News & Updates


Updated at 15:30 EST with a response from Brad Wardell and Stardock. See the “Law talking” section near the end.

This morning, original Star Control creators Fred Ford and Paul Reiche III filed a response to Stardock’s Star Control lawsuit, which seeks injunctions and damages against Ford and Reiche for, among other things, alleged willful and intentional trademark infringement and trademark counterfeiting. Ford and Reiche also filed a countersuit against Stardock seeking their own injunctions and damages. The response and counterclaim can be viewed here and here respectively. Stardock’s original filing is over here.

The filings are the latest escalation in what is turning into a deeply acrimonious legal battle over who possesses the rights to publish and sell the classic Star Control trilogy of video games—and who has the rights to create new Star Control games. (Or at least who can name their games “Star Control.”)

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Enlarge / The dot in the lower-right foreground is the supernova, from an image taken by an amateur astronomer. (credit: Víctor Buso and Gastón Folatelli)

Back in 2016, an astronomy enthusiast named Víctor Buso decided it was a good night to test a new camera on his telescope. The test went well enough that hardware in space was redirected to image what he spotted, and Buso now has his name on a paper in Nature.

Lots of amateurs, like Buso, have spotted supernovae. That typically leads to a search of image archives to determine when the last time a specific location was imaged when the supernova wasn’t present—this is often years earlier. Buso didn’t have to search, because his first batch of images contained no sign of the supernova. Then 45 minutes later, it was there, and the supernova continued to brighten as he captured more pictures. Buso had essentially captured the moment when the explosion of a supernova burst out of the surface of a star, and the analysis of the follow-on observations was published on Wednesday.

It went boom

The odd thing about many supernova (specifically those in the category called type II) is that they’re not explosions in the sense of the ones we experience on Earth. In a supernova, the core of the star collapses suddenly, triggering the explosion. But it happens so quickly that the outer layers of the star barely budge. The first overt sign of what’s going on comes when the debris of the explosion reaches the surface of the star, a process called the breakout. This causes the star to suddenly brighten, a process that continues through some ups and downs for days afterward.

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Enlarge / Amazon Go from the outside. (credit: Sam Machkovech)

Amazon’s partly automated retail store, Amazon Go, debuted with a location in Seattle in January, but a new report suggests that expansion plans are already underway. “Multiple people familiar with the company’s plans” told Recode that Amazon could open as many as six new stores by the end of 2018.

Most of these stores would be in Seattle, but Amazon also reportedly wants to expand beyond its home turf by opening one store in Los Angeles. It has spoken with the developer of The Grove, a large shopping plaza in the heart of LA just minutes from Hollywood and Beverly Hills. It’s essentially an upscale, outdoor shopping mall—which is a common structure in LA. Amazon has previously debuted services in LA first after trialing them in Seattle, such as its Amazon Fresh grocery delivery service. LA will also be the first area to be served by a new shipping service planned by the company.

As for the Seattle stores, one source told Recode that Amazon had already identified three new locations last year.

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Enlarge / Nicolas Maduro, Venezuela’s president, speaks during the petro cryptocurrency launch event in Caracas, Venezuela, on Tuesday, February 20, 2018. (credit: Wil Riera/Bloomberg via Getty Images)

Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro claims a new state-sponsored cryptocurrency called the petro raised $735 million on Tuesday—its first day on sale. But the government hasn’t provided any way to independently verify that $735 million figure. And there’s reason to doubt almost everything the Venezuelan government has said about the project.

The presale was a disorganized mess, with basic technical details still being worked out after the sale supposedly began. The petro network itself hasn’t launched yet—allegedly that will happen next month—and the government has hardly released any information about how it’s going to work.

Moreover, there’s little reason to believe that the petro will maintain its value over time. The Venezuelan government has portrayed petro tokens as backed by Venezuela’s vast oil reserves, but they’re not. The government is merely promising to accept tax payments in petros at a government-determined exchange rate linked to oil prices. Given the Venezuelan government’s history of manipulating exchange rates, experts say investors should be wary of this arrangement.

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The little system that could (continue selling despite age and competition). (credit: Kyle Orland)

About a year ago, we took a look at some historical sales data and publicly speculated that sales for the Nintendo 3DS would quickly drop after the Nintendo Switch launch. But while Switch sales continue at a blistering pace, someone forgot to tell the people to stop buying Nintendo’s older portable.

Industry tracking firm NPD reported yesterday that 3DS sales in the United States are healthier than ever by some measures. In 2018, the system had its best January since 2014 in terms of dollar sales and since 2013 in terms of unit sales. This despite the fact that there were no major releases for the system in the month (though big games like Pokemon Ultra Sun and Moon and Fire Emblem Warriors did come out just a few months ago).

It’s hard to identify a trend in one surprisingly successful month, of course. But looking at 3DS sales more broadly shows the system continuing to find an audience in Switch’s shadow. In the nine months following the Switch’s late March 2017 launch, Nintendo shipped 5.86 million 3DSes worldwide. That’s down just nine percent from the 6.42 million in sales over the same nine-month period in 2016, before the Switch was available. And it’s down only a hair from 5.89 million shipments during the same period in 2015 when the 3DS was much newer.

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Enlarge / FCC Chairman Ajit Pai listens during a Senate Appropriations Subcommittee hearing in Washington, DC, on June 20, 2017. (credit: Getty Images | Bloomberg)

Can states force Internet service providers to uphold net neutrality? That’s one of the biggest unanswered questions raised by the Federal Communications Commission vote to repeal its net neutrality rules.

After the FCC vote, lawmakers in more than half of US states introduced bills to protect net neutrality in their states. The governors of five states have signed executive orders to protect net neutrality.

The major obstacle for states is that FCC Chairman Ajit Pai has claimed the authority to preempt states and municipalities from imposing laws similar to the net neutrality rules his FCC is getting rid of. ISPs that sue states to block net neutrality laws will surely seize on the FCC’s repeal and preemption order.

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One of the smallest members of Apple’s product lineup may get a useful update this year. According to a Bloomberg report, Apple is working on new models of its AirPod wireless earbuds. One could debut later this year with an updated wireless chip and another with a water-resistant design may come out in 2019.

AirPods arrived in 2016 alongside the iPhone 7 as a solution to the smartphone’s lack of headphone jack. The W1 chip inside the AirPods helps it connect almost immediately to a user’s Apple products. According to the report, Apple is developing a new model with a new wireless chip that helps it better manage Bluetooth connections. It’s unclear if this new chip will be a variation of the W2 chip, which debuted with the Apple Watch Series 3 last year, or an entirely new one.

This year’s new model may also give users voice activation for Apple’s virtual assistant Siri. Currently, users must tap the side of an AirPod and then say “Hey Siri” to use voice commands. In the new AirPod models, summoning Siri would be hands-free, requiring only a voice command and no physical prompt.

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The tech giants McAfee and Cisco published to reports that providers further info about the global impact of cybercrime.

Which is the cost of cybercrime? It is hard to provide an effective a good estimation of the overall impact of the numerous phenomena that happen every day, including cyber attacks, data breaches, scams and so on.

The tech giants McAfee and Cisco published to reports that providers further info about the global impact of cybercrime.

According to the report was written by McAfee in collaboration with the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS), the global cost is estimated at $600 billion annually, a disconcerting figure that corresponds to 0.8% of the global GDP. The value is jumped from  $500 billion in 2014 to $600 billion (+20%).

“In 2014, taking into account the full range of costs, CSIS estimated that cybercrime cost the world between $345 billion and $445 billion. As a percentage of global GDP, cybercrime cost the global economy 0.62% of GDP in 2014. Using the same methods, CSIS now believe the range is now between $445 billion and $600 billion.” states the report.

The jump is mainly caused by the significant increase of theft of intellectual property and business confidential information, intellectual property theft accounts for at least 25% of overall cybercrime costs.

The cost of cybercrime is distributed among all the countries of the world, no one is immune. The report shows variations by region, that are linked to income levels and level of cybersecurity maturity, the countries with greater losses are the richest ones.

cost of cybercrime 2017

According to the report, Russia leads cybercrime activities worldwide, the reports also highlighted the thin line between crime rings and nation-state actors.

“CSIS believes that Russia leads overall in cybercrime, reflecting the skill of its hacker community and its disdain for western law enforcement. The complex and close relationship between the Russian state and Russian organized crime means that Russia provides a sanctuary for the most advanced cybercriminals, whose attention focuses on the financial sector.” continues the report.

Ransomware are a profitable business for the criminal ecosystem, currently, more than 6,000 black marketplaces offer for sale such kind of malware and related services, an overall offer of more than
45,000 different products.

The second report published by Cisco confirmed the worrisome trends for cybercrime activities, the document is based on interviews with 3,600 CISOs. According to Cisco almost any attack will cost to the victims at least $500,000. The cost dramatically increased for 8% of companies in the Cisco report that admitted that cyber attacks had cost them over $5 million, 11% the companies suffered economic losses between $2.5 million and $4.9 million.

Cisco highlighted the risk of attacks aimed to the supply chain of the companies. these attacks have increased in complexity and frequency.

Let me suggest reading both studies, they offer an interesting analysis of criminal ecosystem and of the overall cost of cybercrime.

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Pierluigi Paganini

(Security Affairs – cost of cybercrime, hacking)

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The post The Global cost of cybercrime jumped up to $600 Billion appeared first on Security Affairs.

Source: Security affairs

Enlarge (credit: Jonathan Gitlin)

Cadillac’s flagship CT6 might not have the best interior in its class. It might not have the sharpest, track-honed handling. It doesn’t have a butter-smooth V12 engine. It definitely doesn’t have the best infotainment system. And yet, it is carrying the most exciting technology being offered in any production vehicle on sale in 2018.

Called Super Cruise, Cadillac’s new tech represents the best semi-autonomous system on the market. In fact, Super Cruise is so good, I think General Motors needs to do everything it can to add it to the company’s entire model range, post-haste.

You sure sound excited about this thing

Regular readers will know this isn’t the first time I’ve written about Super Cruise. In fact, at last year’s New York auto show, we awarded it an Ars Best distinction in the “Automotive Technology” field—a bold move for new technology that we had yet to actually test.

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