Categories
Security

Lil Nas X, Kanye West, and Taylor Swift were among the Vevo YouTube channels hacked Tuesday

On Tuesday morning, YouTube channels for some of the world’s biggest stars showered fans with strange music videos. Vevo channels for artists like Lil Nas X, Eminem, Drake, Taylor Swift, Ariana Grande, Harry Styles, The Weeknd, Michael Jackson, Kanye West, and many others were affected. The channels in question have subscriber counts that add up to hundreds of millions. Before the videos disappeared, viewers saw bizarre clips of Paco Sanz, a Spanish conman sentenced to two years in jail after being convicted of fraud for lying about having terminal cancer, and rapper Lil Tjay.

YouTube did not respond to requests for comment from The Verge; however, Vevo — which bills itself as “the world’s leading music video network” — did acknowledge the incident. A spokesperson responded to contact via Vevo’s public press information and requested not to be named, citing the “nature” of the incident. They said in a statement that “Some videos were directly uploaded to a small number of Vevo artist channels earlier today by an unauthorized source.”

Besides noting that the videos are gone, they also claimed, “No pre-existing content was accessible to the source. While the artist channels have been secured and the incident has been resolved, as a best practice Vevo will be conducting a review of our security systems.”

Another Vevo-related breach in 2018 saw popular music videos defaced, while the then-most-viewed YouTube video of all time, “Despacito” (it is now second, behind “Baby Shark”), was vandalized and briefly removed.

Google and YouTube have recently focused on trying to secure popular channels. Last year a report highlighted a phishing campaign targeting creators, YouTube required millions of popular channels to enable two-step verification, and Google says it gave away hardware authentication keys to over 10,000 high-risk users.

Despite those precautions, an apparent compromise somewhere along Vevo’s pipeline allowed the attacker, who pointed to their Twitter handle @lospelaosbro in the posts, to continue uploading across high-profile channels for several hours.

The artists or the people who operate their pages were likely unable to do anything about the issue. Vevo’s artist information page explains that it works by creating a separate verified Artist Channel to upload videos, and YouTube merges that content with videos on the artist’s own YouTube page. A support page states that “Vevo does not provide access directly to artists.” Instead, independent content providers or the artist’s music label will upload the content to Vevo, which sends it to YouTube and other channels.



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Categories
Tech News

Here’s why almost all of the internet went down on Tuesday

If you were having difficulty accessing your favourite website on Tuesday, June 8, you’re not alone. A jaw-dropping number of major websites around the globe suddenly became unavailable with no immediately obvious explanation — before reappearing an hour later.

It’s disconcerting when the sites we rely on suddenly become inaccessible, and even more so when it happens on such a vast scale. This outage saw seemingly unrelated sites go dark, including the BBC, Pinterest, the Financial Times, Reddit and even The Conversation.

How can so many sites, from so many different organisations, all be affected by the same incident? To understand the answer, you need to know what a CDN (content delivery network) is and how crucial they are to the smooth running of the internet.

What happened and what’s a CDN?

While it’s too early to provide a comprehensive diagnosis of the incident, the internet (once it was accessible again) quickly pointed to the culprit: Fastly.

Fastly is a cloud computing company that provides CDN services to a range of websites including Amazon and Deliveroo. But how can a single company bring down a noticeable proportion of the internet?

When we access a website, we might assume our browser goes off to the internet, talks to the remote site, and then presents the page on our screen. While this is in essence what happens, it masks a much more complicated process, which can include CDN services.

What is a CDN?

A CDN is a service that allows popular websites to keep copies of their pages closer to their customers.

For example, if we want to browse the BBC website, we could talk directly to a server in the United Kingdom. While the internet is perfectly capable of transferring the web page from the UK to Australia, there is an inevitable delay (perhaps a few hundred milliseconds). And nobody likes delays.

The experience for the user can be up to ten times quicker if a copy of the page (or elements of its content) can be held in Australia and delivered on demand.

Of course, accessing a version of the page held in Australia would work great if you’re in Australia but not so much if you’re in, say, Los Angeles. So, to ensure fast content delivery for everyone around the world, CDNs usually work on a global scale.

A CDN service provider will typically operate data centres around the world, holding copies of popular content in major population centres to deliver content in each region.

The speed of delivery of a single image or page element may not be noticeably faster coming from a CDN — the difference between 200 milliseconds and 20 milliseconds isn’t discernible to most users.

However, modern websites often contain many elements, including images, videos and so on. When combined, the speed improvement through CDNs can be significant.

So, why did so many sites fail?

CDN services provide a valuable service to improve our web browsing experience — but at a cost.

When a major CDN provider such as Fastly experiences a failure, it doesn’t affect just one website; it’s likely to impact every website they support.

In Tuesday’s example, sites across the world suddenly went offline as requests for the CDN-hosted content were not serviced.

This incident demonstrates how reliant we are on technology — and on the specific implementations of technology in our modern lives.

If each website we visit hosted its own content exclusively, we would not be facing these issues. However, our web browsing experience would be much slower, reminiscent of the days of dial-up modems (well, perhaps not quite that bad).

Despite the global outage, it was resolved within about an hour. That would seem to indicate it’s unlikely to have been a security- or hacking-related issue.

It was more likely due to a short-term failure in Fastly’s infrastructure, or a misconfiguration that spread through its systems.

Could it happen again?

Fastly is not the only CDN provider. Other high-profile services include Akamai and Cloudflare. Outages are not uncommon, but they are usually short-lived.

Readers can be assured (assuming you haven’t lost internet again) that service providers are closely watching this incident to ensure lessons are learned for next time.

This article by Paul Haskell-Dowland, Associate Dean (Computing and Security) and Edith Cowan University is republished from The Conversation under a Creative Commons license. Read the original article.

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Categories
Game

Pokemon GO Pancham to Pangoro time is Tuesday

If you have a Pancham right now in Pokemon GO, chances are you’re having a rough time catching Dark Type Pokemon. If you have a Pancham and keep Pancham as your Buddy Pokemon while you catch 32 Dark Type Pokemon, you’ll be able to evolve Pancham to Pangoro. But how are you supposed to reliably find 32 Dark Type Pokemon?

Your opportunity to find Dark Type Pokemon in Pokemon GO is upon you! Usually you’d need to either get very lucky, or find a bunch of Team Rocket (or GO Rocket, whatever you’d like to call them) with Dark Type Pokemon or finding Sierra. On Tuesday, the 18th of May, 2021, there’ll be a Spotlight Hour for you.

Starting on May 18, 6PM local time, there’ll be an Alolan Rattata Spotlight Hour. This Spotlight Hour will last one hour. It’ll be over at 7PM local time, also May 18, 2021. During this event, Alolan Rattata will spawn in large numbers.

Also during this event, all trainers will find a bonus of 2x Evolution XP. This means that every time you evolve a Pokemon during this event, you’ll get TWICE the experience points you’d normally get for such an action.

The next Spotlight Hour after this May 18th Rattata (Alolan) is May 25. On May 25th, 2021, there’ll be a Spotlight Hour for Marill. Both Alolan Rattata and Marill will be available as SHINY Pokemon with likely increased appearances during these Spotlight Hour events.

Take a peek at the timeline below for more information on the current state of Pokemon GO and recent updates to the game. Pokemon GO has a wide variety of events this month, including some big releases, like the first appearance of the Eevee evolution Sylveon!

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Categories
Game

Fortnite v15.50 update arrives Tuesday: Epic teases two changes

Epic has officially announced Fortnite update version 15.50, one that will arrive early tomorrow morning with at least a couple of notable changes in tow. As expected, downtime will start at 4 AM ET — and as has been the trend lately, Epic has given a preview of what players can anticipate.

Once upon a time, Epic provided Fortnite update patch notes — but those days are gone and though players still haven’t forgiven the change, Epic hasn’t reversed its decision to withhold these logs. However, the company has been tweeting some of the changes players can expect from upcoming updates.

The pending version 15.50 Fortnite update is no exception. In addition to noting that tomorrow will bring an update, it also said that players can expect the Hand Cannon to head back into the vault. A new item will be removed from the vault and added back into the game to replace the hand cannon, but Epic hasn’t revealed which item we can expect.

In addition, Creative players can expect a new island size option, as well as localized Featured Creative Hub support. Whether the update will bring any other noticeable changes remains unknown, and though fans can always hope for something big, it seems likely this will be one of the more boring game updates.

This will be one of the final updates for Fortnite season 5, which has seen the arrival of many hunters for the season finale. At this point in time, it seems Chapter 2 – Season 5 is expected to end on March 15, meaning we’re only a couple of weeks away from the launch of Chapter 2 – Season 6.



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Categories
Game

Fortnite v15.30 Tuesday update will bring a few big confirmed changes

Epic has announced the details for the upcoming Fortnite update version 15.30, including teasing a few big additions that players can expect this week. Among the additions is the promise of some new Exotic weapons, possibly ones we saw in a data-miner leak a few weeks ago. There’s also going to be a new Limited Time Mode.

Update v15.30 is, based on the status update posted on an official Fortnite Twitter update, one that will be fairly large. It seems key to this patch will be the addition of Mando’s Bounty Limited Time Mode, one that may — based on two tweets — include the hunters thus far added to the game.

We don’t often know what exactly to expect from a Fortnite update, though it’s easy enough to guess based on a combination of official teasers, promises, and leaks based on game file data. This time around, however, Epic has posted a few things it has planned for the Tuesday patch.

In addition to Mando’s Bounty Limited Time Mode, players can expect to get two new Exotic weapons — though Epic hasn’t said what they’ll be. In early January, a leak surfaced through data-miner HYPEX, who indicated that some new Exotic weapons may be in the pipeline, including an SMG that makes players run quickly, as well as Bazooka that shoots shields and a ‘Freeze AR.’

Whether any of those weapons will be part of the new additions isn’t yet known. Finally, Epic teased that Creative players can expect ‘new devices and options,’ but it didn’t elaborate on what these will be. Luckily, we don’t have to wait long to find out — the update drops early tomorrow morning.



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