Security

On a recent trip to Paris with Ubisoft for Watch Dogs, I had the chance to talk to their resident hacking expert about how realistic the hacking is.

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All it takes is the swipe of a finger. We connect with friends. We buy the latest gadgets and gear. We find out what’s happening in the world. But with that same simple swipe, we cast an increasingly expansive shadow. With each connection, we leave a digital trail that tracks our every move and milestone, our every like and dislike. And it’s not just people. Today, all major cities are networked. Urban infrastructures are monitored and controlled by complex operating systems.

In Watch_Dogs, this system is called the Central Operating System (CTOS) – and it controls almost  every piece of the city’s technology and holds key information on all of the city’s residents.

You play as Aiden Pearce, a brilliant hacker and former thug, whose criminal past led to a violent family tragedy. Now on the hunt for those who hurt your family, you’ll be able to monitor and hack all who surround you by manipulating everything connected to the city’s network. Access omnipresent security cameras, download personal information to locate a target, control traffic lights and public transportation to stop the enemy…and more.

Use the city of Chicago as your ultimate weapon and exact your own style of revenge.

Thomas Geffroyd has been working in the video game industry for 10 years focusing on brands and content. Through the years, he cautiously refused to specialize in favour of learning from as many crafts as possible within the industry. This lead him not only to work on major brands (Splinter Cell, Rainbow Six, Assassin’s Creed, Far Cry) but also to be part of various new IP developments within core teams. Always on the lookout to tell new stories with new tools, he decided to settle on the WATCH_DOGS brand for the long haul and apply his multidisciplinary approach to develop the universe through stories that need to be told.

So over to Thomas:

Watch Dogs will be released worldwide on 27th May, 2014 on PlayStation 4, PlayStation 3, Xbox One, Xbox 360 and PC.

What do you think of Watch Dogs? Let us know by leaving a comment below.

On a recent trip to Paris with Ubisoft for Watch Dogs, I had the chance to talk to the lead game designer about all things Watch Dogs.

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All it takes is the swipe of a finger. We connect with friends. We buy the latest gadgets and gear. We find out what’s happening in the world. But with that same simple swipe, we cast an increasingly expansive shadow. With each connection, we leave a digital trail that tracks our every move and milestone, our every like and dislike. And it’s not just people. Today, all major cities are networked. Urban infrastructures are monitored and controlled by complex operating systems.

In Watch_Dogs, this system is called the Central Operating System (CTOS) – and it controls almost  every piece of the city’s technology and holds key information on all of the city’s residents.

You play as Aiden Pearce, a brilliant hacker and former thug, whose criminal past led to a violent family tragedy. Now on the hunt for those who hurt your family, you’ll be able to monitor and hack all who surround you by manipulating everything connected to the city’s network. Access omnipresent security cameras, download personal information to locate a target, control traffic lights and public transportation to stop the enemy…and more.

Use the city of Chicago as your ultimate weapon and exact your own style of revenge.

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With over than 10 years of experience in the game industry, Danny Belanger is the kind of guy you want on your team. Over the years, he worked on many successful franchises, including Army of Two, before joining Ubisoft’s team in 2010. He’s currently Lead Game Designer on Watch Dogs where his expertise is pushed to new heights.

So over to Danny:

Watch Dogs will be released worldwide on 27th May, 2014 on PlayStation 4, PlayStation 3, Xbox One, Xbox 360 and PC.

What do you think of Watch Dogs? Let us know by leaving a comment below.

Consider yourself warned: cyber criminals have waged a war against the world’s most popular smartphones and tablets. We have a guest post from Jessica Oaks telling you how to protect yours.

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According to a recent CBS News story, McAfee reported a 600-percent increase in mobile malicious software (also known as malware) threats from 2011 to 2012. Mobile security experts now estimate that as many as 50 percent of smartphones are infected with some sort of malware.

One virus records a user’s login credentials, such as bank information, and can use the information to access personal and corporate bank accounts.

Part of the appeal to hackers is that consumers now use their 2013 AT&T, Sprint, Verizon and T-Mobile cell phones and tablets for both personal and business reasons. Lookout Mobile Security, a San Francisco-based smartphone security company, claims that as the mobile industry grows, so does the threat of fraud.

Staying Safe: The Do’s and Don’ts

Mobile security experts are spreading the word about protecting your cell phone and tablet from the threat of malware. Here are some of their do’s and don’ts:

Don’t click on any suspicious links or visit any dubious websites from your smartphone or tablet, as these are easy ways for hackers to get into your phone.

Do be judicious when it comes to the apps you download, because hackers commonly imbed malware in apps. Steer clear of any free versions of apps that typically charge — for example, the free version of Angry Birds or Words with Friends — as there is a chance that malware could lurk inside the code of the app.

Do download updates for your apps and your smartphone or tablet operating system.

Don’t respond to a text claiming to be from your service provider, asking permission to reconfigure your phone or tablet settings due to a network outage or similar reason. This is a common ruse for hackers to attack your phone. Instead, contact your provider to check the legitimacy of the text message.

Do keep a close eye on your monthly bill. Watch for unexplained increases in texts and airtime, as well as unexplained charges. Get in touch with your provider immediately to sort out any suspicious activity.

Don’t make purchases or bank transactions through public Wi-Fi (stick to 3G when possible). When you log in to a public Wi-Fi network, someone could be watching to steal your login or bank account information.

Do try to read the permissions apps require before you download them. Keep an eye out for anything fishy (e.g., an app asking permission to make phone calls or record your whereabouts). Note: Apple does not release these permissions for public viewing, as they claim they vet their apps themselves.

Do change your SIM card, which digitally identifies you and your phone, on a regular basis. It can take awhile for the cell registry to link you with a new SIM card, making it harder for hackers to target you. This strategy only works on AT&T and T-Mobile phones.

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Ubisoft have recently been hacked and are now recommending you change your passwords – I guess someone took Watch Dogs very seriously!

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This is what Ubisoft have posted and also emailed to people:

We recently found that one of our Web sites was exploited to gain unauthorised access to some of our online systems. We instantly took steps to close off this access, to begin a thorough investigation with relevant authorities, internal and external security experts, and to start restoring the integrity of any compromised systems.

During this process, we learned that data were illegally accessed from our account database, including user names, email addresses and encrypted passwords. No personal payment information is stored with Ubisoft, meaning your debit/credit card information was safe from this intrusion.

As a result, we are recommending you to change your password.

Out of an abundance of caution, we also recommend that you change your password on any other Web site or service where you use the same or a similar password.

An official forum thread has been created for you to post your questions.
We sincerely apologise for any inconvenience and thank you for your understanding.

So if you have any Ubisoft account you should change your password now!

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Apple has released an update for OS X taking it to 10.8.4.

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The OS X Mountain Lion v10.8.4 Update is recommended for all OS X Mountain Lion users and includes features and fixes that improve the stability, compatibility, and security of your Mac, including the following:

  • Compatibility improvements when connecting to certain enterprise Wi-Fi networks
  • Microsoft Exchange compatibility improvements in Calendar
  • A fix for an issue that prevented FaceTime calls to non-U.S. phone numbers
  • A fix for an issue that may prevent scheduled sleep after using Boot Camp
  • Improves VoiceOver compatibility with text in PDF documents
  • Includes Safari 6.0.5, which improves stability for some websites with chat features and games
  • A fix for an issue that may cause iMessages to display out of order in Messages
  • Resolves an issue in which Calendars Birthdays may appear incorrectly in certain time zones
  • A fix for an issue that may prevent the desktop background picture from being preserved after restart
  • A fix for an issue that may prevent documents from being saved to a server using SMB
  • Addresses an issue that may prevent certain files from opening after copied to a volume named “Home”
  • A fix for an issue that may prevent changes to files made over NFS from displaying
  • Resolves an issue saving files to an Xsan volume from certain applications
  • Improves Active Directory log-in performance, especially for cached accounts or when using a .local domain
  • Improves OpenDirectory data replication
  • Improves 802.1X compatibility with ActiveDirectory networks
  • Improves compatibility when using mobile accounts

This update is around 359 MB and requires a reboot.

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It was widely reported yesterday that Evernote had a security breach, and as a result they reset everyone’s passwords. They have now emailed everyone to explain more.

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This is the email Evernote sent to all its customers:

Evernote’s Operations & Security team has discovered and blocked suspicious activity on the Evernote network that appears to have been a coordinated attempt to access secure areas of the Evernote Service.

As a precaution to protect your data, we have decided to implement a password reset. Please read below for details and instructions.

In our security investigation, we have found no evidence that any of the content you store in Evernote was accessed, changed or lost. We also have no evidence that any payment information for Evernote Premium or Evernote Business customers was accessed.

The investigation has shown, however, that the individual(s) responsible were able to gain access to Evernote user information, which includes usernames, email addresses associated with Evernote accounts, and encrypted passwords. Even though this information was accessed, the passwords stored by Evernote are protected by one-way encryption. (In technical terms, they are hashed and salted.)

While our password encryption measures are robust, we are taking steps to ensure your personal data remains secure. This means that in an abundance of caution, we are requiring all users to reset their Evernote account passwords. Please create a new password by signing into your account on evernote.com.

After signing in, you will be prompted to enter your new password. Once you have reset your password on evernote.com, you will need to enter this new password in other Evernote apps that you use. We are also releasing updates to several of our apps to make the password change process easier, so please check for updates over the next several hours.

As recent events with other large services have demonstrated, this type of activity is becoming more common. We take our responsibility to keep your data safe very seriously, and we’re constantly enhancing the security of our service infrastructure to protect Evernote and your content.

There are also several important steps that you can take to ensure that your data on any site, including Evernote, is secure:

  • Avoid using simple passwords based on dictionary words
  • Never use the same password on multiple sites or services
  • Never click on ‘reset password’ requests in emails – instead go directly to the service

Thank you for taking the time to read this. We apologize for the annoyance of having to change your password, but, ultimately, we believe this simple step will result in a more secure Evernote experience.

Were you affected by this issue? Let us know by leaving a comment below.

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Toshiba Europe announced that its Ultrabook devices will include access to the latest version of McAfee Anti-Theft security software, designed specifically for Ultrabook devices should they be lost or stolen. Customers purchasing Toshiba Ultrabooks before March 31st 2013 will have access to the software included for a year, after registration and activation by the customer.

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Applicable models include the highly portable Satellite U840 and Satellite U940, the Satellite U840W – featuring a cinematic 21:9 screen, perfect for movies – and the high performance Satellite Z930/Z830 and Portégé Z930/Z830 ranges. Additionally, the Satellite U920t convertible Ultrabook is also eligible, combining the simplicity of a tablet with the functionality and full keyboard of a laptop.

McAfee Anti-Theft software is a collaborative effort with Intel Corporation to develop software that takes advantage of Intel Anti-Theft Technology to provide device and data protection for customers in today’s connected world. With the high rate of laptop theft, it’s more important than ever for people to protect their digital assets.

McAfee Anti-Theft software combines hardware-enabled security with advanced software to keep personal data safe in the event of laptop loss or theft. The solution enables consumers to track a lost or stolen Ultrabook and lock it remotely to protect personal information. McAfee Anti-Theft also includes data encryption and a ‘stealth mode’ that allows the owner of the device to ensure their data is protected while still being able to track it should it be lost or stolen device. Anti-tamper features keep user information secure even if the hard drive is removed or the operating system is re-installed.

McAfee Anti-Theft 2.0 Features

McAfee Anti-Theft protects personal information on lost or stolen Ultrabook devices and it allows consumers to find the location and remotely lock the device. The key features in this latest version include:

Locate and Track:

· Locates and tracks the Ultrabook device based on available Wi-Fi, GPS, or 3G data

File Protection:

· On-the-fly file encryption of personal files; encryption keys are stored in hardware and automatically deleted in the event of theft

· Anti-tamper features prevent uninstallation of the software and keep personal data safe even if the hard drive is removed or the operating system is re-installed

Lock Modes & Methods: 

· Several lock modes including a Lockdown Mode that uses Intel Anti-Theft Technology to completely disable all access to the device, a Stealth Mode that protects the user’s data while still allowing the user to locate the device, plus Vacation and Repair Shop modes that temporarily suspend locking functions

· Lock methods including a user-initiated, manual lock and a time-based auto-lock, which locks based on a user-configurable timer

Customizable Lost & Found Message:

· Allows users to create a customized message that is displayed for an unauthorized user attempting to start up the laptop

Management Console:

· A Web-based tool to quickly and easily initiate a system lock for a lost or stolen device as well as maintain settings and view location history on a map, including addresses

Reactivation:

· User enters an unlock passphrase at system start-up with the option of remote assistance from McAfee Customer Support

For more information on the McAfee Anti-Theft Security offer (including terms and conditions), customers should visit www.toshiba.co.uk/innovation/generic/anti-theft-promotion/ for more details.

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Apple has released a JAVA for OS X update – 2013-001 1.0.

The update includes:

Java for OS X 2013-001 delivers improved security, reliability, and compatibility by updating Java SE 6 to 1.6.0_41.

On systems that have not already installed Java for OS X 2012-006, this update disables the Java SE 6 applet plug-in. To use applets on a web page, click on the region labeled “Missing plug-in” to download the latest version of the Java applet plug-in from Oracle.

You should update now.

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ESET have announced the release of its flagship products ESET Smart Security 6 and ESET NOD32 Antivirus 6.

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ESET Smart Security 6 provides all-in-one internet security while ESET NOD32 Antivirus 6 is a fast and powerful antivirus solution.The new generation provides even greater detection of infiltrations, improved cleaning and faster scanning due to the updated engine. Furthermore, features such as the ESET Social Media Scanner App come as standard with ESET Smart Security 6 as well as ESET NOD32Antivirus 6, protecting against Facebook threats. Customers in particular have valued ESET technology for the past 25 years because of reliable and fast detection.

Another important part of core technology enhancements is improved malware cleaning. A lot of focus has been dedicated to addressing challenging malware families, which resulted in a deeply revamped cleaning module that is even more effective in malware removal, as confirmed by an independent testing lab AV-Comparatives.

ESET Social Media Scanner protects social media users from malicious content, including their profile, wall, newsfeed and private messages, even when the user is not logged in. If an infection is found, a notification arrives by email, so that immediate action can be taken. The app also helps the user’s friends stay a safe distance from malicious content, checking their walls for potentially dangerous links. For more on the scanner, visit http://www.eset.com/social-media-scanner.

The Anti-Theft feature helps locate missing notebooks and makes it possible to monitor activity on lost or stolen devices, while the introduction of a dedicated Anti-Phishing module offers complex protection against digital identity theft.

According to the global Online Security Brand Tracker Survey*,worldwide protection against phishing websites is the most valued among computer users with 68% considering this function important, while protection against data theft is seen as the third most valued in AV products. In the latest AV-Comparatives Product Test**, ESET Smart Security 6 ranked as one of the most effective products blocking almost 94% of threats.The dedicated Anti-Phishing module in V6 includes an extended database of phishing sites as well as verified reports by users via http://phishing.eset.com. The Anti-theft feature was among the most popular, with 546 million respondents considering a worthwhile feature for deleting and locking the stored data in case a notebook is lost or stolen, as well as locating the missing device.The survey confirms that the majority of users, around 80% worldwide, do have a need to protect their data and devices on the go as they use notebooks to connect to the Internet.

Both Version 6 products have received the Windows 8 Certification and use the “Windows 8 Compatible” logo, they are available in the localised Microsoft’s Company Windows 8 Store.

Selected features and benefits of ESET Smart Security 6:

Anti-Theft– Automatically monitors a missing device and displays its position on a map based on visible Wi-Fi networks in range when it comes online.

Anti-PhishingModule – Protects the user from attempts to acquire sensitive information such as usernames, passwords or banking and credit card details by fake websites masquerading as trustworthy ones.

Personal Firewall – Prevents unauthorised users accessing the computer and taking advantage of personal data. The users can go online without worries to shop, bank and use social media.

Parental Control –Helps keep kids safe on the internet with categories of sites to block depending on age.

Idle-State Scanning – Performs in-depth scans when the computer is not used, aiding system performance and detecting potential inactive threats before they can cause any damage.

Selected features and benefits of both ESETNOD32 Antivirus 6and ESET Smart Security 6

ESET Social Media Scanner –it protects the social media user and their friends from malicious content, including profile, the wall, newsfeed and private messages.

Antivirus and Antispyware – Provides proactive protection against all types of online/o­ffline threats and prevents malware spreading to other users.

Cloud­-powered Scanning – Speeds up scans by whitelisting safe files based on ESET’s file reputation database.

Scan While Downloading Files – Decreases access time to downloaded files by scanning them already during the download process.

For more information about the products and a complete list of features and benefits please go to ESET Smart Security 6 and ESET NOD32 Antivirus 6.

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