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Top 10 Tech Fails of 2014

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Here are the top 10 tech fails from this past year. From Mt. Gox to the Icloud nude photo leaks and the more recent Sony hacks, there have been several serious tech fails in 2014: here are the highlights in no particular order.

Also read: Top 10 Things Bitcoin Can Offer the World

Top 10 Tech Fails

ICloud Nude Photos

tech fails

Nude photos of celebrities including Jennifer Lawrence, Kirsten Dunst, Scarlet Johansson, Ariana Grande, Kate Upton and more than 100 others. Hackers were able to obtain access to celebrities accounts through their ICloud accounts through a phishing scheme. By taking advantage of a security flaw in ICloud that allowed unlimited password guesses, the attackers more than likely used brute-force to gain access into the celebrities accounts. While ICloud itself was not hacked, it still brought into question the safety of users accounts on Apple servers – something you don’t want on the heels of the release your mobile-payment service.

The Amazon Fire Phone and Blackberry Passport

Aptly named, the Amazon Fire phone went up in flames and left nothing but a plume of smoke. While Amazon successful generated much hype for their smartphone, it failed to live up the expectations – especially with their poor 3-D display. Amazon is literally giving away their phones for free now. Blackberry didn’t do so well either with their Passport. The phone is big a clunky, too big to hold in one hand and heavy. Combine this with the buggy performance and poor camera, and it’s easy to see why the Passport never made it.

Uber

Despite receiving investments that valued the company at more than $40 billion, 2014 hasn’t been the best year for Uber. In fact, one might say that was the only good thing to happen to Uber this year. It has been reported that several Uber drivers harassed and raped passengers, and one driver ran over a six-year-old child. Uber stalked reporters, and an executive suggested the company should dig up personal information on its biggest critics. Uber has pushed subprime loans on cab operators and sabotaged its biggest rival by ordering nearly 6,000 riders and then canceling them all. They even ran a sexist ad campaign in France!

The Sony Hack

A hack on Sony Pictures released information including personal information and emails from executives, internal memos, compromising the upcoming James Bond movie ‘Spectre’ and emails reportedly suggesting star Andrew Garfield might be booted from the Spider-Man series and more. North Korea is the prime suspect for the hacking in retaliation for their upcoming release of “The Interview” – a film where about a plot to kill Kim Jong-Un.

The Home Depot and Chase Bank Hacked

Ignoring urges made by Home Deports contractors to strengthen its cyber defense by activating a key, unused feature of its current security software; Home Depot fell victim to cyber attacks. Hackers stole 56 million credit and debit cards as well as 53 million email address from Home Depot customers over the spring and summer.

Not to be outdone, hackers were able to break into servers hosting data for JPMorgan Chase & Co, stealing the contact information for 7 million small business and 76 million households, nearly 65% of the US households. This has been one of the largest data breaches in history.

Microsoft and Karma

In October, Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella implied that instead of asking for a raise, women should have faith that their effort and work will be noticed and rewarded. When asked, “What do you advise women who are interested in advancing their careers, but not comfortable … with asking for a raise?”, Nadella replied, “It’s not really about asking for the raise, but knowing and having faith that the system will actually give you the right raises as you go along.” He added that “women who don’t ask for raises” have a “superpower … because that’s good karma, that’ll come back … that’s the kind of person that I want to trust.”

Later Satya Nadella disavowed his controversial comments and apologized saying, “I answered that question completely wrong,” he wrote. “I believe men and women should get equal pay for equal work. And when it comes to career advice on getting a raise when you think it’s deserved, Maria’s advice was the right advice. If you think you deserve a raise, you should just ask.”

Bendgate and iOS 8.0.1 Bricking

Immediately after Apple began selling the Iphone 6 Plus in September, the internet was abuzz with images of bent phones. The hashtag “bendgate” was created by internet personality Lewis Hilsenteger after he posted a video of himself bending the much-anticipated IPhone. Apple insisted that only nine customers had complained about their phone bending during the first week of sales. But wait, there’s more!

A week after the Iphone 6 was launched, Apple released an iOS 8.0.1 update to fix some bugs. Instead of fixing these bugs, Apple only made things worse. After updating, users complained that their IPhones were unable to connect to cell networks, and the fingerprint reader no longer worked. Apple quickly pulled the update and released iOS 8.0.2 a few days later.

$400 Million Mt Gox

What began as a website for users of the Magic: The Gathering Online service to let them trade cards like stocks grew into the world’s largest trading platform for Bitcoin, only to crash and burn after losing nearly $400 million worth of Bitcoin valued at the time. Cyber attackers tricked Mt.Gox and were able to siphon off users Bitcoins into their own account. In what only can be called a series of blunders, Mt.Gox made things worse by locked down accounts, stopping investors from withdrawing their funds.

Microsoft Kinect 2.0 and Sony PlayStation TV

The Kinect 2.0 was supposed to be Microsoft’s answer to the PS4, but it turned out that gamers were more interested in playing games over talking to their consoles. Despite voice recognition and other features, it just didn’t do well. Microsoft unbundled the Kinect 2.0 in May to make their console more price-competitive. Despite this set back, the Xbox One outsold PS4 in November – so there’s that.

It seems like a no-brainer, but gamers care about the gaming experience first and the TV second. The PlayStation TV fails to deliver on both accounts. If you’re going to launch a streaming box, you need to have Netflix, Hulu, Amazon and Youtube at the very least. The gaming experience was lacking as well – the PS Vita graphics look blurry on big screens. The PlayStation TV doesn’t even support 1080p resolution.

Heartbleed

At least 81% of sites run on the web server programs Apache and Nginx, which were both vulnerable to the Heartbleed bug. These sites include Amazon, Google and Yahoo to name a few. Security researchers discovered a fatal flaw in the key safety feature for surfing the web – the one that turns your emails, banking, shopping and passwords into strings of random numbers and letters. It’s the padlock image in the address bar you seen when you supposedly on a secure website. The bug was exploited in August and resulted in the theft of 4.5 million records from one of the country’s largest hospital networks.

Images from Shutterstock.

Important: Never invest (trade with) money you can't afford to comfortably lose. Always do your own research and due diligence before placing a trade. Read our Terms & Conditions here. Trade recommendations and analysis are written by our analysts which might have different opinions. Read my 6 Golden Steps to Financial Freedom here. Best regards, Jonas Borchgrevink.

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A UNC Chapel Hill graduate, blockchain enthusiast and analyst. I have a background in programming and IT, strong studies in econ, stats and game theory. I'm interested in online privacy and privacy laws.




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IOTA Price Analysis: Current Behavior Raises Concerns of Another Drop in the Price

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  • Current technical indications still point to downside risks for IOTA’s MOITA price.
  • Near-term chart view sees a rising wedge pattern. The daily chart observes a bearish pennant formation.

The IOTA price remains at risk for now of a breakout to the downside. It appears more likely that downside pressure will be seen, in comparison to any upside surprises. Despite this, IOTA’s native token has made solid recovery in just over a week of trading. Since 25th September, it has gained 8%. Trending higher has been observed from a low of around $0.5200, up to current levels around $0.5600.

IOTA Developments

Most recently, Bitpanda announced they now offer deposit and withdrawal services for IOTA. Bitpanda is fintech company based in Vienna, Austria. They specialize in selling and buying Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies. Becoming Europe’s leading retail broker for Bitcoin, Ethereum, Litecoin and more, boasting a user base of over 900,000 users. “We are very pleased to announce not only withdrawal and deposit functionalities for IOTA on Bitpanda, but also that Bitpanda now officially supports the latest IOTA tech — IOTA Hub,” as stated in their most recent blog post.

This move goes to show the growing presence IOTA is having across the market. The market acknowledgement of the foundation’s technology. IOTA’s MOITA is currently the 11th largest cryptocurrency by market cap, which is seen at $1.5 billion.

Elsewhere, as covered previously, the foundation is very close to revolutionizing the car insurance industry. They presented a new project in which they have been working on at bIOTAsphere. This was a proof of concept technology, known as Tangle. Full details mentioned in the previous article.

Near-term Technical Review 

IOT/USD 60-minute chart

Looking via the 60-minute chart, current price action has formed a rising wedge pattern. This price behavior makes it susceptible to a breakout to the downside. Should the bears manage to breach the lower support, sellers could pile in. To the downside, support in this view can be seen tracking around $0.5650. Further to the downside, 60-minute support should come into play around $0.5420.

Daily Chart Technical Review

IOT/USD daily chart

For over a month now, price action, as clearly seen on the daily chart view, has been firmly within consolidation mode. The range is getting tighter, building up the likelihood of an imminent breakout. Resistance is sitting just ahead around $0.5850, very close to current levels. Support eyed at $0.5430, a breakout could see the price tumbling. A potential downside target would likely be around the $0.4000 territory, testing 14th August low.

Disclaimer: The author owns bitcoin, Ethereum and other cryptocurrencies. He holds investment positions in the coins, but does not engage in short-term or day-trading.

Featured image courtesy of Shutterstock.

Important: Never invest (trade with) money you can't afford to comfortably lose. Always do your own research and due diligence before placing a trade. Read our Terms & Conditions here. Trade recommendations and analysis are written by our analysts which might have different opinions. Read my 6 Golden Steps to Financial Freedom here. Best regards, Jonas Borchgrevink.

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4.5 stars on average, based on 29 rated postsKen has over 8 years exposure to the financial markets. During a large part of his career, he worked as an analyst, covering a variety of asset classes; forex, fixed income, commodities, equities and cryptocurrencies. Ken has gone on to become a regular contributor across several large news and analysis outlets.




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From Credits to Cryptocurrency: Block-Gaming Here to Stay

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The relationship between cryptocurrency and video-games is getting stronger with reports this week detailing the launch of a self-proclaimed ‘Blockchain Game Alliance’, a collaborative initiative founded and comprised of a handful of organisations.

These range from the blockchain-focused (such as ConsenSys) to those specialising in video-games (like centralized crowdfunding platform Fig).

The Blockchain Game Alliance is one of the first of its kind to be seen, bearing a simple website which bears a subscription form and self-referential claims of being a

“coalition of gaming and Blockchain companies committed to advocate for the democratization of Blockchain within the gaming industry”.

French games publisher Ubisoft is notably the name that has featured in the greatest number of headlines around describing this event: and there are many reasons for this.

What’s So Special About Ubisoft

Ubisoft is one of the biggest names in the video-game business and is also part of a small, yet growing list of prominent video-game companies which have chosen to dip their toes in the sector (including Nvidia and AMD).

The company has enjoyed a 400% growth in stock value over the past three years, and releases a multitude of blockbuster franchise entries on an annual basis.

Additionally, this week’s news is only the latest in a series of recent stories indicating Ubisoft’s blockchain aspirations such as: a partnership with Google, and the release of a blockchain game entitled ‘HashCraft’.

From Credits to Cryptocurrency

Whilst a far cry from the integer based ‘credits’ system of arcade video-games, fiat-purchased digital currency is (and has remained) an integral part of the games industry ever since.

Original home-console implementations of digital currencies began with the distribution of points and in-game ‘money’ that can be used to buy items within that specific game they are involved in – like power ups and extra lives. This is in parallel to digital implementations of gambling games in casinos and online.

Companies like Ubisoft have implemented and helped to pioneer movements such as micro-transactions (for downloadable content and in-game items). This is alongside ‘games-as-a-service’ models, which often requires subscriptions from players to gain access to content which is creatively updated and added to on a continuous basis.

These examples are centralized, with non-fungible ‘currencies’, and would make prime candidates for ‘tokenization’.

Digital Distribution + Blockchain

Quite arguably the most ubiquitous utilisation of virtual in cryptocurrency in video-games is the digital distribution model.

This is a method of purchasing video-game titles in whole through a virtual marketplace from which they are also downloaded and have been integrated into home-consoles for the most recent two ‘generations.

Beyond Sony and Microsoft’s stores: industry leaders at present include Steam (Valve), Uplay (Ubisoft), and Good Old Games (GOG).

Big Contributions. Small Companies

As proven by the roster behind the Blockchain Gaming Alliance, there is value to be gained from all positive contributions – whether the company specialises in cryptocurrency or video-games.

There is also value to be gained from the contributions of newer organisations which have been formed specifically to catalyse the marriage of blockchain and gaming.

Equiti Games is one such company, hailing itself as a revolutionary approach which will decentralize and tokenise video-games digital distribution. By removing centralized middle-men and platforms taking up to 30% in fees, Equiti Games plans to reduce costs for gamers.

This will be accomplished, according to the company’s website and whitepaper, by using the Ethereum blockchain to connect creators to their customers directly. A maximal proportion of profits will therefore be delivered to the creator whilst a second-hand market is opened up for consumers – making digital products retain their previously transient value.

Terra Virtua is another company which I have mentioned many times due to the pedigree of the executive team as well as their innovative VR-centric approach. They seek to combine two nascent technologies along with video-games, and they have key partnerships with companies like Epic Games (Unreal, Gears of War, Fortnite).

Final Words

So the biggest question which remains to be answered is: what exactly will this ‘Blockchain Game Alliance’ do to blockchain and gaming: both collectively and as separate entities?

Such big actions (and from such large ‘movers’) signals a turning of the tide with ideas that, if implemented, would open up cryptocurrency to a large consumer market and encourage mainstream adoption within and outside of the gaming-sphere.

Other giants in the gaming industry who could benefit the crypto-video game movement significantly include: Activision Blizzard (World of Warcraft, Call of Duty, Overwatch), and console makers such as Sony, Nintendo, and Microsoft.

Featured image courtesy of Shutterstock.

Important: Never invest (trade with) money you can't afford to comfortably lose. Always do your own research and due diligence before placing a trade. Read our Terms & Conditions here. Trade recommendations and analysis are written by our analysts which might have different opinions. Read my 6 Golden Steps to Financial Freedom here. Best regards, Jonas Borchgrevink.

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Crypto Market Development: South Korea’s National Policy Committee Chair Calls For ICO Legalization

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  • A member of South Korea’s governing Democratic party and the chairman of Korea’s National Policy Committee, Min Byung-Doo, is urging to ease the current regulations on Initial Coin Offerings (ICOs).
  • Min Byung-Doo wants to introduce necessary regulatory framework, allowing ICOs in the country.

Allow ICOs In South Korea

The South Korean National Policy Committee Chief, Min Byung-Doo, is calling for a regulatory framework to be explored. This would be to allow for Initial Coin Offerings (ICOs) to take place within the country. He stated that the current prohibiting of ICOs weakens the industry’s competitiveness appeal with foreign markets. Further boldly adding, this would be preventing growth.

In his statement at to lawmakers, Byung-Doo said, “We can see that the flow of investment is clearly changing compared to ICO and angel fundraising. The ICO has raised $1.7 billion for Telegram and $4 billion for Block.One, it is getting bigger and bigger.”

Further in the statement, Min Byung-Doo said, “Let the government, the National Assembly and the blockchain association quickly create a working group to block fraud, speculation, money laundering and develop the block-chain industry,”. However, he acknowledged the government’s reluctance to create the needed framework.

In September 2017, the Financial Services Commission in South Korea announced a ban on ICOs. The law has not yet been enacted.

Crypto Market Reaction

A lack of reaction has been observed for now, despite this determination to help further legitimize the digital currency market in South Korea. Crypto market developments in the country are always watched very carefully. This is given their large crypto market participation. It was reported in December 2017 that South Korea accounted for as much as 17% of all Ethereum trades occurring in cryptocurrency markets.

Market Reactions To South Korean Related News

Ripple (XRP) crashed in January, following CoinMarketCap’s decision to remove XRP price data from Korean exchange desks. This as a result largely brought down the total average.

XRP/USD Coinmarketcap update triggered drop

On 11th January, Korean crypto exchange Coinrail was hacked, and over $40 million in tokens were stolen. Bitcoin initially dropped over 11% on this.

BTC/USD Coinrail hack triggered drop

One final example, UPbit, a South Korean exchange, was investigated by authorities for illicitly moving customer funds to the account of its executives. Bitcoin initially dropped over 7% on the news.

BTC/USD UPbit investigation triggered drop

Given the above mentioned, one should keep an eye on any developments coming out of South Korea, for the foreseeable future.

Disclaimer: The author owns bitcoin, Ethereum and other cryptocurrencies. He holds investment positions in the coins, but does not engage in short-term or day-trading.

Featured image courtesy of Shutterstock.

Important: Never invest (trade with) money you can't afford to comfortably lose. Always do your own research and due diligence before placing a trade. Read our Terms & Conditions here. Trade recommendations and analysis are written by our analysts which might have different opinions. Read my 6 Golden Steps to Financial Freedom here. Best regards, Jonas Borchgrevink.

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4.5 stars on average, based on 29 rated postsKen has over 8 years exposure to the financial markets. During a large part of his career, he worked as an analyst, covering a variety of asset classes; forex, fixed income, commodities, equities and cryptocurrencies. Ken has gone on to become a regular contributor across several large news and analysis outlets.




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