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Sony Pictures sued by ex-employees, citing failure to protect data

Written by James Delahunty @ 16 Dec 2014 13:48

Sony Pictures sued by ex-employees, citing failure to protect data The nightmare continues for Sony Pictures as it now faces a lawsuit from former employees alleging that it failed to protect their data, which was exposed in November's massive breach.

Two former employees sued the studio in a class action after a hacking group called Guardians of Peace broke into its network and stole enormous amounts of data in late November. Ever since the breach, the hackers have leaked over a terabyte of information online, including personal details of employees and movies stars.

Even unreleased films showed up on BitTorrent sites and other sources after the massive data breach at the studio.

A lawsuit was filed on Monday in U.S. District Court for the Central District of California and it alleges that Sony failed to secure its network and protect employee data from hackers, making them liable to some extent.

It seeks compensation for any damages caused as a result of the exposure of sensitive information.

It's likely that Sony will face more legal complaints as a result of the breach, which could cost it over $100 million in the long run. This saga is likely to drag on for a while yet.

Sources and Recommended Reading:
Ex-Sony employees sue, claim company failed to protect data:

AfterDawn: News

HBO Go now on Amazon Fire TV, price drops to $79

Written by James Delahunty @ 16 Dec 2014 13:39

HBO Go now on Amazon Fire TV, price drops to $79 HBO Go has finally arrived on Amazon's Fire TV set-top-box for subscribers of HBO.

It is available right now for Amazon's Fire TV with an HBO subscription through participating affiliates, with integration of its full catalog into Fire TV's voice search. For HBO subscribers with Fire TV Stick, HBO Go will be available for streaming in Spring 2015.

"We're thrilled to add HBO GO, the most requested service, to Fire TV in time for the holidays. HBO has produced some of the most groundbreaking and award-winning TV shows and movies, and we are excited to bring this amazing content to our customers, all of which is accessible via voice search on your Fire TV remote," wrote Peter Larsen, Vice President Amazon Devices.

Larsen was eager to point out that the number of services available through Fire TV has quadrupled since it was launched. Over 700 apps and games are now available for the device, which typically sells for $99, but is reduced to $79 at the present time and will stay that way until December 28.


AfterDawn: News

Report: Samsung planning Apple Pay competitor

Written by James Delahunty @ 16 Dec 2014 13:31

Report: Samsung planning Apple Pay competitor According to a report, Samsung may launch a competing payment service to Apple Pay during 2015.

Re/code cites sources familiar with Samsung's plan to allow owners of some smartphone devices to use them to pay for goods and services at brick and mortar stores, much in the same way as the Apple Pay service operates.

The sources tell Re/code that Samsung is in talks with LoopPay, a payments firm based in Burlington, Massachusetts, but that talks are at such an early stage and could still collapse before an agreement is possible.

Using a smartphone to pay for goods offline is not a new idea but it has been rejuvenated by Apple sticking its toes into the water with Apple Pay. Users of Apple Pay can use the fingerprint scanner on its iPhones to authenticate payments at point of sale.

Samsung's system would also likely rely on fingerprint authorization.

Read more at Re/code.

AfterDawn: News

Apple cleared in $1 billion antitrust case

Written by James Delahunty @ 16 Dec 2014 13:23

Apple cleared in $1 billion antitrust case Apple can breathe a sigh of relief after a jury sided with it in a decade-old case relating to the copy protection system it had in place on older iPods and iTunes.

The Cupertino giant could have been on the hook for as much as $1 billion in damages if the eight person jury found it had violated antitrust laws by using enhanced security mechanisms on its iTunes software and iPod hardware. The case specifically focused on iPods sold between late 2006 and early 2009.

Apple stood accused of using its digital rights management (DRM) technology to effectively block out content purchased from competing music services. In fact, it had even been accused of deleting songs purchased from sources other than iTunes from its customers' iPods.

Apple disagreed and maintained that its security measures were a response to attempts to hack its DRM system, and that such a breach would put it in violation of contracts signed with major record companies to sell music on iTunes.

Today the case, which stems back to 2005, finally came to a decision when a jury decided Apple hadn't violated any antitrust laws.

AfterDawn: News

LG will bring Quantum Dot 4K TVs to CES next month

Written by James Delahunty @ 16 Dec 2014 12:26

LG will bring Quantum Dot 4K TVs to CES next month LG Electronics has announced that it will showcase Quantum Dot Ultra HD 4K TVs at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas next month.

The South Korean consumer electronics firm already provides Ultra HD 4K displays using conventional LCD technology and the more coveted organic light-emitting diode (OLED) technology, providing a stunning colorful display and complimenting 4K resolution very well.

However, while the cost of OLED displays is dropping, it is still a bit away from becoming affordable to most buyers and so LG wants to bring forth Quantum Dot to significantly improve its LCD.

The technology works by harnessing nano crystals that range in size from 2 to 10 nanometers, with each "dot" emitting a different color based on its size. A film of these quantum dots is combined with LG's current In-Plane Switching (IPS) LCD displays to provide a wider color palette and improved color saturation.

"The color reproduction rate in LG's IPS panels, which offers high color accuracy and extra wide viewing angles, is increased with the addition of the quantum dot film by more than 30 percent compared with conventional LCD/LED TVs," claims LG.

Sony already uses Quantum Dot technology in several of its high-end TVs and Samsung are reportedly about to unveil their own QD products.

AfterDawn: News

Xbox One is 'just getting start' says exec

Written by James Delahunty @ 16 Dec 2014 12:06

Xbox One is 'just getting start' says exec Microsoft executive responds to November's sales triumph over the PlayStation 4 in the United States and the United Kingdom.

November was the first month that Microsoft managed to sell more Xbox One consoles to customers than Sony managed with its PlayStation 4 (PS4) console in the United States. According to NPD data, the Redmond giant sold about 1.2 million Xbox One units in the U.S. during the month.

Additionally, Microsoft's console outsold the PS4 in the UK, although it isn't clear how the Xbox One fared globally against the PS4.

Nevertheless, Microsoft immediately touted the NPD data. The sales victory was helped by price cuts and also by a decent software line-up approaching the holiday season.

Microsoft's Aaron Greenberg, who is boss of Xbox games marketing, said that the Xbox One is just getting started. The firm is extremely confident about its game line-up as the New Year approaches that it says it may even need to delay some titles to make room.

During November, Xbox Live also saw a new record of players signing on to the service, and game sales for the Xbox One also surpassed those of PS4 and Wii U.

via: GameSpot

AfterDawn: News

Google faces $18 million privacy fine

Written by James Delahunty @ 16 Dec 2014 11:29

Google faces $18 million privacy fine Google has been given until February to change its management of data from users or else face a fine of up to $18 million.

The threat comes from the Dutch data protection agency which admits it is running out of patience with Google at this point. It has threatened to fine Google up to a max of 15 million - $18.6 million - if it does not stop violating Dutch users' privacy.

This all stems from a 2012 change in Google's privacy policies across services, intended to unify them into a single policy. The pooling of data across services ruffled a lot of feathers, particularly in the European Union where regulators at the state and European levels have raised questions about the change's compatibility with data protection and privacy laws.

"This has been ongoing since 2012 and we hope our patience will no longer be tested," said Jacob Kohnstamm, chairman of the Dutch data protection authority.

The problem the regulator has with Google seems to boil down to the fact that users weren't properly informed in advance of the changes, and Google sought no consent to pool data from search, its email service, and other sites together.

AfterDawn: News

PSA: Download fix for bad Windows update

Written by James Delahunty @ 16 Dec 2014 11:14

PSA: Download fix for bad Windows update Microsoft is pushing an out-of-cycle update to fix a problem caused by a previous Windows update distributed on Patch Tuesday in November.

The broken update in question - KB3004394 - was distributed last week and has caused numerous problems with Windows 7 and Windows Server 2008 R2 installations. Problems range from preventing further Windows updates to preventing updates to drivers for graphics cards and more.

Microsoft quickly encouraged users to remove the stricken update and worked on a fix instead. In actual fact, the fix just removes the previous update.

The new update - KB3024777 - will remove the previous update from your installation and should fix any problems you have after a reboot or two. Depending on your Windows Updates settings you might already have gotten the update (and will have been prompted to reboot), or you may have been alerted to its availability instead.

You can manually download the update for your Windows operating system from too.

AfterDawn: News

Microsoft kicks off Skype Translator preview

Written by James Delahunty @ 16 Dec 2014 11:07

Microsoft kicks off Skype Translator preview Connecting people across continents is old news, but breaking down language barriers between them is the new goal of services like Skype.

Cooperating with Microsoft's R&D, Skype has kicked off its Translator Preview with support for translating conservations between Spanish and English, and even offers us a video demo of two classrooms communicating using the technology to show off where they currently are.

The preview program is available to Skype customers who have signed-up via the Skype Translator sign-up page and are using Windows 8.1 on the desktop or device. For now it supports Spanish and English as spoken, and also 40+ instant messaging languages.

In the demonstration video below, two classrooms in North America use the new Skype Translator. Students in Peterson School in Mexico City, and Stafford Elementary School in Tacoma, USA play a game of "Mystery Skype", in which the children ask questions to determine the location of the other school.

As they speak, Skype automatically translates between English and Spanish for them.


AfterDawn: News

BBM 2.0 now available on Windows Phone

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 16 Dec 2014 0:32

BBM 2.0 now available on Windows Phone Windows Phone owners can now download BBM 2.0 (BlackBerry Messenger), which offers a plethora of new features.

The key new features include "privacy and control features including timed messages and message retraction." Less important are the addition of BBM Stickers that can be used within chats.

Rather than go through all the new features, here are a few videos from the team at BlackBerry showing off what's new:


AfterDawn: News

Gartner: Over 300 million smartphones sold in the Q3

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 15 Dec 2014 23:51

Gartner: Over 300 million smartphones sold in the Q3 According to new figures from research firm Gartner, 301 million smartphones were sold in the Q3 2014, up 20 percent year-over-year.

Perhaps most notable in the report is the fact that Apple and Samsung's duopoly is starting to see some decline, with the two companies accounting for just 37 percent share, down from 44 percent last December.

Chinese startup Xiaomi managed to crack the top five, taking share from a struggling Samsung and taking 5.2 percent global share. Chinese giant Huawei gained slightly, taking 5.3 percent share, and third place in global share. Apple, on strong sales of the iPhone 6 and 6 Plus, increased to 12.7 percent share. Samsung remained the clear leader, but its share collapsed year-over-year from 32 percent to 24.4 percent.

"From a regional perspective, emerging markets exhibited some of the highest growths ever recorded, with Eastern Europe and the Middle East and Africa achieving the highest increase in the third quarter of 2014, with sales of smartphones growing almost 50% year-over-year," says Gartner director Robert Cozza. Developed markets, however, are almost completely saturated.

From an operating system standpoint, it is no longer a competition as Android had 83.1 percent share.


AfterDawn: News

Early script for latest James Bond film, 'SPECTRE,' was stolen in Sony Pictures hack

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 15 Dec 2014 13:54

Early script for latest James Bond film, 'SPECTRE,' was stolen in Sony Pictures hack Eon Productions, the producers behind the newly announced James Bond 'SPECTRE' film have confirmed that an early version of the script was stolen as part of the 100 terabytes of data taken when Sony Pictures was hacked last month.

"Eon Productions is concerned that third parties who have received the stolen screenplay may seek to publish it or its contents," Eon added, also letting those who share it that the script would be protected by UK copyright laws.

SPECTRE just began filming with Daniel Craig returning as Agent 007, and the film is set for release next November.

Bond is one of Sony's biggest draws, and 2012's 'Skyfall' brought in $1.1 billion, the most ever for a movie in the franchise.


AfterDawn: News

Xiaomi made a small $56 million profit last year

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 15 Dec 2014 13:24

Xiaomi made a small $56 million profit last year According to a new filing, the Chinese smartphone giant booked a profit of just $56 million last year, a shockingly low figure given the fact that Xiaomi is the fourth largest smartphone maker in the world.

The number reflects tiny margins for the company, which was founded in 2011 and now sells millions of high-quality but cheap devices in China.

Xiaomi had revenue of $4.3 billion for the year, but an operating margin of 1.8 percent. By comparison, Apple has margins above 28 percent. The company has long said that it sells the hardware almost at cost to get as many handsets out there so they can sell software and services. Amazon has tried a similar model, but they too were not successful.

Regardless, with a global smartphone market share of 5.6 percent, Xiaomi has certainly made a brand for themselves, and most in the industry value the company at over $10 billion.


AfterDawn: News

Sony Pictures hackers promise 'Christmas gift'

Written by James Delahunty @ 15 Dec 2014 11:41

Sony Pictures hackers promise 'Christmas gift' Following further leaks of data stolen from Sony Pictures, hackers have promised the studio that a Christmas gift is coming soon.

"We are preparing for you a Christmas gift," the Guardians of Peace (GoP) said in a post on Pastebin.

"The gift will be larger quantities of data. And it will be more interesting.The gift will surely give you much more pleasure and put Sony Pictures into the worst state. Please send an email titled by 'Merry Christmas' at the addresses below to tell us what you want in our Christmas gift."

The hackers are reportedly making a bunch of demands of Sony Pictures. As we previously reported, the group apparently demanded that Sony Pictures cancel the release of "The Interview", starring Seth Rogan and James Franco as journalists who are recruited by the CIA to assassinate North Korean leader Kim Jong un.

Sony is also attempting to stop large media corporations from reporting on data from the leaked e-mails, as some of the information disclosed has been of a particularly sensitive nature.

AfterDawn: News

Apology given for Amazon glitch leading to items sold for 1p

Written by James Delahunty @ 15 Dec 2014 11:32

Apology given for Amazon glitch leading to items sold for 1p A Northern Ireland firm has apologized after a software glitch resulting in products being listed and sold on Amazon for just 1p.

The glitch happened on Friday between 19:00 and 20:00 and it affected firms using Repricer Express, which automatically adjusts the prices of items on sale on Amazon to keep them competitive.

Repricer Express chief executive Brendan Doherty said he was deeply sorry for the disruption. Most orders were cancelled after the error was spotted.

Repricer Express is investigating the cause of the issue and will attempt to prevent it reoccurring in the future.

"We managed to get the problem resolved so that any new prices going to Amazon were correct within about an hour of the problem being reported," Doherty said.

"It took a further few hours to get incorrect prices reverted to their original prices where possible. Amazon have assured us that seller accounts will not be penalised for this issue."

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