Thieves use free-to-play games to turn stolen credit-card numbers into cash

Markets for video-game assets, sanctioned and unsanctioned, are a major target for credit-card scammers, who use bots to open fake Apple accounts using stolen cards, which are then used to buy up in-game assets that are flipped for clean, untraceable cash to players. Read the rest

Weekend Tunes: The Singing Loins--Please Take My Scissors Away

We're all becoming redundant. I'll be replaced by an algorithm that mimics an embittered hobo that moonlights as a journalist, one day. Your gig? They're trying to sort out ways to have a robot do that, too. It's happened to thatchers, coopers and fletchers. It's the way of things.

But that doesn't mean you have to go quietly. Read the rest

Nicaragua: Ortega blames civilian murders he ordered on a 'coup-mongering satanic sect' (he's lying)

Attacks by paramilitary forces against civilians continue in Nicaragua, for the third consecutive month. Dictator Daniel Ortega blames a “murderous, coup-mongering satanic sect” for the months-long popular uprising against his government. Read the rest

Google launches a DRM-free audiobook store: finally, a writer- and listener-friendly Audible alternative!

A decade ago, when Amazon acquired Audible, the two companies promised that they'd phase out their DRM, which locked listeners into using their proprietary software and devices to enjoy the books they purchased. Audible never made good on that promise, and stonewalled press queries and industry requests about when, exactly, this fairtrade version of their industry-dominating audiobook store would finally emerge.

UK government accidentally includes Scarfolk poster endorsing culls of rabid children in official publication

The latest edition of the Civil Service Quarterly from Her Majesty's Government accidentally included a satirical poster from Scarfolk, the nightmarish alternate reality of a perpetually renewed decade of Thatcher/Cthulhu crossovers. Read the rest

Google Translate's deep dream: some translation requests yield weird religious prophesies

Feed 19 repetitions of the word "dog" to Google Translate and ask it for a Maori conversion and you get this: "Doomsday Clock is three minutes at twelve. We are experiencing characters and a dramatic developments in the world, which indicate that we are increasingly approaching the end times and Jesus' return." Read the rest

UK government defends the use of under 16s as covert operatives

A spokeswoman for UK Prime Minister Theresa May has gone to the House of Lords to defend the government's practice of recruiting "child spies," some of them under the age of 15, to gather intelligence "against terrorists, gangs and drug dealers." Read the rest

Gmail rolls out DRM for email and office documents, calls it "Confidential Mode"

Google has rolled out a "Confidential Mode" for Gmail and Google Docs attachments, promising users that they'll be able to send emails to their contacts that can't be shared, printed or copied. Read the rest

Singapore healthcare provider breached, personal records of 1.5m people - including the Prime Minister - stolen

Singhealth, a Singaporean public health service, suffered the worst breach in Singaporean history, losing control of 1.5 million peoples' data; included in the breach was prescription data on 160,000 people, including Singapore's prime minister, Lee Hsien Loong. Read the rest

Your phone company's shitty security is all that's standing between you and total digital destruction

Online services increasingly rely on SMS messages for two-factor authentication, which means on the one hand that it's really hard to rip you off without first somehow stealing your phone number, but on the other hand, once someone diverts your SMS messages, they can plunder everything Read the rest

As hoax-fueled lynchings continue in India, Whatsapp puts limits on video-forwarding

The viral hoax video purporting to show child-snatchers kidnapping Indian children continues to fuel lynchmobs, whose death toll has climbed to more than two dozen victims. Read the rest

Michael Cohen secretly taped Donald Trump talking about paying off Playboy model Karen McDougal over sex claims

Longtime Donald Trump fixer-lawyer Michael Cohen “secretly recorded a conversation” with Mr. Trump 2 months before the presidential election in which Trump and Cohen “discussed payments” to former Playboy model Karen McDougal, who claims she had an affair with Trump-- according to lawyers and others familiar with the recording who spoke to the New York Times. Read the rest

The American Conservative: "The Dickensian Return of Debtors’ Prisons"

It's fascinating to read Dan King writing in The American Conservative to decry "Dickensian debtors' prisons" in the USA -- the practice of judges locking up poor people who can't pay fines for petty infractions like traffic tickets. Read the rest

In-depth look at the Financial Times' weekly guide to ostentatious status goods for tasteless one-percenters

The Financial Times kicked off its "How To Spend It" section in 1967 as a single page in the Saturday issue (then called "A guide to good living"); the section grew to its own glossy magazine over the years, weathering lean years and good ones, and has found its niche half a century later, in an era of mass inequality as a weekly catalog of things that the super rich should buy to demonstrate their dominance over everyone else. Read the rest

Shkrelifreude: while Martin Shkreli rots in prison, his price-gouging pharma company is hemorrhaging money

Smirking pharma-bro Martin Shkreli first came to public attention when he hiked the price of a drug used by people with HIV from $13.50/pill to $750/pill. Read the rest

1986's OutRun a maintenance hassle for arcade operators in 2018

Running a retroarcade sounds like a lot of fun, and the same games that used to get the kids pumping quarters then are still the most popular. Which means that 32-year old OutRun cabinets tend to break down often.

Out Run is a favorite at the arcade to say the least. It is in almost constant use from our younger Players. One of the reasons of course is that Sega designed this particular model to basically make you feel you were in an actual vehicle. While not quite like the Ferrari Testarossa Spider you drive in the game itself, it’s a nice design. Furthermore there were four different versions of the arcade game produced. Two of them were upright models with two others being sit-down cabinets.

Great fun working around hot CRTs! You can whine about authentic monitors all ya like, if I were running an arcade, I would replace the innards on most of the machines with Raspberry Pis and 4k LCDs and put the original PCBs in a nice glass cases on the wall next to each, with art gallery-style cards. Read the rest

Patches remove spyware from Civilization VI, other games

The game Civilization VI contained Red Shell, a spyware application that tracks what ads players are looking at, among other things. It's now gone after a new patch -- and other game publishers have been scrambling to do likewise after being caught with their spyglasses up and their pants down.

Developers and publishers behind games including Conan Exiles, The Elder Scrolls Online, Hunt: Showdown, and Total War have vowed to remove Red Shell – or already removed it.

“Whilst Red Shell is only used to measure the effectiveness of our advertising, we can see that players are clearly concerned about it and it will be difficult for us to entirely reassure every player,” said Total War devs Creative Assembly, for example. “So, from the next update we will remove the implementation of Red Shell from those Total War games that use it.”

Other statements were broadly the same: a defence along the lines of “it’s not spyware as bad as you might think but yeah we get you’re skeezed out and we will remove it.”

Read the rest

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