‘Diablo Immortal’ has reportedly earned $24 million since release

Two weeks , Blizzard’s has earned approximately $24 million for the , according to . In an estimate it shared with , the analytics firm said the free-to-play game was downloaded almost 8.5 million times over the same timeframe, with 26 percent of downloads originating in the US. The bulk of Blizzard’s revenue from Diablo Immortal has also come from America. To date, US players contributed about 43 percent of all the game’s earnings.

To put Immortal’s early financial success in context, Hearthstone, the only other mobile game Blizzard has , earned about $5 million in May. Despite the vocal backlash to Immortal’s monetization systems, it’s probably safe to say no one expected the game to fail out of the gate. Instead, the worry for many fans was a scenario where Immortal was so successful for Blizzard that it went on to inform how the studio monetizes its future games.

For the time being, that fear seems unfounded. Diablo franchise general manager Rod Fergusson recently would feature a different set of monetization systems than Immortal. “To be clear, D4 is a full-price game built for PC/PS/Xbox audiences,” he tweeted after the game’s recent showing at Microsoft’s recent Summer Game Fest . Separately, Blizzard announced this week Overwatch 2 .

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A teen is reportedly the mastermind behind the Lapsus$ hacking group

In recent weeks, the Lapsus$ hacking group has taken credit for accessing company data from Nvidia, Samsung, Ubisoft, Okta, and even Microsoft, and according to a new Bloomberg report, an England-based teenager might be the person heading up the operation.

“Four researchers investigating the hacking group Lapsus$, on behalf of companies that were attacked, said they believe the teenager is the mastermind,” Bloomberg said. However, the teenager, who apparently uses the online aliases “White” and “breachbase,” has not been accused by law enforcement, and the researchers “haven’t been able to conclusively tie him to every hack Lapsus$ has claimed,” Bloomberg said.

The teenager is apparently based about five miles outside of Oxford University, and Bloomberg says it was able to speak to his mother for ten minutes through a “doorbell intercom system” at the home. The teenager’s mother told the publication she did not know of allegations against him. “She declined to discuss her son in any way or make him available for an interview, and said the issue was a matter for law enforcement and that she was contacting the police,” Bloomberg said.

Lapsus$ apparently doesn’t just consist of the England-based teenager, though. Bloomberg reports that one suspected member is another teenager in Brazil and that seven unique accounts have been linked with the group. One of the members is apparently such a capable hacker that researchers thought the work was automated, one person involved in research about the group told Bloomberg.

According to cybersecurity expert Brian Krebs, a core member of Lapsus$, who may have used the aliases “Oklaqq” and “WhiteDoxbin,” also purchased Doxbin, a website where people can post or search for the personal information of others for the purposes of doxing. This WhiteDoxbin individual apparently wasn’t the best admin and had to sell the site back to its previous owner, but leaked “the entire Doxbin data set,” which led to the Doxbin community doxing WhiteDoxbin, “including videos supposedly shot at night outside his home in the United Kingdom,” Krebs reported.

Krebs also reports that this person may have been behind the EA data breach that took place last year. What may connect the person between Bloomberg and Krebs’ is the name “breachbase.”

From Krebs:

Back in May 2021, WhiteDoxbin’s Telegram ID was used to create an account on a Telegram-based service for launching distributed denial-of-service (DDoS) attacks, where they introduced themself as “@breachbase.” News of EA’s hack last year was first posted to the cybercriminal underground by the user “Breachbase” on the English-language hacker community RaidForums, which was recently seized by the FBI.

The full picture surrounding Lapsus$ is still murky, but I strongly urge you to read both Bloomberg and Krebs’ reports to learn more about what may be going on.

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Russian military reportedly hacked into European satellites at start of Ukraine war

American government officials told The Washington Post that the Russian military was responsible for a cyberattack on a European satellite internet service that affected Ukrainian military communications in late February.

The hack affected the KA-SAT satellite broadband network, owned by Viasat, an American satellite communications company. On February 24th, the day the Russian invasion of Ukraine began, the KA-SAT network was hit by outages that affected Ukraine and surrounding regions in Europe. A few days afterward, Viasat blamed outages on a “cyber event,” but did not release further details.

Though Ukrainian officials have not fully disclosed the impact, the outage is believed to have caused significant communications disruptions at the beginning of the war.

The NSA was reported to be collaborating on an investigation with Ukrainian intelligence services, but no results have been officially announced. However, anonymous officials reportedly told the Post that US intelligence analysts have now concluded that Russian military hackers were behind the attack.

A request for confirmation sent by The Verge to the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) had not received a response by the time of publication.

Officials from Viasat told Air Force Magazine that the attack was conducted through a compromise of the system that manages customer satellite terminals, and only affected customers of the KA-SAT network, a smaller broadband provider that Viasat bought last year from French satellite operator Eutelsat.

At the outset of the conflict, commentators feared that Russia could launch widespread and destructive cyberattacks. While one perspective holds that such attacks have failed to materialize, the slow release of additional information gives credence to the suggestion that many attacks may have occurred in the shadows.

In the aftermath of the hack, CISA and the FBI issued a joint cybersecurity advisory to satellite communications providers, warning that the agencies were aware of possible threats to US and international networks, and advising companies to report any indications of malicious activity immediately.

As the war in Ukraine continues — and US opposition to Russia grows in the form of sanctions — the Biden administration has issued increasingly serious warnings about the possibility of Russian cyberattacks on US infrastructure.

On Monday, President Biden advised US businesses to take added precautions against hacking, citing “evolving intelligence” that Russia was preparing to target the US with cyberattacks. Then on Thursday, the Department of Justice unsealed indictments against four Russians accused of mounting state-sponsored cyberattacks against the US, publicly releasing details of a highly sophisticated hacking campaign involving supply-chain software compromises and spear-phishing campaigns against thousands of employees of companies and US government agencies.

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Sony reportedly plans to launch its answer to Xbox Game Pass this spring

Xbox Game Pass has been a hit for Microsoft, and it seems Sony is preparing to respond with its own version of an all-in-one game subscription service. The company is planning to merge PlayStation Plus and PlayStation Now into a new offering, which is expected to debut this spring, according to Bloomberg.

The service, which is codenamed Spartacus, would likely be available on PS4 and PS5 for a monthly fee. It’s unclear whether players would be able to access it on other devices, though the report notes Sony is putting more resources into cloud gaming. Xbox Game Pass Ultimate allows players to delve into more than 100 Xbox titles via the cloud on , PC, phones and tablets. Microsoft plans to for TVs too.

It seems Sony will kill off PlayStation Now, but keep the PlayStation Plus branding. Sony may not yet have finalized how Spartacus will work, but there could be three tiers to the service. According to documents viewed by Bloomberg, the lowest tier would effectively be PlayStation Plus as it is now. The second level would add a “large catalog” of PS4 titles, with PS5 games joining later. The third and highest tier would include cloud gaming, expanded demos and, akin to , a bunch of older PS1, PS2, PS3 and even PSP games. However, those plans may not be set in stone.

It’s not clear whether Sony plans to bring its first-party exclusives to the service on their release date, as Microsoft does on Game Pass. Sony Interactive Entertainment president and CEO Jim Ryan that the company wouldn’t “go down the road of putting new release titles into a subscription model. These games cost many millions of dollars, well over $100 million, to develop. We just don’t see that as sustainable.”

But the landscape has shifted since Ryan’s remarks. For one thing, Microsoft bought Bethesda parent company ZeniMax Media this year. All of Bethesda’s games (save for a couple of timed PS5 console exclusives like ) are on Game Pass, and future Bethesda titles like might not come to PlayStation at all.

Although Game Pass would likely be Sony’s biggest competitor in the game subscription market, it’ll be up against several other major companies. and have subscription services, Amazon launched last year and to its existing plans. As for cloud gaming (a category Luna also falls into), there’s NVIDIA’s GeForce Now and Google Stadia, and even .

PlayStation Now was one of the earliest major game subscription services when it debuted in 2015, but it had a fairly tepid response. Players were only able to access PS Now games via the cloud until 2018, when they were able to to their console.

One of the biggest complaints we had about the service when was the lack of notable games. Since then, Sony has brought some big games like for a limited time.

By the end of Sony’s 2020 financial year, there were . Microsoft in January that it had 18 million Game Pass members. For that reason and many others, it’s a smart idea for Sony to go back to the drawing board and create a more robust subscription service. 

Much like Microsoft, Sony has started looking beyond PlayStation consoles to bring its games to new audiences. Over the last year or so, it released Horizon Zero Dawn and Days Gone on PC. A bundle of Uncharted 4 and Uncharted: The Lost Legacy is coming to PC in early 2022, as is the 2018 reboot of God of War.

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US State Department phones were reportedly hacked by NSO spyware

At least nine employees of the US State Department working in or with Uganda had their iPhones hacked with spyware made by NSO Group, according to a report from Reuters. The Wall Street Journal has corroborated the story, putting the number of US and Ugandan embassy workers hacked at 11. While it’s unclear who carried out the attacks, NSO Group says it only sells its software to government organizations that have gotten approval from the Israeli government.

NSO has claimed that its spyware isn’t able to target US phone numbers (that is, numbers with a country code of +1). This case doesn’t seem to disprove that claim — Reuters reports that, while the people targeted were employees of the State Department, they were using foreign telephone numbers. Still, the devices were used for official State Department business, suggesting NSO may now be implicated in an espionage effort against the US government.

According to Reuters, the attacks happened in “the last several months.”

NSO’s Pegasus spyware is capable of remotely logging data from an infected iOS or Android device and can be used to covertly turn on a phone’s microphones or cameras. It’s also designed to infect phones using a “zero-click” attack, in which spyware can be installed without the target clicking a link or otherwise taking action.

Pegasus is also not supposed to leave any traces, though investigators have developed some methods to determine if a phone was hacked by it. You can read our explainer on it here, which goes into the media investigations of its usage by governments to target journalists, politicians, and activists.

NSO, based in Israel, has to get approval from the Israeli Ministry of Defense before it sells its software to another government agency. NSO co-founder Shalev Hulio has insisted that the company doesn’t know who its clients are spying on using its software. The company also says that it will investigate clients if they’re using Pegasus on off-limits targets and cut off the client’s access to the software if there’s evidence of abuse.

An NSO spokesperson told Reuters that the company would be investigating its reports, and the Israeli embassy told the outlet that a government targeting US officials with Pegasus would be “a severe violation” of its licensing agreements.

The US recently added NSO to its entity list, which puts heavy restrictions on American companies being able to sell their products or services to the group. In the private sector, Apple filed a lawsuit against NSO Group, claiming that the company broke Apple’s terms of service by creating over a hundred iCloud accounts to send malicious data via iMessage. Apple says that it patched the specific vulnerability NSO used to install Pegasus with iOS 14.8 and that it had added additional protections in iOS 15, which the company says it hasn’t seen Pegasus breach yet.

When the company announced its lawsuit, Apple said it would also notify users who had been targeted by a state-sponsored spying campaign. Ugandan politician Norbert Mao tweeted in November that he received one of the notifications. The Wall Street Journal reports that the US officials also received these notifications.

There are also reports that the US government is working on an initiative with other countries to prevent surveillance tools and technology from being sold to authoritarian governments. According to The Wall Street Journal, the effort will focus on export controls and will likely be announced at the Summit for Democracy, which starts December 9th.

Update December 3, 5:35PM ET: Added information from The Wall Street Journal’s report.

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Nvidia Is Reportedly Making a New GPU to Combat Intel Arc

As Intel plans to disperse the first batch of Arc Alchemist discrete graphics cards for early 2022, rumors suggest Nvidia is already planning to sabotage it.

Nvidia and AMD have long traded blows with one another on the GPU market. However, Intel is going to be joining the fight in early 2022 with the release of its Arc graphics cards. But as anticipation builds, Nvidia has something up its sleeve to counter them: The release of its new RTX 3050.

This information comes from a tweet by Kopite7Kimi, a known Twitter user who leaked the original RTX 3000 Super lineup in September.

Update that:
RTX 3050
8G GD6

— kopite7kimi (@kopite7kimi) December 2, 2021

It is also worth noting that this latest info, along with the tweet about the RTX 3000 Super lineup, should be taken with skepticism since Nvidia has yet to comment or confirm any of these leaks.

While this may seem like Nvidia has stolen the show, a tweet by the user TUM_APISAK tweeted the following information.

Intel Arc A380 Graphics
2.45GHz 6GB

perf 1650S#IntelArc #DG2

— APISAK (@TUM_APISAK) December 2, 2021

As subliminal as that tweet sounds, the user mentions “Perf 1650s,” which most likely means that the Intel Arc A380 is there to combat the Nvidia GTX 1650 Super, which has 4GB of GDDR6.

The RTX 3050 line isn’t entirely foreign; in October, we took a look at the MSI Summit E16 Flip, which featured an RTX 3050. The most notable difference between this model and the leaked discrete variant is that the mobile version features only 4GB of GDDR6 whereas the latter is rumored to feature 8GB of GDDR6.

We do know for a fact is that Intel is releasing its Arc GPUs in early 2022 and with CES just around the corner, more information is sure to surface. It is also worth mentioning that due to the GPU shortage. these card will likely still be hard to obtain and sold for higher than their retail price even if they are not impressive.

Editors’ Choice

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Amazon is reportedly interested in developing a Mass Effect TV series

Amazon Studios is “nearing a deal” to develop a series based on Electronic Arts and BioWare’s Mass Effect franchise, according to Deadline. No particulars have been released, but Amazon Studios head Jennifer Salke told Deadline that it’s “continuing to invest in fantasy genre of all kinds, we have a genre-focused team on the ground in Studios who work tirelessly with our creative partners on those slates, and you can look forward to more.”

The success of the fantasy series Wheel of Time shows why Amazon is going in that direction. Salke revealed that it was “one of the Top 5 series launches of all time for Prime Video,” adding that it saw “tens of millions of streams” and high completion rates, to boot. 

Mass Effect rumors have cropped up of late, with EA recently stating that it’s “not a matter of if, but when” a TV series based on the game will be made. Witcher star Henry Cavill also hinted at a Mass Effect series in a cryptic Instagram post with (easily deblurred) text, as The Verge noted. 

Mass Effect Legendary Edition arrived earlier this year with updated gameplay and graphics, to generally good reviews. The series first arrived in 2007 with the original Mass Effect, a third-party shooter and role playing game that pits Commander Shepherd and the Systems Alliance against the Reapers, an ancient machine race invading the Milky Way. That was followed by two sequels (2010 and 2012), along with a fourth game, Mass Effect: Andromeda (2017). BioWare and EA are currently developing a fifth, all-new installment.  

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Sony reportedly cuts PS5 production again as chip shortages and shipment issues bite

Sony’s PlayStation 5 may not be able to beat the PS4’s first year sales record due to an ongoing component shortage, according to Bloomberg. The company has reportedly cut its previous production forecast of 16 million down to 15 million, putting its target of 14.8 million PS5 sales by March in jeopardy, if the report is accurate. It also makes a bad situation worse in terms of consumers being able to pick up a PS5 over the holidays. 

Sony is supposedly having trouble with not just parts supply but shipping logistics as well, according to Bloomberg‘s sources. The problems are due in part to uneven vaccine rollouts in nations where Sony builds chips, and shortages of essential parts like power chips.

The situation has affected other console makers like Nintendo and even affected the launch of an entirely new console, Valve’s Steam Deck — pushing the date back until some time in 2022. It’s got to the point that publishers are reportedly saying that sales are gradually shifting over to PC versions of games due to a lack of consoles.

March is still a long ways off, so Sony might still be able to pull off the sales record goal. But it’s rather ominous that this report is arriving just ahead of Christmas, so if you’re looking for a PS5 as a gift and see an opportunity to get one, better snap it up quick. 

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Feds reportedly take down top ransomware hacker group REvil with a hack of their own

The government has successfully hacked the hacking group REvil, the entity behind the ransomware that’s been linked to leaked Apple leaks, attacks on enterprise software vendors, and more, according to a report from Reuters. The outlet’s sources tell it that the FBI, Secret Service, Cyber Command, and organizations from other countries have worked together to take the group’s operations offline this month. The group’s dark web blog, which exposed information gleaned from its targets, is also reportedly offline.

Reports about the group going offline started surfacing earlier this week, with TechCrunch writing that its Tor website was no longer available on Monday. There was speculation of a hack, fueled by a forum post from one of the group’s suspected leaders saying that its server was “compromised,” but at the time, it was unclear who was responsible. Reuters cites sources that say the government’s operation against ransomware hackers, including REvil, is still ongoing.

The US is slowly turning the screws on groups associated with ransomware, as the attacks become more and more costly for companies (one company reportedly paid a $40 million ransom to restore its operations). The Treasury pushed sanctions that make it harder to turn hacked machines into cash, and the Department of Justice created a team for investigating crimes committed by cryptocurrency exchanges, citing the impact of ransomware several times in its announcement.

REvil has had plenty of heat on it due to the high-profile or high-impact nature of the attacks it’s linked to. It’s blamed for an attack on an Apple supplier that leaked schematics of the MacBooks that launched this week, as well as attacks on massive meat processor JBS, IT management software developer Kaseya, Travelex, and Acer. The group was named by the US Treasury’s Financial Crimes Enforcement Network as one of the biggest ransomware groups in terms of reported payouts.

REvil has gone offline before — its site disappeared from the dark web in July, just a month after the FBI said the group was responsible for bringing down JBS, a company responsible for a fifth of the world’s meat supply.

It’s always possible that the group could come back, though trying to recover from going down in July is reportedly what opened it up to attacks from the US in the first place. According to Reuters’ sources, one of the group’s members restored a backup and unwittingly included systems compromised by law enforcement. A Russian security expert tells Reuters that infecting backups is a tactic commonly used by REvil itself.

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T-Mobile investigating report of customer data breach that reportedly involves 100 million people

T-Mobile confirmed Sunday that it’s looking into an online forum post that claims to be selling a large trove of its customers’ sensitive data. Motherboard reported that it was in contact with the seller of the data, who said they had taken data from T-Mobile’s servers that included Social Security numbers, names, addresses, and driver license information related to more than 100 million people. After reviewing samples of the data, Motherboard reported it appeared authentic.

“We are aware of claims made in an underground forum and have been actively investigating their validity,” a T-Mobile spokesperson said in an email to The Verge. “We do not have any additional information to share at this time.”

It’s not clear when the data may have been accessed, but T-Mobile has been the target of several data breaches in the last few years, most recently in December 2020. During that incident, call-related information and phone numbers for some of its customers may have been exposed, but the company said at the time that it did not include more sensitive info such as names or Social Security numbers.

In 2018, hackers accessed personal information for roughly 2 million T-Mobile customers that included names, addresses, and account numbers, and in 2019, some of T-Mobile’s prepaid customers were affected by a breach that also accessed names, addresses, and account numbers.

A March 2020 breach exposed some T-Mobile customers’ financial information, Social Security numbers, and other account information.

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