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:
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Visit the Atari Advantage Forum on Delphi!
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
[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
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
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
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
5 ON, 6 ON;
Run FireTOS witho
5 OFF, 6 ON;
Please note: Emu
When I looked for
forced to wear my
those who wish to
Nos WN ER
EmuTOS in fully
CF-Socket is master drive ON/OFF
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
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
while it adopts most of the pictograms from the Linear Blue set,
it has different basic shapes for files,
The Linear Classic set is composed by 206 icons drawn in 256,
and 2 colors,
is also included.
Linear Blue set w
support/look & fe
required to replace
->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
If you already
desktop with the Linear Bl
folders and programs, to
format. A configuration
optimised for the Official FireBee setup,
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.
-— 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
Game of the Year:
Video games officially leveled up in 2015.
PC gaming is
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
years there, the new conso
thriving, and that phone i
When it comes to both qua
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 truly impressive feat for a
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
Tapped as a Game of the Yea
E3 conference in June,
d. Suffice to say, it was
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.
the moment it was unveiled
had a lot to live up to.
And while it came up a bit short of our admittedly overblown
fight, locations to explore,
addictive than Psycho-Jet,
Bigger isnt always better,
and duct t
c RPG is still an amazing
through a hand-crafted wasteland bursting with enemies to
ape to pilfer. More
n these two
open-world behemoths stands
compelling: Rocket League,
will hit you like a fender
performance. This was THE
the game we logged the most
More like what isnt.
Golden Age for gamers.
to the mouth.
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
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,
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:
Deus Ex: Human Revolution
Doritos Crash Course
Kane & Lynch 2
Ms. Pac Man
Portal: Still Alive
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
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
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
Xbox services were downed for a time on Friday following a
suspected attack, which a known hacker group claimed to take
Hackers from the Phantom Squad are said to have launched a
distributed denial-of-service (DDoS) attack against the Microsoft
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
The group’s account, @PhantomSgqaud, was later suspended by
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
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
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
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
The attacks could prevent millions of gamers worldwide from
enjoying their newly opened Christmas gifts and accessing games
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
Ok, think about this.... Xbox Live and PSN have millions
upon millions of dollars... but do they use that money for better
No. PSN and Xbox do not use that money to improve their
security... So until they open their eyes, Xbox Live and PSN will
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
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
issues with Xbox LIVE when Phantom Squad claimed responsibility.
"Xbox Live #Offline" Phantom Squad tweeted on December 12,
As a proof, Phantom Squad also posted a video of its cyber
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
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
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
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)
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.
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
Among the people who reported receiving the letter were security
researchers, activists and journalists.
Twitter did not immediately respond to ABC News’ request for
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
"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
It just needs to hit the backspace key 28 times, for at least
the computer running Linux operating system.
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
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
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
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
"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
[The standard silicon chips currently used in all electronic
devices have one major issue:
The silicon chips are arranged like standalone houses in the
This means these chips are single-storeys in which each "house"
in the neighbourhood are connected with wires that carry digital
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
"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
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
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
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
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
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
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
"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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