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Tag - Sony Online Entertainment
Sony has sold off Sony Online Entertainment, an in-house game development studio and publisher known for Everquest, Planetside 2, and other massively multiplayer online games. The sale was confirmed today by the company and places the studio in the hands of investment management firm Columbus Nova, though as part of the transaction terms, it has to lose the Sony branding and be renamed Daybreak Game Company.
Some of the most popular gaming services are reportedly under attack as a series of distributed denial of service attacks (DDoS) has been underway since last week. Shacknews reports that Blizzard, Grinding Gear Games, PlayStation Network, Riot and Sony Online Entertainment have all been undergoing a series of attacks leading to connection instabilities and service failures. While the attack was initially thought to be limited to a few companies, it's been discovered that several additional gaming services and websites have been targeted as far back as August 18 by a hacking group.
Sony's chief security officer Philip Reitinger warned late Tuesday that there had been a "massive" account cracking attempt on the PlayStation Network and Sony Online Entertainment. While it failed against the wide majority, the attempt successfully cracked the login info for about 93,000 accounts, 60,000 of which were PSN. All of those accounts were locked down to prevent a hijack, Sony said.
Japanese electronics giant Sony on Thursday announced a 15.5 billion yen ($199 million) quarterly loss due to the natural disaster that hit northeastern Japan earlier this year, the PS3 security breach and falling TV prices. It also lowered its profit forecast for the fiscal year ending March 2012 to 60 billion yen ($769 million), down from 80 billion yen ($1 billion) it expected in May. The revised earnings would still mean profits for the company.
A second lawsuit over PSN hacks this week has accused Sony of cutting jobs whose absence may have worsened or contributed to the hack. A "substantial percentage" of Sony Online Entertainment, including some in the network operations center, were let go just two weeks before the April 19 incident that hit both SOE and PSN. Sony lowered its safeguards through job cuts just as the attacks came in, the lawsuit alleged.
(Update 2: PSN now back) Sony on Saturday night said it was rolling out the promised mandatory new firmware for PS3s to get ready for the return of the PlayStation network. The 3.61 update pushes a password change and also requires that password changes for PS3 users can only take place on the PS3 itself. Those who've never used a PS3 to get content will still get an e-mail with a one-time link to change the password.
Sony in an update said that its PlayStation Network restoration would take longer than expected. The company was still in final testing but said "additional comprehensive system checks" were needed before it went back up. The company explained that the estimate given at its media conference in Japan of a week-long process hadn't factored in the then-unknown SOE breach and needed extra time.
Sony might offer a cash reward to whoever could turn in those who hacked into the PlayStation Network. A slip from sources said Sony was actively discussing the prospect of a bounty and, if it went ahead, would team with regional police to coordinate the payout. The electronics giant hadn't settled on a reward as a course of action and would need top-level approval from Sony headquarters to go ahead, AllThingsD said.
A pair of unnamed Anonymous members alleged on Friday that the PlayStation Network hack was the fault of a splinter group from their team. While the larger group has publicly denied involvement, the two told the FT that one or a small number of those backing OpSony, the campaign to punish Sony for limiting and suing over PS3 jailbreaks, decided to go further than everyone else. One of the two claimed to have seen details of an exploit posted shortly before the hack went through.
Sony in a statement given to the Congressional hearing on the PlayStation Network and Sony Online Entertainment hacks implicated Anonymous in the attack. Consumer Product head Kaz Hirai claimed that a file had been deliberately left behind in the attack on SOE that was named "Anonymous" and had the activist hacker coalition's slogan "We are Legion" inside. While not directly accusing Anonymous, it made a link back to the earlier protest campaign and implied strongly that Anonymous was to blame.
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Google given NHTSA SDS waivers
In contrast to the California Department of Motor Vehicle's approach, the US National Highway Traffic and Safety Administration (NHTSA) has confirmed that it is declaring the software in autonomous cars is the legal driver of a so-equipped vehicle. In a letter to Google, the NHTSA says that it "will interpret 'driver' in the context of Google's described motor vehicle design as referring to the SDS [self-driving system], and not to any of the vehicle occupants." Other matters, such as legally-required rear-view mirrors for occupied vehicles has yet to be determined. However, regulations specifying the "driver" need no longer be interpreted as meaning a person behind the wheel, as the agency writes that self-driving cars "will not have a 'driver' in the traditional sense that vehicles have had drivers during the last more than one hundred years" http://1.usa.gov/1QrAGtR
Dropshare 4 for Mac now available
Dropshare 4 for Mac has shipped, introducing support for uploading files and screenshots to Amazon S3 API-compliant services, like DreamObjects and OpenStack. The update also introduces a new popup design, an in-app editor for custom landing pages, an improved upload history window, and security improvements when using SSH connections. The paid upgrade costs $25, though it is free for customers who bought the previous version this year and half-price for those who acquired version 3 of the app last year. http://bit.ly/1XixV3q
Google starting phase-out of Flash ads
Search engine and advertising giant Google will shortly no longer accept Adobe Flash-created ads for its AdWords network. Starting June 30, ads in the once-ubiquitous format will no longer be accepted. Additionally, after January 2, 2017, the network will no longer serve Flash-based advertisements, and the network will be completely HTML 5 based. http://bit.ly/1PNx1uc
Sonos now works with Apple Music
Wireless music system manufacturer Sonos has announced that its systems worldwide will gain compatibility for streaming the paid Apple Music subscription service starting today, February 10. "Music fans worldwide will have access to Apple Music features like For You, New, Radio, and My Music, and will also be able to stream the entire Apple Music catalog through Sonos smart speakers tuned for great sound in every room of their homes," the company said in an email to journalists. Apple Music's streaming service costs $10 per month, with a free three-month trial. http://bit.ly/1Wdi2Ko
Apple want ads hint at future Watch faces
An Apple job listing for a dedicated clock face team may suggest future fashion-brand partnerships, possibly in time for the updated watchOS updates that are likely to be revealed at this spring's Worldwide Developer Conference. Since the introduction of watchOS 2, there has only been four new watch faces, but three of them were left over from the first release, with only one truly new one -- the co-branded Hermés face exclusive to that edition. There is a rumored March 15 event, but if that takes place it will likely focus on new band options as regards the Apple Watch. http://apple.co/1O1TbTI
Microsoft may end Office Support Professional prog
Microsoft appears to be either ending or seriously revamping its "Accredited Support Professional Program" for training on Microsoft Office for Mac and iOS it has offered at MacTech conferences since 2013. The program is not on offer at the upcoming MacTech tour, which begins on March 16 in San Francisco and includes a number of other cities. Microsoft has released a statement that it is "evaluating options for 2016, but don't have anything to share at this time." http://bit.ly/1KDz3MQ
Office for Mac v15.18 released
Microsoft has issued an update for the Mac version of its productivity suite, Office 2016. The v15.18 update offers improvements for all of the included apps, such as bringing full screen support to Outlook and allowing Word to save PDF files to flash drives. In addition, a new selection pane has been added to PowerPoint and Excel for keeping track of objects, and shapes can now be added to OneNote notebook pages. The update is free for all users, but requires a Mac running OS X 10.10 or later and a valid Microsoft Office 365 subscription. http://bit.ly/1Q7pAzW