Categories
Game

Bungie sues ‘Destiny 2’ YouTuber who issued almost 100 fake DMCA claims

In December of last year, a YouTuber by the name of Lord Nazo received copyright takedown notices from CSC Global — the brand protection vendor contracted by game creator Bungie — for uploading tracks from their game Destiny 2’s original soundtrack. While some content creators might remove the offending material or appeal the copyright notice, Nazo, whose real name is Nicholas Minor, allegedly made the ill-fated decision to impersonate CSC Global and issue dozens of fake DMCA notices to his fellow creators. As first spotted by The Game Post, Bungie is now suing him for a whopping $7.6 million.

“Ninety-six times, Minor sent DMCA takedown notices purportedly on behalf of Bungie, identifying himself as Bungie’s ‘Brand Protection’ vendor in order to have YouTube instruct innocent creators to delete their Destiny 2 videos or face copyright strikes,” the lawsuit claims, “disrupting Bungie’s community of players, streamers, and fans. And all the while, ‘Lord Nazo’ was taking part in the community discussion of ‘Bungie’s’ takedowns.” Bungie is seeking “damages and injunctive relief” that include $150,000 for each fraudulent copyright claim: a total penalty of $7,650,000, not including attorney’s fees.

The game developer is also accusing Minor of using one of his fake email aliases to send harassing emails to the actual CSC Global with the subject lines such as “You’re in for it now” and “Better start running. The clock is ticking.” Minor also allegedly authored a “manifesto” that he sent to other members of the Destiny 2 community — again, under an email alias — in which he “took credit” for some of his activities. The recipients promptly forwarded the email to Bungie.

As detailed in the lawsuit, Minor appears to have done the bare minimum to cover his tracks: the first batch of fake DMCA notices used the same residential IP address he used to log-in to both his Destiny and Destiny 2 accounts, the latter of which shared the same Lord Nazo username as his YouTube, Twitter and Reddit accounts. He only switched to a VPN on March 27th — following media coverage of the fake DMCA notices. Meanwhile, Minor allegedly continued to log-in to his Destiny account under his original IP address until May.

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Game

Blizzard claims it won’t monetize ‘Diablo IV’ like ‘Diablo Immortal’

Diablo IV will feature a different set of monetization systems than those found in Diablo Immortal, according to Blizzard. “To be clear, D4 is a full-price game built for PC/PS/Xbox audiences,” said Diablo franchise general manager Rod Fergusson following the game’s latest showing during Microsoft’s Summer Game Fest presentation on Sunday. “We are committed to delivering an incredible breadth of content after launch, for years to come, anchored around optional cosmetic items and full story-driven expansions.”

Blizzard has similarly promised to support the recently released Immortal for a while but is doing so through an in-game marketplace where players can purchase optional cosmetics, an “empowered” battle pass and “eternal orbs,” a premium currency that can be exchanged for the game’s controversial “legendary” crests. The consensus among the gaming community is that Immortal features some of the most aggressive and predatory monetization systems found in a Blizzard game to date. One estimate suggests it would take someone 10 years or $110,000 to acquire enough “legendary gems” to equip their character with the best possible gear. Since the release of Immortal, Diablo fans have been worried that Blizzard would employ a similar set of monetization systems in Diablo 4 when that game comes out in 2023.

However, Fergusson’s statement suggests Diablo IV will be closer to Diablo III than Immortal. The former did not feature microtransactions – though it launched with a controversial in-game auction house – and Blizzard went on to support the title with a $40 expansion in 2014 and a $15 DLC in 2017 that added Diablo 2’s necromancer class to the game. Still, reading through Fergusson’s Twitter replies, you see a lot of fans expressing concern that even the mention of cosmetics could imply more microtransactions than Blizzard is suggesting. Neither Fergusson nor Diablo community lead Adam Fletcher mentioned a paid battle pass, but that’s one way Blizzard could make some cosmetics obtainable since many games, including Immortal, incorporate them as a completion reward.

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Game

Claims process begins in $18 million Activision Blizzard harassment settlement

The US Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) has begun accepting claims related to Activision Blizzard’s $18 million settlement with the agency. Starting today, current and former US employees of the publisher who believe they experienced sexual harassment or gender discrimination while working at its offices from September 1st, 2016 to March 29th, 2022 can file for an award. Those who decide to take part in the claims process can also make specific non-monetary requests of Activision Blizzard and the EEOC. For instance, they can ask that the publisher remove harmful documents such as disciplinary notices from their personnel file.

It will be interesting to see how many workers apply for an award. When the settlement was first approved by a federal judge in late March, many current and former Activision Blizzard employees criticized the EEOC for not going nearly far enough to hold the company accountable. The fact claimants won’t be able to take part in future litigation against Activision Blizzard, including the ongoing lawsuit from California’s fair employment agency, may also make some workers reluctant to file. Then there’s the amount itself. Former employee Jessica Gonzalez is appealing the settlement on the basis that $18 million is insufficient redress for everyone who may come forward with a claim against Activision Blizzard.

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Security

Lapsus$ gang claims new hack with data from Apple Health partner

After a short “vacation,” the Lapsus$ hacking gang is back. In a post shared through the group’s Telegram channel on Wednesday, Lapsus$ claimed to have stolen 70GB of data from Globant — an international software development firm headquartered in Luxembourg, which boasts some of the world’s largest companies as clients.

Screenshots of the hacked data, originally posted by Lapsus$ and shared on Twitter by security researcher Dominic Alvieri, appeared to show folders bearing the names of a range of global businesses: among them were delivery and logistics company DHL, US cable network C-Span, and French bank BNP Paribas.

Also in the list were tech giants Facebook and Apple, with the latter referred to in a folder titled “apple-health-app.” The data appears to be development material for Globant’s BeHealthy app, described in a prior press release as software developed in partnership with Apple to track employee health behaviors using features of the Apple Watch. Apple did not a request for comment at time of publication.

Globant acknowledged the hack in a press release later the same day. “According to our current analysis, the information that was accessed was limited to certain source code and project-related documentation for a very limited number of clients,” the company said. “To date, we have not found any evidence that other areas of our infrastructure systems or those of our clients were affected.”

On Telegram, Lapsus$ shared a torrent link to the allegedly stolen data with a message announcing, “We are officially back from a vacation.”

If confirmed, the leak would show a swift return to activity after seven suspected members of Lapsus$ were arrested by British police less than a week ago.

The arrests, first reported on March 24th by BBC News, were carried out by City of London Police after a yearlong investigation into the alleged ringleader of the gang, who is believed to be a teenager living with his parents in Oxford. On the other side of the Atlantic, the FBI is also seeking information on Lapsus$ related to the breach of US companies.

The Lapsus$ gang has been remarkably prolific in the range and scale of companies it has breached, having previously extracted data from a number of well-known technology companies, including Nvidia, Samsung, Microsoft, and Vodafone.

Most recently, Lapsus$ was in the spotlight for a hack affecting the authentication platform Okta, which put thousands of businesses on high alert against subsequent breaches. The latter hack has been an embarrassment for a company that provides security services to other businesses and led to criticism of Okta for a slow disclosure.

Correction, 1:38PM ET: A previous version of this post overstated the connection between the breached data and Apple. The data labelled as “apple-health” was not data from Apple itself, but from an app developed in partnership with Apple. The Verge regrets the error.

Update 5:25 PM ET: Added statement from Globant.



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AI

DeepMind claims AI has aided new discoveries and insights in mathematics

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DeepMind, the AI research laboratory funded by Google’s parent company, Alphabet, today published the results of a collaboration between it and mathematicians to apply AI toward discovering new insights in areas of mathematics. DeepMind claims that its AI technology helped to uncover a new formula for a previously-unsolved conjecture, as well as a connection between different areas of mathematics elucidated by studying the structure of knots.

DeepMind’s experiments with AI run the gamut from systems that can win at StarCraft II and Go to machine learning models for app recommendations and datacenter cooling optimization. But the sciences remain of principle interest to DeepMind, not least of which because of their commercial applications. Earlier this year, DeepMind cofounder Demis Hassabis announced the launch of Isomorphic Labs, which will use machine learning to identify disease treatments that have thus far eluded researchers. Separately, the lab has spotlighted its work in the fields of weather forecasting, materials modeling, and atomic energy computation.

“At DeepMind, we believe that AI techniques are already sufficient to have a foundational impact in accelerating scientific progress across many different disciplines,” DeepMind machine learning specialist Alex Davies said in a statement. “Pure maths is one example of such a discipline, and we hope that [our work] can inspire other researchers to consider the potential for AI as a useful tool in the field.”

Applying AI to mathematics

DeepMind isn’t the first to apply AI to mathematics, setting aside the fact that mathematics is the foundation of all AI systems.

In 2020, Microsoft-backed AI research lab OpenAI introduced GPT-f, an automated prover and proof assistant for the Metamath formalization language. (In mathematics, a “proof” refers to a logical argument that tries to show that a statement is true.) GPT-f found new proofs that were accepted into a mathematics community, which the researchers claimed at the time was a historic achievement.

More recently, a group of researchers from the Technion in Israel and Google presented an automated conjecturing system called the Ramanujan Machine, which came up with original formulas for universal constants that show up in mathematics. One of the formulas created by the machine can be used to compute the value of a constant called Catalan’s number more efficiently than any human-discovered formula.

What ostensibly sets DeepMind’s work apart, however, is its detection of the existence of patterns in mathematics with supervised learning — and giving insight into these patterns with attribution techniques from AI. Supervised learning is defined by its use of labeled datasets to train algorithms to classify data, predict outcomes, and more, and it’s been applied to domains including fraud detection, sales forecasting, and inventory optimization.

DeepMind

In a paper published in the journal Nature, DeepMind describes how it — alongside professor Geordie Williamson at the University of Sydney — used AI to help discover a new approach to a longstanding conjecture in representation theory. Defying progress for nearly 40 years, the combinatorial invariance conjecture states that a relationship should exist between certain directed graphs and polynomials. (A directed graph is a set of vertices connected by edges, with each node having a direction associated with it.) Using machine learning techniques, DeepMind was able to gain confidence that such a relationship does indeed exist and to hypothesize that it might be related to structures known as “broken dihedral intervals” and “external reflections.” With this knowledge, professor Williamson was able to create an algorithm that would solve the combinatorial invariance conjecture, which DeepMind computationally verified across more than 3 million examples.

“One might imagine that the work of a mathematician is dry and formulaic. The reality is completely different. Mathematicians inhabit a world rich in imagination, heuristics, and intuition,” Williamson said in a statement. “Often finding the right way to think about something, even if imprecise, is more useful than another long calculation. It has been a fascinating interdisciplinary journey with the teams at DeepMind and Oxford. We have seen that machine learning can be used to guide intuition, and eventually to prove new theorems.”

The paper also details DeepMind’s work with professor Marc Lackenby and professor András Juhász at the University of Oxford, which explored knots — one of the fundamental objects of study in topology (i.e., the mathematical study of the properties that are preserved through deformations, twistings, and stretchings). An AI system trained by DeepMind revealed that a particular algebraic quantity — the “signature” — was directly related to the geometry of a knot, which wasn’t previously known or suggested by an existing theory. The lab guided professor Lackenby to discover a new quantity — “natural slope” — and prove the exact nature of the relationship by using attribution techniques from machine learning, establishing connections between different branches of mathematics.

As DeepMind notes, knots not only show the many ways a rope can be tangled, but also have connections with quantum field theory and non-Euclidean geometry. Algebra, geometry, and quantum theory all share unique perspectives on these objects, and a longstanding mystery is how these different branches relate.

Promise for discovery

DeepMind believes that the Nature paper, along with yet-to-be-released companion papers for each result, demonstrate the usefulness of machine learning as a tool for mathematical study. AI excels at identifying and discovering patterns in data, the lab asserts, even exceeding the capabilities of expert human mathematicians.

“Finding patterns has become even more important in pure mathematics because it’s now possible to generate more data than any mathematician can reasonably expect to study in a lifetime. Some objects of interest — such as those with thousands of dimensions — can also simply be too unfathomable to reason about directly. With these constraints in mind, we believed that AI would be capable of augmenting mathematicians’ insights in entirely new ways,” DeepMind wrote in a blog post.

Queen Mary University professor of computational creativity Simon Colton, who wasn’t involved in the research, said that this is likely the first time deep learning techniques have been used for mathematical discovery. But he questioned whether mathematicians would want machine learning systems to take the creative lead in projects.

“When I was working with mathematicians, it was clear that they were happy for AI systems to prove minor things like lemmas and side conditions, etc., and to do huge calculations as per computer algebra systems. However, they were not happy for an AI system to prove important results (especially if they couldn’t understand the proof), or to perform concept invention, as this was the creative part of the job they loved the most,” Colton told VentureBeat via email. “With notable exceptions, the vast majority of theorems in pure mathematics are as useful to society as a painting by an amateur, i.e., only of interest to a small clique of people. So, it’s not safety-critical to the progression of society or general well-being to have AI systems involved in pure mathematics (like it is for protein folding, another area that DeepMind has innovated in).”

Still, Colton expects that the broader adoption of AI systems in pure mathematics — assuming it occurs — will lead to interesting discoveries “that may be beyond human comprehension.”

“We may therefore find a limit on what mathematicians can verify and what they want AI systems to do,” he continued. “It’s great that DeepMind [is] getting into this area and working with top mathematicians, as I’m sure there will be more breakthroughs in pure maths following.”

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Categories
Security

Hacker claims responsibility for T-Mobile attack, bashes the carrier’s security

A person claiming to be behind the T-Mobile data breach that exposed almost 50 million people’s info has come forward to reveal his identity and to criticize T-Mobile’s security, according to a report by The Wall Street Journal. John Binns told the WSJ that he was behind the attack and provided evidence that he could access accounts associated with it, and he went into detail about how he was able to pull it off and why he did it.

According to Binns, he was able to get customer (and former customer) data from T-Mobile by scanning for unprotected routers. He found one, he told the Journal, which allowed him to access a Washington state data center that stored credentials for over 100 servers. He called the carrier’s security “awful” and said that realizing how much data he had access to made him panic. According to the WSJ, it’s unclear whether Binns was working alone, though he implied that he collaborated with others for at least part of the hack.

The information the hacker gained access to includes sensitive personal data, like names, birthdates, and Social Security numbers, as well as important cellular data like identification numbers for cellphones and SIM cards. T-Mobile has said in a statement that it’s “confident” that it’s “closed off the access and egress points the bad actor used in the attack.”

The WSJ’s report goes in depth into Binns’ history as a hacker. He claims that he got his start making cheats for popular video games and that he discovered the flaw that ended up being used in a botnet that attacked IoT devices (though he denies actually working on the code).

According to Binns, his relationship with US intelligence services is troubled, to say the least. A lawsuit that appears to have been filed by Binns in 2020 demands that the CIA, FBI, DOJ, and other agencies tell him what information they have on him. The lawsuit also accuses the government of, among other things, having an informant try to convince Binns to buy Stinger missiles on an FBI-owned website, attacking Binns with psychic and energy weapons, and even with being involved in his alleged kidnapping and torture. An FBI response to his lawsuit denied he was being investigated by the bureau for the botnet or having information related to the alleged surveillance, and abduction, and torture.

Binns told the WSJ that one of his goals behind the attack was to “generate noise,” saying that he hopes someone in the FBI will leak information related to his alleged kidnapping. It’s not likely that Binns’ situation will be improved now that he’s shone a spotlight on himself as the person who hacked one of the US’s major carriers. However, if his reports about how he gained access to a vast trove of T-Mobile data are true, it paints a concerning picture of the carrier’s security practices.

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Categories
Computing

Razer Claims It’s Already Sold Out of Its Zephyr Face Mask

Razer’s attention-grabbing N95 face mask has sold out within minutes of its release.

The company hit Twitter on Thursday evening to announce the news, disappointing those who were keen to get their hands on the uniquely designed protective face covering.

“The demand for the Razer Zephyr has been overwhelming and our first wave is sold out within minutes,” the gaming hardware giant said in a tweet, adding: “Stay tuned and [we] appreciate your patience as we work hard to restock them as fast as we can. Sign up to be notified when the next batch arrives.”

The demand for the Razer Zephyr has been overwhelming and our first wave is sold out within minutes. Stay tuned and appreciate your patience as we work hard to restock them as fast as we can. Sign up to be notified when the next batch arrives: https://t.co/GYZgUXnsdK pic.twitter.com/YSNBuYuRaW

— R Λ Z Ξ R (@Razer) October 22, 2021

But the somewhat surprising news is already raising eyebrows among those who had been interested in placing an order, with many left wondering exactly how many of the masks were available at launch.

Plenty of replies to Razer’s tweet complained about the sale, with one person asking any successful buyers to post a screenshot of their transaction. At the time of writing, no one had responded.

Digital Trends has reached out to Razer to ask how many masks were available at launch and we will update this article when we receive a response.

Razer unveiled an early version of the high-tech Zephyr mask at CES 2021 in January, describing it at the time as “the world’s smartest mask.”

Along with N95 protection, Razer’s Zephyr mask features two “air exchange chambers” — or fans — that allow filtered air to flow freely for added comfort, though you can use it with the fans switched off, too.

It also comes with a transparent front so people can see more of your facial expressions, with an anti-fog coating and interior light ensuring a clear view at all times.

The exterior of the mask includes Chroma RGB lighting to brighten up dark spaces and surprise anyone close by, with all of the various features able to be controlled using a dedicated smartphone app.

The Zephyr mask, if you’re willing or able to order it, will set you back $99, with replacement N95 filters costing $29 for a pack of 10. Or you could just get a regular N95 mask.

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Categories
Tech News

Trump claims he’s suing Facebook, Twitter, and Google over censorship

Donald Trump says he’s suing Facebook chief Mark Zuckerberg, Twitter boss Jack Dorsey, Google head Sundar Pichai, and their respective companies, alleging that they’ve violated First Amendment rights.

Up-front: Trump said at a press conference on Tuesday that he’s the lead representative in the class-action lawsuits:

We’re asking the US district court for the southern district of Florida to order an immediate halt to social media companies’ illegal, shameful, censorship of the American people. And that’s exactly what they are doing. We’re demanding an end to the shadow banning, a stop to the silencing, and a stop to the blacklisting, banishing, and canceling that you know so well.

The former president also said his team would make sure that liability protections provided to tech firms under section 230 are “at a very minimum changed — and at a very maximum, taken away.”

As for who is taking on the case, Trump said he’s recruited the “best lawyers — the tobacco lawyers.”

Background: Trump’s announcement was his latest salvo against the social media giants.

He was banned from Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube in the wake of the US Capitol riots on January 6.

Twitter has permanently banned him, while Facebook will consider reinstating his accounts in 2023 — a year before the next US presidential election. YouTube says it will lift the suspension “when we determine that the risk of violence has decreased.”

Trump made the announcement on the same day that reports claimed he said Adolf Hitler “did a lot of good things.”  

Quick take: The loss of Trump‘s social media accounts has reduced the reach of his inflammatory rhetoric. Social media interactions about him fell 91% between January and May, according to data from NewsWhip.

The announcement of the litigation is Trump’s latest attempt to get his social media megaphones back. But his recent record of losing lawsuits suggests he’ll have a tough job winning the case — if it even gets filed. Trump has a record of threatening legal action but not following through.

 

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Categories
Tech News

iPhone 13 rumor claims Apple may add reverse wireless charging

It seems like rumors concerning the next generation of Apple products never end. When the latest generation of devices like the iPhone launch, rumors about the next generation begin to surface. Some new rumors are making the rounds concerning the iPhone 13 and what we might be able to expect for the next-generation iPhone models.

One of the most interesting of the new rumors is that Apple is integrating larger wireless charging coils. One potential reason for the integration of larger wireless charging coils is to allow for reverse wireless charging. Reverse wireless charging is something that’s been available on the Galaxy line of smartphones for a while.

With the Galaxy line of smartphones, reverse charging allows users to turn their phone into a wireless charging device for someone else’s phone. That means you can use one fully charged Galaxy device to charge another that is about to go dead without needing an outlet or cables.

Larger wireless charging coils could also improve heat management and allow higher wattage, possibly leading to faster wireless charging. However, the source of the rumor, Max Weinbach, says the reason for the larger charging coils could be because the iPhones will feature stronger MagSafe magnets. Interestingly, filings that Apple made with the FCC for the current generation iPhone show that all iPhone 12 models have the ability to reverse wirelessly charge other devices. However, Apple didn’t roll that feature out.

Other reports have indicated that Apple intends to roll out reverse wireless charging on the next-generation iPad Pro expected in 2022. As for why the current generation iPhone models allegedly have support for reverse wireless charging, and it wasn’t implemented, it may be because of a significant battery drain. The larger battery inside an iPad Pro would allow the tablet to operate longer while sharing its power with an Apple Watch or AirPods.

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Categories
Tech News

AI study claims tennis is the most ‘euphoric’ sport. I’m not convinced

If you’re captivated by the drama of the European Football Championship, have you considered watching Wimbledon instead? Tennis is, after all, a more euphoric sport to watch. Or so claims a new AI analysis.

The study by British TV platform Freeview explored emotional reactions to different sports by analyzing the expressions of viewers.

The 150 participants were sent content from 10 sports consisting of 30,750 frames, which were standardized to capture the same format of low, medium, and high-intensity clips.

Their responses were measured by software developed by startup RealEyes, which analyzed reactions caught by cameras on viewers’ devices.

According to the analysis, tennis is the most euphoric sport to watch at home, followed by gymnastics, football, and cricket.

Formula 1, meanwhile, was deemed to evoke the most shock, which was identified by movements such as sudden wide eyes and the dropping of the jaw. But F1 was also ranked as the most confusing sport, based on factors such as narrowing eyelids and furrowing of the brow.

More routine-based Olympic sports, such as equestrian and synchronized swimming, were deemed the tensest, as they maintained the highest quality of viewer attention.

Consider me unconvinced.

Measuring emotions

Emotion recognition technology (ERT) is an extremely controversial area of AI. Scientists have argued that the systems are not only inaccurate and biased, but akin to phrenology.

The skepticism is rational. People show their emotions in countless ways, which makes analyses based on facial movements unreliable at best.

Research shows that emotions are expressed differently across cultures and societies. ERT has also been found to interpret Black people’s faces as angrier than white people’s — regardless of their expressions. The consequences could be horrendous when the tech’s deployed in public spaces, policing, and hiring.

In addition, there are countless variables to consider when analyzing emotional reactions. The Freeview study only analyzed the responses of British viewers, whose tastes will somewhat reflect their country’s sporting culture.

Reactions to sports could depend, for example, on their level of coverage. Football is constantly shown on British TV, which may trigger different responses to those observed in less exposed sports.

Ultimately, the study makes dubious generalizations about individual reactions. It’s also demonstrably incorrect: tennis is objectively a boring sport.

Yes, I said objectively. Don’t believe me? Well, let me prove it with my own scientific findings:

  1. More than 3.5 BILLION people tuned into the 2018 World Cup Final. That year’s Wimbledon finale? A measly 900 million.
  2. In 2019, only TWO players shared all four of the men’s tennis majors. That’s not very exciting. In England’s Premier League alone, more than 20 players tasted title success that year.

If that’s somehow still insufficient evidence for my finding, compare the emotions in these randomly selected images of mathematically average tennis and football fans.

Football fan:

Tennis fans:

I rest my case.

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