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Game

Rockstar confirms gigantic ‘Grand Theft Auto VI’ leak

That purported Grand Theft Auto VI leak appears to be real. Rockstar Games has confirmed the authenticity of the leak in a tweet, noting that a hacker stole confidential data including “early development footage” of the next Grand Theft Auto title. The firm didn’t foresee any long-term damage to development or live services like GTA Online, but was “extremely disappointed” that details of the future game were shared in this manner,

Rockstar promised another update “soon,” and that creation of GTA VI would continue “as planned.” The game producer didn’t share more. However, Windows Central notes parent company Take Two has asked original leak host GTAForums to pull content, which reportedly includes Bully 2 plans and might include code for multiple GTA titles. The hacker’s original Telegram channel has disappeared.

The leak is unprecedented and included 90 videos of a very early build of GTA VI. The clips appear to validate rumors from July that hinted at a return to Vice City (aka Miami) as well as a Bonnie and Clyde-like pair of male and female protagonists. There also appears to be a slew of functional upgrades ranging from improved animations to a robbery system.

The GTA VI material might not do much damage, as the finished product is likely to be much more polished. However, there is a concern that any code for GTA Online could make it easier for hackers to exploit vulnerabilities and otherwise sour the game for other players.

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Game

Animal Crossing New Horizons’ 2.0 Update is Gigantic

A huge 2.0 update for Animal Crossing: New Horizons is bringing a ton of new content, including returning characters, quality-of-life changes, new activities, and more. A video shown today during the September Nintendo Direct revealed that the update will be available for free on November 5.

In addition to the previously teased Brewster and the Roost café, fan-favorite characters like Katrina, Kapp’n, and Tortimer will be making a return in an all-new area, and players will have more options in how they decorate their houses and islands.

At the Roost, players will be able to enjoy a cup of coffee with Brewster, Animal Crossing‘s very own brewmaster. Players will also be able to scan Amiibo cards to invite NPC residents to visit the café with them, as well as invite other players to enjoy coffee together. Another returning character is Kapp’n, who will sing his usual sea shanties as he ferries players across the ocean to new “mysterious island,” which features different materials, plants, seasons, and times of day than the main island.

Most of the other returning characters will be arriving via Harv’s island, which has a new area in the back. After the player contributes enough bells to various properties on the island, characters like the hairdresser Harriet, the fortune-teller Katrina, the shoe seller Kicks, and wallpaper salesman Sahara will set up permanent shop, allowing players to use their services. Players can get their furniture customized by Reese and Cyrus, the owners of Re-Tail in Animal Crossing: New Leaf, or speak with Tortimer, the former Animal Crossing town mayor.

A Villager drinks coffee at The Roost in Animal Crossing: New Horizons.

Gyroids, furniture items from previous Animal Crossing games, are also making a comeback. They now must be watered in order to “grow” into a full-sized Gyroid, which can then be placed in a house to create a sound effect.

The 2.0 update also aims to answer some of players’ quality-of-life complaints. Town ordinances, which allow players to adjust the activity times of their island, are making a comeback from New Leaf. Players will be able to craft up to 10 each of bridges and inclines on their island, which has been increased from eight each. The Nook Phone’s camera app is also being upgraded to the Pro Camera, which allows players to take pictures from a first-person perspective and add themselves in the photo via a tripod mode.

For ease of storage, players can use the new locker furniture item to access their home storage from anywhere on the island. A new tool, the ladder set-up kit, will allow players to permanently place ladders on cliffs, allowing for ease of access in areas that are too small for inclines.

A villager rides a boat with Kapp'n in Animal Crossing: New Horizons.

There’s more home customization available than ever in the new update. Players can now increase the size of their storage to 5,000 items, and there are new exterior styles for houses. There are also new furniture items that can be bought with Nook Miles and tweaks to custom designs. Players can also now cook food by harvesting ingredients and combining them in the usual crafting manner.

The new pro decorating license allows for furniture like hanging lamps to be placed on ceilings and walls, and players can customize single walls with a different color or style of wallpaper, creating an accent wall. The island shop will carry new items that can be placed both inside and outside. As for player customization, 11 new hairstyles will be added, which Harriet can teach players once she moves in to Harv’s island.

Players will also have some new activities available to them. A new group stretching task allows players to use the Switch’s motion controls to stretch with their villagers and other players. There are new emotes available for when players are living the island life with their friends, and Island Life 101, a new Nook Phone app, will give activity suggestions to new players. Island residents may invite players to visit their homes, and they may also drop by players’ houses, like in New Leaf.

The Animal Crossing: New Horizons 2.0 update is free and will release on November 5 alongside the game’s new paid DLC.

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Security

Microsoft was warned months ago — now, the Hafnium hack has grown to gigantic proportions

On Friday, cybersecurity journalists Brian Krebs and Andy Greenberg reported that as many as 30,000 organizations had been compromised in an unprecedented email server hack, believed to have originated from a state-sponsored Chinese hacking group known as Hafnium.

Over the weekend, that estimate has doubled to 60,000 Microsoft Exchange Server customers hacked around the world, with the European Banking Authority now admitting that it’s one of the victims — and it looks like Microsoft may have taken a little too long to realize the severity and patch it. Krebs has now put together a basic timeline of the massive Exchange Server hack, and he says Microsoft has confirmed it was made aware of the vulnerabilities in early January.

That’s nearly two months before Microsoft issued its first set of patches, alongside a blog post that didn’t explain the scope or scale of the attack. Originally, it was even planning to wait for one of its standard Patch Tuesdays but relented and pushed it out a week early.

Now, MIT Technology Review reports Hafnium may not be the only threat, citing a cybersecurity analyst who claims there appear to be at least five hacking groups actively exploiting the Exchange Server flaws as of Saturday. Government officials are reportedly scrambling to do something, with one state official telling Cyberscoop that it’s “a big F’ing deal.”

More diplomatically, White House press secretary Jen Psaki called it “an active threat,” drawing more attention to the emergency directive that the Department of Homeland Security’s cybersecurity agency sent out March 3rd. White House national security adviser Jake Sullivan has warned about it as well, as has former Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency director Christopher Krebs and the White House National Security Council.

At this point, the message should be clear that anyone who installed a local Microsoft Exchange Server (2010, 2013, 2016, or 2019) needs to patch and scan, but we’re only beginning to understand the scope of the damage. Hackers reportedly installed malware that can let them right back into those servers again, and we don’t yet know what they might have already taken.

“We are undertaking a whole of government response to assess and address the impact,” reads part of an email from a White House official, according to Bloomberg.

Microsoft declined to comment about the timing of its patches and disclosures, pointing us to a previous statement instead: “We are working closely with the CISA, other government agencies, and security companies, to ensure we are providing the best possible guidance and mitigation for our customers. The best protection is to apply updates as soon as possible across all impacted systems. We continue to help customers by providing additional investigation and mitigation guidance. Impacted customers should contact our support teams for additional help and resources.”

Update, 4:27PM ET: Added Microsoft’s decline to comment, and earlier statement.



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