for clips opposed to this 
behavior, the opposition content drew more comments overall and 
more positive feedback, the study found. 





This suggests that posting content advocating against dangerous 
behavior might help combat social media content promoting 
unhealthy choices, said lead study author Dr. Atte Oksanen of the 
University of Tampere in Finland. 





YouTube has this powerful user community opposing pro-anorexia 
users, Oksanen said by email. Kids might not listen to their 


parents or adults in general, but they still might be influenced 
by their peers within social media and user communities might 
succeed where parents and health campaigns fail. 





Facebook Is Relaxing Its Real-name Policy 


Until now, you had to use your "authentic" name on Facebook. 
That’s no longer the case. 





[The world’s largest social network said it is relaxing its rules 
for how people identify themselves, allowing them to more easily 
use the name "people know them by." In addition, the service said 
it would make it harder for harassers to ask Facebook to disable 
users’ accounts. 








"We recognize that it’s also important that this policy works for 
everyone, especially for communities who are marginalized or face 
discrimination," two Facebook employees wrote in a blog post 
announcing the moves Tuesday. 





Facebook said it has changed its systems to be more forgiving 
about uncommon names, hoping to reduce the number of people who 
have to verify with Facebook who they are. The company also said 
it will allow users to verify their information with a wider 
variety of documents beyond typical governmental IDs. They will 
also be able to explain why they aren’t using their legal name, 
if Facebook asks. "This additional information will help our 
review teams better understand the situation so they can provide 
more personalized support," the company said. 























The move will be particularly welcome by the lesbian, gay, 
bisexual and transgender communities, which have criticized 
Facebook for its rigid rules requiring users to identify 
themselves by their real names. The company, which counts more 
than 1.5 billion people using its service each month, has 
defended the rule, saying that when people are forced to use 
their real name on the Internet it adds weight and authenticity 
to what they’re saying. Other, smaller, social networks like 
Twitter and Reddit don’t require users to identify themselves 
with their real names. 











The debate hit a tipping point last year, when gay rights 
activists said their Facebook accounts were being deactivated, 
seemingly as a result of a coordinated campaign by detractors who 
reported them under Facebook’s naming policies. 











Groups like the Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence in San Francisco, 
who mostly dress in drag and go by stage names, began protesting 
Facebook’s rules. The group said Facebook wasn’t being fair to 
domestic violence sufferers, transgender people and political 
refugees, many of whom often use pseudonyms online to protect 
themselves from people who might harm them in the real world. 


"All people should feel safe using their preferred identity when 
speaking, online or off," the group wrote in a letter to 
Facebook last year. 








Now, Facebook said people who report "fake names" will have to 
explain what’s wrong, including why their name on Facebook is 
"different from everyday life." 





The new tools will first be tested in the US, Facebook said, but 
will make them more widely available as they’re refined. 





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