Game-makers have had a field day making examples out of cheaters the past few weeks. Most recently, a pair of Overwatch hackers were charged in South Korea as a result of a year-long investigation by the region’s police. Working with Blizzard (translated), the Seoul National Police Agency Cyber Security Department arrested a baker’s dozen hackers total, according to Kotaku,
Should one of the offenders violate his probation terms (two years), he’ll be put in jail. The other ne’er-do-well has been fined ₩10,000,000 ($9,286.43). This case is an instance where the state is flexing its legal muscle. As of last June, it was illegal to create and distribute game hacks in South Korea, where the maximum fine is around $50,000 or five years in prison for doing so. Last July, Blizzard sued a German developer for its hacking app, Watchover Tyrant.
Late last month, Epic decided to move forward with its lawsuit against an alleged 14 year-old hacker. If you’ll remember, the hacker’s mom claimed that her son’s name was wrongly released, and that since he was underage and playing without her permission, he shouldn’t be held responsible for cheating. Epic countered that her claims were irrelevant, using legal precedent to dispute her view that there wasn’t a binding contract between Epic and her son.
Earlier this week, it was revealed that Chinese authorities had arrested some 15 hackers, collectively fining them over $4.5 million.
It makes sense: developers are sinking millions into making these games constantly evolving platforms rather than pumping out sequels in some cases. If they let bad apples ruin the experience, eventually anyone who wants to play the game without being killed thanks to wall hacks or aim-bots will go elsewhere. The more online-only and esports-minded games we see, the more common litigation against hackers will likely become.
Source: Blizzard Korea (translated)
Amazon and Jay-Z’s Roc Nation are working together to produce a documentary starring rapper Meek Mill and his battle with the US criminal justice system over the past 10 years. According to Variety, the documentary series will have six episodes and those involved are targeting a premiere sometimes in 2019.
The documentary series will focus specifically on the incarceration of rapper Robert Rihmeek Williams. Meek Mill served five months for violating his probation and was released from jail last month. His offense? Popping a wheelie in an Instagram video while failing to wear a helmet. The series will look at Meek Mill’s personal battle for justice, as well as the higher rates of incarceration of people of color in the US.
“I’m grateful for this unique opportunity to share my story and I look forward to collaborating with Amazon Prime Video, Roc Nation and the Intellectual Property Corporation on this incredible series,” Meek Mill said to Variety. “Not only will this documentary give viewers an unprecedented look at my life, but it will also allow me to use my public platform to highlight the need for criminal justice reform.”
PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds players can now opt to avoid the much-maligned desert map, as the game’s map selection feature is now available on PC. You can select which map or maps you’d like to play on, though there are currently only two choices — original island Erangel and desert locale Miramar. It’s not clear when the smaller map being tested will hit the live servers to offer a third option. If a player selects more than one map, the game will choose which to toss them into.
The latest patch also adds a new car, weapon attachments and a designated marksman rifle, as well as some weapon balance changes. Pistols deal a little more damage and most sub-machine guns received a boost. On the other hand, several shotguns and assault rifles now deliver one fewer damage point per round.
The map selection option distinguishes PUBG slightly from other popular shooters, since Fortnite has just one ever-changing map and Overwatch players have no choice over the map into which they’re funneled. Organizing players into separate queues might lead to longer wait times for a match, especially if there’s a big imbalance in the number of people trying to get into one map. Some players hated Miramar so much they deleted the map from their game files to avoid playing on it, so map selection is likely to prove a popular feature.
PUBG also has a new War Mode event, in which 10 teams of five duke it out on Miramar. After each death, players respawn on one of the planes that fly over every 40 seconds and drop in with a gun, grenades, helmet and vest already in their inventories. Teams earn points through kills and knockdowns, and the first squad to 200 points wins.
Finally, PUBG has placed a temporary block on players trading items outside of the Steam market. The “personal trade” feature was intended to let friends swap items without any money changing hands, but, inevitably, some players sold their skins through third-party sites. That’s “an abuse of the system,” PUBG Corporation said in a blog post, so it’s turned off personal trades while it finds a solution.
Via: PC Gamer
Source: PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds
Google’s Advanced Protection Program can be extremely valuable if you’re a high-profile hacking target who’s willing to trade a ton of convenience for some extra peace of mind. However, you’ve had to use Google’s apps to get that protection — and that’s a pain on iOS, where you have to download Google’s apps. Or rather, you did. As of now, people enrolled in the program can use iOS’ native calendar, contact and email apps rather than having to shake up their smartphone habits. If you log in to your Google account with any of those apps, you’ll get special instructions for completing the sign-in process.
The list of supported apps across platforms will “continue to expand,” Google added.
The APP is effectively to the hacks that defined the 2016 US presidential election, but it’s ultimately intended for anyone who sees intrusions as a very real possibility, not just politicians or celebrities. And that makes this expansion particularly important. Many everyday iPhone owners don’t want to (or wouldn’t immediately know how to) switch apps just to bolster their security, and Google’s change spares them that trouble.
This week’s IRL heads to the theater, where the latest Marvel flick is setting box-office records. Find out how several of our editors felt about it (spoiler-free, although we can’t guarantee anything about the comments section below), as well as our thoughts on a few new series from Netflix, Hulu and HBO.
Lost in Space
It’s been quite a while since I watched the original Lost in Space, but something tells me its weird mashup of sixties-style drama and campy sci-fi doesn’t hold up too well. When I was a kid devouring as many reruns of the show as possible, I identified with Robbie the Robot, because, well, we had the same name. In the current reboot of the show, currently streaming on Netflix, I connect more with the parents. Lost in Space is now a family drama that brings all the modern complexity of human relationships to the crash-landed colonists whose journey was interrupted by a catastrophe on the mothership en route to Alpha Centauri. How do you keep your kids (or yourselves) safe when that happens?
Without spoiling too much of the plot, I’ll say that the first episode caught my attention immediately. From the zero-gravity card game to a horrifying scene in which the oldest Robinson daughter gets frozen in place after brashly diving down to the crashed family spaceship — and let’s not forget the beautiful bonding of the youngest child and the new, unpredictable alien robot (Danger, Will Robinson, indeed) — I was hooked.
The plots of the individual episodes are a little loose at times, and the tone of the show varies wildly; season 2 would do well with some tightening up in these areas. The stellar acting, however, makes up for it. Molly Parker is fantastic as engineer mom Maureen Robinson; her competence at holding things together just barely keep her family intact. Parker Posey is spot-on, too; her take on the morally ambiguous Dr. Smith makes the show worth watching on its own. The children are decent, though Maxwell Jenkins’ Will Robinson may be the least watchable — his robot gives a more compelling performance, to be honest. Middle child Penny (played by Mina Sundwall) is as impetuous as she is kind; her portrayal adds a necessary warmth and sparkle to the ensemble cast. Taylor Russell plays 18-year-old Dr. Judy Robinson as plucky yet vulnerable; her breakdown while encased in ice is a highlight of the role. While it took me a few episodes to warm up to Taylor Russell’s absentee father John Robinson, the subsequent thawing of his soldier persona has made him a more relatable character. Ignacio Serricchio plays pilot Don West as a lovable smuggling rogue with a heart of gold; the role is familiar to anyone who’s seen Han Solo or Guardian Peter Quill, but Serricchio is able to play both sides of his character nicely.
It’s good to see a sci-fi television show that’s able to appeal to both adults and children. If you loved Earth 2, you’d dig this one. It’s also fantastic to have a more nuanced take on the realities of being a family, with parents who struggle to manage their relationship while they still work together to take care of their kids. Having more colonists involved is a nice change, too. Is it perfect? No, but it does fill a hole in the current sci-fi television oeuvre with a less gritty, still thrilling take on the genre. The mysteries at the center of the show (Who is this robot? Why did we crash? When will they see through Dr. Smith’s BS?) are compelling enough to keep bingeing one episode after another; the solid acting and superb production values are just extra reasons to give this one a try.
The Looming Tower
Senior News Editor
It can be tough to watch movies and television that remind us of dark times in history. And I’ll admit, I wasn’t prepared for the feels I’d get from watching Hulu’s The Looming Tower series. The miniseries is based on the Lawrence Wright book of the same name, chronicling the work of the FBI’s I-49 squad in NYC and the CIA’s Alec Station in Washington, DC. The general premise both the book and the show assert, based on actual accounts (the book is nonfiction), is that if the FBI and the CIA shared intelligence and resources, perhaps 9/11 could’ve been avoided.
There’s no way to know that, of course, but The Looming Tower doesn’t need to prove it. Instead, it offers an eye-opening look into how US agencies tracked and investigated Al Qaeda following events like US embassy bombings in Tanzania and Kenya and the attack on the USS Cole in Yemen. It also tells a bit of the story from the other side, offering a view into the mindset of Osama bin Laden and his followers. The result is gripping television, even though you know exactly where the story is headed.
The Looming Tower has powerful performances by Jeff Daniels (John O’Neill) and Peter Sarsgaard (Martin Schmidt) as the heads of the FBI’s I-49 and the CIA’s Alec Station, respectively. Despite that duo being among the biggest names on the cast list, Tahar Rahim’s role as Muslim Lebanese-American FBI agent Ali Soufan is the best on the show. As Soufan, Rahim has to battle with staying true to himself while also doing his job. He’s continually called on to travel abroad — primarily because he speaks Arabic. He takes offense to the perversion of Islam and even goes undercover in spots where Al Qaeda gather to try and obtain intel.
The show also offers a look into the personal lives of these people. You get an up-close look at O’Neill’s personal finance problems, caused mostly by the fact that he’s having multiple affairs. There’s also Soufan’s budding romance with an American teacher, which is regularly interrupted by calls for him to hop on a plane. And then there’s the professional dark side, a place where I-49’s repeated requests for information are shut down by Alec Station — almost always directed by Schmidt.
The suspense of knowing what’s coming and wanting to know what happened immediately beforehand makes for some very compelling viewing. At 10 episodes, the miniseries never seems to drag or hit a lull, like some 13-episode (or more) seasons tend to do. And yes, at times it’s infuriating to the point that it’s hard to watch — like some of the remarks from national security adviser Condoleezza Rice during intelligence briefings for George W. Bush. I chalk all of that up to some A-plus performances across the entire cast (Wrenn Schmidt is also very good as CIA analyst Diane Marsh) and the source material. Take the most significant terrorist attack on US soil, toss in a compelling narrative about how government intelligence made some mistakes and add some great performances. The result is one of the best originals from Hulu thus far.
Timothy J. Seppala
When I first saw trailers for Barry on HBO, I wasn’t sure what to make of the network’s new dark comedy. I’ve never been Bill Hader’s biggest fan, but generally, when he winds up in something like Superbad or an SNL rerun, I’m happy to see him. He was great opposite Amy Schumer (and LeBron James) in Trainwreck, too, and he brings the same type of awkward everyman approachability to the title role here.
Barry stumbled into an LA acting class while shadowing a target for the Chechen mob, fell for the plucky blonde with stars in her eyes (Sarah Goldberg) and decided that contract killing was no longer the life for him. It’s too bad, then, that he can’t emote in front of an audience and his handler (Stephen Root) keeps assigning him contracts. Killing someone with his bare hands is easy compared with running lines from Macbeth. Barry’s calm and ruthlessly efficient with a weapon, too, but when his acting teacher (Henry Winkler) assigns him Alec Baldwin’s monologue about “closers” from Glengarry Glen Ross, it’s like watching in horror as a two-year-old fumbles with a .45. Speaking from the heart is a different story, though, and it’s enough to get him a second shot at joining the class.
Everyone in class is relentlessly supportive of one another, at least on the surface, offering Barry help running lines and just hanging out in general. It reminds me a lot of how a friend’s improv troupe gets on in real-life LA. There’s definitely a queen bee, and now, roughly halfway through the season, cracks in the group’s dynamics are coming to light.
Barry wouldn’t be nearly as effective if it weren’t for its cast of supporting characters. My personal favorites? Bumbling Chechen mobster Goran Pazar and his bald henchman NoHo Hank. The former tortures enemies in his garage but gets yelled at by his wife because the screams are disrupting their youngest daughter’s slumber party. Think Tony Soprano meets Archie Bunker and you’re halfway there. NoHo Hank, on the other hand, unwittingly uses smiling Bitmoji to confirm hits via text message and left a lipstick camera at the scene of a crime.
The show is full of smaller roles like this, and they’re what makes Barry so endearing. All the principals are trying to better themselves in some way, denying their programming to pursue something that makes them happy. In Barry’s case, it’s acting. For Goldberg’s Sally, it’s overcoming Hollywood’s salacious business practices and standing up for herself. The Chechen mobsters struggle to keep their kids and wives happy while maintaining the family business and keeping quiet in the garage.
Subplots like seeing how long NoHo Hank can outrun his own idiocy, or watching Barry’s acting chops develop at a lethargic pace are more interesting than his potential arrest. Slowly, as the tale of a hitman who wants out of his day job has unfolded week after week, it’s become the show I look forward to most come Sunday night. Or, to be 100 percent accurate, Monday afternoon.
Avengers: Infinity War
Six years ago, the first Avengers film fit half a dozen A-list superheroes into a cohesive two-hour plot and was hailed as an unprecedented success. The movies have only gotten bigger and more connected since, and Avengers: Infinity War folds in nearly two dozen heroes and side characters from the 18 previous films of the Marvel Cinematic Universe. As such, a lot happens, and the film doesn’t slow down, so get ready for a hero mashup roller coaster of epic proportions. But in efficiently translating universe-spanning comics events to film, Avengers: Infinity War also inherits their faults: Emotional beats get rushed off-screen, the franchise-mixing suffers from tonal friction and the villain’s thin motive and plan are (once again) the weakest parts of an Avengers film. But who cares? It’s a heckuva ride, with a scale of spectacle unrivaled in film. See it before the shocking parts get spoiled.
Avengers: Infinity War
Breathtaking, heartbreaking and draining, Infinity War is a deeply emotional ride that had me cringing, cheering and cowering throughout. Ultimately, it left me overwhelmed, looking for words that I’m not sure exist. But, like, in a good way — the way evocative movies stay with you long after the initial catharsis wears off.
You may also have heard this from others, but this felt very much like a Star Wars movie. Do other moviegoers a favor, though: If you’re not up to speed on the MCU’s latest developments, please catch up before going to see IW in theaters. This is a film that relies heavily on its established history, and it was annoying when the poor guy next to me had to keep explaining things to his partner, especially at the tensest moments. If you’re a Marvel fan, this is a must-see. Conversations from now until the sequel’s release next year will be dominated by what happened here, and you can’t escape the spoilers forever. Watch it ASAP and prepare to have your world(s) rocked — no: shaken to its very core.
Avengers: Infinity War
Avengers: Infinity War is a lot. It’s an ambitious attempt at uniting the entire Marvel Cinematic Universe, which includes 18 films and a slew of superheroes. So, not surprisingly, everything feels a bit rushed. Characters we’ve known for years meet for the first time and get killed off in the blink of an eye. Thanos’ quest for the Infinity Stones feels almost like a video game, going level by level, with increasing amounts of collateral damage. And while the film makes room for the quirky quips we’ve come to expect from Marvel’s heroes, they sometimes feel obligatory.
It’s a long film, at two and a half hours, but, paradoxically, it likely would have been stronger if it had even more room to breathe. That would have given the big dramatic moments more time to shine, instead of feeling like we’re jetting from plot point to plot point. That’s not to say there’s nothing to enjoy — the epic throwdowns are glorious, and at times it feels like a fever dream for comic geeks. But Infinity War is like watching a supercut of a season of TV, instead of a coherent movie, like the first Avengers film (or even the much maligned Age of Ultron). By the end, you’ll either buy the stakes Marvel is throwing down or roll your eyes at the false drama of it all, thanks to a follow-up film already set to arrive in 2019.
“IRL” is a recurring column in which the Engadget staff run down what they’re buying, using, playing and streaming.
Sonos announced today that it will be hosting an event in June and its invite included the image below. While it’s not yet clear exactly what’s on the docket for this event, it could have something to do with a Sonos FCC filing reported earlier this week. It suggests the company will soon introduce a new smart home speaker and describes the device as a “high-performance, all-in-one home theater smart speaker and part of Sonos’ home sound system.” And according to the filing, it looks like for audio, Sonos will be swapping its typical optical out for an HDMI port instead.
The event will take place in San Francisco on June 6th.
Right now, your web browser’s response to auto-playing content tends to take one of two extremes: either it mutes everything or blasts your ears. But there are some times you do want sound right away, such as a livestream or a game — do you have to remember to turn sound on every time there, too? Google doesn’t think you have to. The latest version of Chrome automatically mutes and plays tabs based on your browsing history. If you tend to slap the mute button most of the time on a given site, Chrome will eventually provide blissful silence all on its own. Let the audio flow on a regular basis, however, and Chrome will know to leave that site alone.
You don’t need a history for this to work, either. If you have a clean slate, Chrome will default to autoplaying on 1,000-plus sites where users tend to be comfortable with sound. Google readily admits that there will be moments where you’ll have to unmute a clip, but it’s betting that this will offer a more “predictable” surfing experience over time.
Source: Google Chrome Blog
Google today announced that it has expanded support for its Advanced Protection Program to native Apple apps that include Apple Mail, Calendar, and Contacts, improving the feature for iOS users.
For those unfamiliar with the Advanced Protection Program, it’s designed for high-profile Google product users who need maximum protection from hacking attempts. It’s a feature aimed at journalists, activists, business leaders, and others who feel vulnerable to targeted security breaches.
The Advanced Protection Program offers Google’s strongest security against phishing, accidental sharing, and fraudulent account access through the use of two physical Security Keys and restrictions on what apps and services can access Google content.
Prior to today, the Advanced Protection Program only allowed customers to use Google apps, but it is now expanding to encompass dedicated Apple apps so iOS users will not need to change their usage habits.
Apple’s Mail, Calendar, and Contacts apps can now access Google’s Gmail, Calendar, and Contacts data. Google users can learn more about the Advanced Protection Program and enable it through Google’s Advanced Protection Program website.
Discuss this article in our forums
Despite the recent loss of Virgin America, competition in the skies over the U.S. is as fierce as ever.
JetBlue’s founding mission is to “bring humanity back to air travel,” and on Wednesday, May 2, it launched a new interior for its A320 aircraft that it hopes will help it to maintain its lofty pledge.
Marking the first major cabin overhaul of the carrier’s original fleet since the airline launched in 2000, the new design offers plenty of goodies.
First up, passengers will be able to kick back in a comfier seat, which, at 18 inches, is the widest available for the A320. JetBlue is also promising the most leg room in coach of any U.S. airline and adjustable headrests that it describes as “a new feature for JetBlue’s A320s.”
Expanded entertainment choices will be offered via 10.1-inch high-definition seat-back displays that feature picture-in-picture capability. Flyers will find more than 100 TV channels, plus an extensive choice of on-demand movies, TV shows, and games. There’ll also be an “enhanced 3D flight map” so you can track progress to your destination.
NFC pairing will be possible, too, turning personal handheld devices into remotes or gaming controllers, while improved Fly-Fi connectivity will provide coverage to almost the entire JetBlue network.
Passengers will also find at least two “easily accessible” power connections at every seat, and new LED lighting will enhance the look and tone of the in-cabin ambiance.
JetBlue boasted that the new cabin interior creates an environment “that feels more like lounging in your living room than flying at 35,000 feet.”
Certainly, with its focus on comfort, we’re pretty confident JetBlue won’t ever equip its planes with any of the wacky seat designs we’ve been seeing lately, many of which propose squashing us in for short-haul flights.
JetBlue will work steadily over the next nine months to replace its old cabins on 12 aircraft with the new design, with its entire fleet of 130 planes to be fitted out within three years.
The A320 flies to most of JetBlue’s 101 destinations, so with a bit of careful planning when you book your ticket, you should be in for a more comfortable ride.
The first aircraft sporting the new interior took off from Boston Logan International Airport on Wednesday, headed for Bermuda’s L.F. Wade International Airport.
- 9 premium economy classes that let you stretch your legs and your dollar
- Airbus’ latest A350 aircraft to break record for longest commercial flight
- Squeeze up! The latest Skyrider airplane seat still looks really uncomfortable
- 11 best pre-flight safety videos worth switching your iPad off for
- Sleep tight: Airbus wants to fill plane cargo holds with beds
At the end of last year, Apple admitted to slowing down older iPhones to preserve battery life and stabilize performance. Customers were upset about Apple’s lack of transparency regarding the issue, and the company apologized by offering to replace batteries for a reduced fee.
But Apple later said that if it finds any phone damage that could hinder the replacement process, it will have to make the necessary repairs — and charge for them — before it can fit the battery. While that may sound reasonable, the company now stands accused of being overly harsh in implementing the terms of the replacement service, with some iPhone owners claiming they’re being asked to pay large sums of money without good reason.
An investigation carried out by the BBC reveals a range of stories from U.K.-based iPhone owners who say that Apple has been finding “unnecessary faults” with their handsets, with the company refusing to replace the battery unless they pay for the repair first.
In the U.K., Apple reduced the fee for a new battery from 79 British pounds ($107) to 25 pounds ($34) until the end of 2018.
Josh Landsburgh told the BBC he feels he’s been treated unfairly by Apple. Landsburgh said he sent away his iPhone for a new battery, but a short while later received an email from the company pointing out a small dent on the edge of the phone. The tech giant said he’d have to pay 200 pounds ($270) to fix the dent before it could replace the battery at the reduced fee.
Landsburgh refused to pay, and had the battery replaced locally without any issues. The action meant, however, that he voided his Apple warranty.
“They’re trying to regain trust and they come back to you with, ‘Give us more money than you were planning to initially,’” he told the BBC.
Another customer, David Bowler, said Apple found a fault inside his phone — with the speaker and microphone — and told him he’d have to pay 250 pounds ($340) to sort it out before a new battery could be fitted. Bowler insisted there was nothing wrong with his phone, a claim verified by the BBC when it sent the handset to an independent repair specialist.
On its website, Apple states: “If your iPhone has any damage that impairs the replacement of the battery, such as a cracked screen, that issue will need to be resolved prior to the battery replacement.” But the BBC’s investigators suggest that in some cases, the phone’s fault — if indeed there is one — has no apparent effect on the battery-replacement procedure, and that in light of the controversy that prompted Apple’s discounted offer, the company should be willing to deal with the issue in a more favorable manner.
While it would obviously be unacceptable for the company to “make up” faults with the phone, it would be equally concerning if it was charging customers for repairs that weren’t entirely necessary in order to replace the battery. With the BBC’s investigation having just been broadcast on a consumer affairs show, it will be interesting to see if the turmoil surfaces similar claims among others who have requested a new iPhone battery.
At the end of last year, Apple admitted to slowing down old iPhones. The company said it did so to preserve battery life and stabilize the handset’s performance, as a well-used battery could cause apps to suddenly crash.
Many iPhone owners were upset that Apple hadn’t been clearer about its actions when it began throttling older iPhones via a software update in 2016. Some accused the company of deliberately — and secretly — frustrating users with under-performing handsets to encourage them to fork out for an upgrade, a strategy known as planned obsolescence.
Apple has insisted the system is supposed to benefit customers’ user experience by preserving battery life and reducing the chance of sudden shutdowns with old phones. But the resulting backlash prompted the company to slash the cost of its battery replacement service for iPhones — in the U.S. from $79 to $29 — until the end of 2018.
With the introduction of iOS 11.3 in March, Apple gave owners of its handset more battery data as well as the option to disable throttling.
- Apple offers to replace swollen batteries in certain MacBook Pros
- Third-party display repairs are breaking iPhones after iOS 11.3 update
- Everything you need to know about the performance dip on your iPhone
- Pirelli connects your tires to the IoT network so you can hear them talk
- Resistance isn’t futile! 6 tips for keeping your job amid the robot takeover