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The Lizards Who Stole Christmas: Lizard Squad Makes Good on Threats

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At the beginning of December, Lizard Squad, earlier reported here as being linked to the Sony Pictures hacks primarily credited to the Guardians of Peace, promised to take down the Sony PlayStation Network and the XBOX Live network on Christmas day. The group’s Twitter account was lively on Christmas day ranging from bizarre rap lyrics to seemingly arbitrary demands.

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Also read: When Lizards Attack: Security Experts Say Lizard Squad Likely Involved in Sony Hack

They apparently made good on their threat, with access to the networks being limited or not at all. A Twitter user even claimed to be the leader of the group, as seen below, and in another tweet said that the networks would not be let back up if he did not reach 5,000 followers by the end of the night.

For the Lulz

Lizard SquadThe group, as earlier reported, “does what they do because they can do what they do,” and provides no political or financial motive for its public attacks. Conversely, the attacks it does not publicize are done for money, they claim, adding that these attacks are less often than the ones they do for fun.

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Taking a democratic bend, they made a poll-like tweet (see below) which said that users should retweet if they wanted to see Xbox Live back online or favorite the tweet if they wanted to see the Sony PlayStation Network back online. At time of writing, far more people apparently wanted their PSN back.

10-2-lizardsquadDespite the claim on their website earlier this year that “behind the green reptiles and other bullshit, we have lives believe it or not, things to do, people to meet,” this latest attack comes on Christmas day, a day that most Westerners spend primarily with their family and friends in celebration. Some might say this act is overall reprehensible since so many children would have been receiving new video games rendered inoperable by lack of access to the online services. Others might speculate that their goal is to urge kids to get offline and spend time in the real world, but the narcissistic nature of their tweeting directly contradicts any such theory.

Images from Lizard Squad and Shutterstock.

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Artificial Intelligence

Students Create Doom AI Which Learns Visually and Kills Humans in Deathmatch

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Two students from Carnegie Mellon University recently placed second in an artificial intelligence competition for their submission of a program that was able to learn the game Doom the same way humans do – by playing.

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Communication

Sony Introduces 2FA for PlayStation Users

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In a long-awaited and overdue move, Sony has finally introduced two-factor authentication to PlayStation users who can now enable the security feature on their PlayStation Network (PSN) accounts.

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Five years after suffering a devastating hack that compromised the user details of some 77 million PlayStation Network users, Sony has introduced two-factor authentication (2FA) on PSN accounts. Sony confirmed the news with a tweet last night, explaining how the feature works.

“By requiring two forms of identification for sign-in, your account and personal information will be better protected.” Sony wrote in its blog.

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Users will be asked to provide a verification code that will be texted to their mobile phones at the time of signing into their PSN account. While the feature isn’t hack-proof (nothing is, really), it provides a much-needed extra layer of protection that a large platform like the PlayStation Network, with over 100 million uses, deserves.

Sony PS 2FA

Sony added:

Passwords can be compromised if you use the same password for multiple accounts, click on malicious links, open phishing emails and other methods.

If your password is compromised and becomes known to someone other than yourself, your account will still require a verification code to gain access when you activate 2-Step Verification.

With the feature, Sony caught up with its console rival Microsoft. The Redmond-based software giant had introduced 2FA for Xbox back in 2013, during the days of Xbox 360. Other platforms which sees millions of users such as Google, Apple, Facebook, Twitter and others have been offering 2FA security for years.

It is perhaps baffling that Sony took as long as it did to introduce 2FA security, after the 2011 breach. At the time, the hack had Sony admitting that names, email addresses, billing addresses, account passwords and some credit card numbers were all exposed. The fallout saw Sony fined by the UK government. Furthermore, Sony also agreed to a settlement in a class action lawsuit, worth millions, granting PSN users in the United States the means to claim damages if they suffered identity theft as a result of the data breach.

Featured image from Shutterstock.

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Fun Hacks

British Whizz Kid Hacks Pokemon Go; Catches Monsters Without Breaking a Sweat

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Pokemon Go

A 25-year-old British former computer science student has discovered a loophole in the popular Pokemon Go allowing him to catch Pokemon without leaving the comfort of his home.

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According to reports, players of the game have resorted to donating thousands of pounds to keep Mark Gore’s ‘bot’ running. Five lawyers are alleged to have urged him to remove the programme.

Mr Gore has stated that his loophole wasn’t designed to take the fun out of the game, which is reported to have seen users harassed by police for walking into restricted areas, according to the British tabloid newspaper, the Sun.

He stated that it was easy exploiting the game, which was created by Niantic. Gore said that over 24,000 people worldwide had been using his site to take advantage of his ‘bot’.

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He said:

I don’t think I’m spoiling people’s fun. If you look at the age bracket of people playing this game, it’s not all teenagers playing. There are a lot of people who work all day and don’t have the time to spend hours each day going out and catching Pokemon.

He added that those who want to can run the program in the comfort of their own home for two hours a day and still maintain the same level of fun to those who walk around collecting Pokemon.

While it certainly adds a level of safety to the game, does it not take away the authentic feel of it too?

Featured image from Matthew Corley via Shutterstock.

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