Make your Windows XP-using friends/family members read this important PSA
Microsoft has officially pulled the plug on support for Windows XP. That’s it. Finite. Done. No more. Don’t expect to see any future patches, services packs, fixes, hotfixes, critical updates, anything — if you’re one of the one-fourth of desktop users or so who are still running the antiquated operating system (yes, there’s that many of you), you’re about to enter the Wild Wild West of computing.
Game publisher Ubisoft today confirmed that one of its websites suffered a security breach and that the person or people responsible made off with usernames, email addresses, and encrypted passwords. Ubisoft stressed that it doesn't store any personal payment information, meaning no debit or credit card data was stolen as a result of this server hack. Nevertheless, Ubisoft recommends that you change your password right away.
As if Mondays aren't challenging enough to get through as it is, many of the websites belonging to GoDaddy's 10.5 million customers were unplugged yesterday afternoon following a hacker attack. A day later, GoDaddy is still working to completely restore service across the board. Twitter user @AnonymousOwn3r took responsibility for the attack, and interestingly enough, Anonymous is trying to distance itself from the rogue hacker.
Here's the problem with breathlessly reporting on every purported Anonymous hack the second it happens: most of the time, the breaches don't turn out to be a big deal. Take yesterday for example; after a hacker posted a 1.7GB torrent containing server files from the "Bureau of Justice" on the Pirate Bay, early headlines blared variations of "OMG! ANON HAX DEPT. OF JUSTICE!" Unfortunately (fortunately?), that's only kinda true.
George Hotz, or GeoHot if we're to use one of his more familiar aliases, made a name for himself in the hacking world by creating jailbreak software for Apple's iPhone. But when spotted by BusinessInsider at Backplane, a startup funded by Lady Gaga, he introduced himself as the hacker who was sued by Sony, a distinction he earned after cracking the PlayStation 3's security key. He did not introduce himself as a Facebook employee.
A quick consult of the Chinese calendar says that we’re knee-deep in the Year of the Rabbit, but it seems a lot more like the Year of the Hacker to us. Fortunately, most of the LulzSec and Anonymous bru-ha-ha that dominated the summer seems to have died down, but Square Enix is delivering a hacktastic lump of coal to its customers just in time for Christmas. Yesterday, the company revealed that its servers had been breached an up to 1.8 million member accounts may have been compromised.
Script kiddies and hacker organizations are more annoying than freakin’ cock-uh-roaches, but Washington’s trying to stomp on the buggers before the problem gets out of control. The Obama administration’s looking to up the penalties already on the books as part of the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act, and they're seeking the ability to hit hackers even harder. Washington wants to make CFAA crimes applicable to the RICO law used to toss mobsters like Whitey Bulger and members of the Gambino crime family in jail.
One of the godfathers of PC gaming, AMD, sweetened the deal on some of its Radeon graphics cards by making an offer gamers couldn’t refuse: buy the card and get a digital copy of DiRT 3 for free. Unfortunately for AMD, rather than drumming up interest and shooting Radeon cards to the top of the sales charts, the offer turned into more of a “horse head in the bed” affair after hackers pilfered 3 million activation keys.
Linux end users may not have to worry about malware too often, but apparently, folks who like to roll their own code still draw the attention of hackers. Kernel.org, the online repository of the Linux kernel, is reporting that it fell victim to a security breach in August. Don’t start screaming and unplugging your Ubuntu PCs just quite yet, though – the administrators believe the attack only compromised users who accessed the kernel.org site, and not the Linux source code itself.
Remember when we told you that British police had rounded up the man they believed was Topiary, the smart-mouthed wise cracker who served as the spokesman for the infamous LulzSec hacking group? Since then, rumors saying that they got the wrong guy have been floating around the Internet. Was the man in custody a dupe framed by the actual Topiary? British police don't think so, and the stuff they found on the Jake Davis' laptop seems pretty damning. But he's still out on bail.