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Episode 5 of the of Game of Thrones will air on Sunday. As with episode 4, an outline of the script has been circulating online in what seems to be the latest leak from the huge HBO hack. It seemed like a big deal at first. Nearly two weeks ago, HBO confirmed that hackers had penetrated its servers and stolen some “proprietary information.” A hacker who identifies himself as “Mr. Smith” then leaked the script outline for episode 4 of Game of Thrones, some episodes of Ballers, as well as some information about other HBO shows, like Room 104. At the time, the hacker claimed to have stolen some 1.5 terabytes of data, including information about HBO employees, and demanded a $6 million ransom. But HBO stood fast. Variety reported that the hacked data included the some emails of a senior HBO executive. The entertainment newspaper also claimed that there is an image file that “appears to show screenshots of HBO’s internal administration tools, listing employee names and email addresses and their functions within the organization.” That’s when comparisons to the catastrophic Sony hack of 2014 really heated up. If these hackers released a boatload of private and confidential information, and if the leaked data included financial information about the company, HBO could be in real trouble.

HBO corporate is now reassuring staff that their email inboxes were not implicated in the attack.

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Soniac was one of the three apps found on Google Play, according to a blog post published Thursday by a researcher from mobile security firm Lookout. The app, which had from 1,000 to 5,000 downloads before Google removed it.  Soniac had the ability to record audio, take phones, make calls, send text messages, and retrieve logs, contacts, and information about Wi-Fi access points. Google ejected the app after Lookout reported it as malicious. Two other apps—one called Hulk Messenger and the other Troy Chat—were also available in Play but were later removed. It’s not clear if the developer withdrew the apps or if Google expelled them after discovering their spying capabilities.  The apps are all part of a malware family Lookout calls SonicSpy.

Once installed, SonicSpy apps remove their launcher icon to hide their presence and then establish a connection to the control server located on port 2222 of arshad93.ddns[.]net.

The researcher said SonicSpy has similarities to another malicious app family called SpyNote, which security firm Palo Alto Networks reported last year. The name of the developer account—iraqwebservice—and several traits found in the apps’ code suggest the developer is located in Iraq. Additionally, much of the domain infrastructure associated with SonicSpy has references to that country. The phrase “Iraqian Shield” appears constantly. Lookout is continuing to follow leads suggesting the developer is based in that part of the world.

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Nothing is certain just yet, but discussions are a positive step forward for the recognition of esports at the Olympics.

Esports will be present at the Asian Games, the Olympic Council of Asia announced in April. An event recognized by the IOC, the Asian Games’ esports program will likely help push along the Paris Olympic bid committee with their discussions.

Team EnVyUs has secured a major investment from Hersh Family Investment and Interactive Group, according to an ESPN report.

The group is led by Kenneth Hersh, an executive in the oil and natural gas industry, and is based in Texas. The company reportedly offered EnVyUs a $35 million deal, which would make it one of the biggest acquisitions in the esports sector. EnVyUs is headquartered in Charlotte, North Carolina, but will relocate to Dallas to align with its reported Overwatch League slot, ESPN said.

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The study found that “motherF………” was used 678 times more often in the mid-2000s than the early 1950s, occurrences of “s..t” multiplied 69 times, and “f..k” was 168 times more frequent.

Led by Jean Twenge, author and psychology professor at San Diego State University, the team analysed the titles making up the Google Books corpus of American English books published between 1950 and 2008, looking for uses of the words “s..t”, “”, “f..k”, “c..t”, “c……r”, “motherfr”, and other curse words”.

Overall, they found that writers were “significantly more likely to use swearwords in the years since 1950”, with books published in 2005-2008 28 times more likely to include swearwords than books published in the early 1950s. The paper that was publishefd“American culture increasingly values individual self-expression and weaker social taboos, and these trends are manifested in the increasing use of swearwords.”

Twenge and her fellow authors, graduate student Hannah Van Landingham and University of Georgia psychology professor W Keith Campbell, link the rise of profanities in US literature to the increasingly individualistic nature of the country’s culture, as well as the relaxation of societal taboos.

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Disney will be launching a new, stand-alone ESPN streaming service in 2018. This is wonderful news to those who have left cable behind but still yearn to watch sports. It is also big for ESPN, which has had a rough couple of years. The sports media empire lost 12 million subscribers since its peak in 2011, and the company fired a number of high-profile employees in 2017, including NBA reporters Marc Stein and Chad Ford. Former ESPN writer Bill Simmons claimed that the company was too slow to recognize the importance of digital infrastructure. 

The new ESPN service will offer “approximately 10,000 live regional, national, and international games and events a year, including Major League Baseball, National Hockey League, Major League Soccer, Grand Slam tennis, and college sports. Individual sport packages will also be available for purchase, including MLB.TVNHL.TV and MLS Live.”

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Hackers who posted several of HBO’s new episodes and a “Game of Thrones” script online in late July have published a month’s worth of emails from the inbox of one of the entertainment company’s executives. The Hackers also addressed a video letter to HBO CEO Richard Plepler that demands the company demand payment of money, although the figure was redacted, according to the report. The hackers said HBO marked their 17th victim, and only three have failed to pay. HBO said its forensic review of the incident is ongoing and noted that it believed further leaks were forthcoming.

HBO private emails in the hands of hackers, came Monday in an email message to The Hollywood Reporter that also contained nine files with such labels as “Confidential” and “Script GOT7.” The hackers also delivered a video letter to HBO CEO Richard Plepler that says, “We successfully breached into your huge network. … HBO was one of our difficult targets to deal with but we succeeded (it took about 6 months).”

They say that the frequency of the attacks has overwhelmed the FBI’s Los Angeles field office, which has been unable to properly investigate all of them. The FBI’s surprising advice, according to industry sources: Pay the ransom.

FBI spokesperson in the L.A. office denied that the agency is telling companies to cough up the bitcoins in cases of ransomware. “The FBI does not encourage payment of ransom as it keeps the criminals in business,” says Laura Eimiller. “Of course, the individual victim must weigh their options.”

“The FBI will say it’s easier to pay it than it is to try to fight to get it back,” says Hemanshu Nigam, a former federal prosecutor of online crime in L.A. and onetime chief security officer for News Corp. “And if one company pays the ransom, the entire hacking community knows about it.”

 

 

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