Geek News Roundup for 12/15/2013 – Massive Hack Attacks


With the holiday upon us (today is Christmas Eve after all), some headaches are inevitable. On Thursday an estimated 40 million consumers in North America woke up with one of the biggest headaches of all: their credit and debit card information had been stolen. Target announced a major data breach of its systems during November 27 through December 15. Needless to say, if you shopped at a Target store between those dates you should be in the process or have already gotten yourself a new credit or debit card.

Shoppers aren’t the only ones who need to worry about having their financial information stolen. Gamers are also a favorite target of crackers, hackers and other tech savvy thieves in search of easy money. According to the Kaspersky Lab security firm approximately 34,000 attacks are launched against gamers each and every day. Not all of them are successful but they often do take the form of illegal copies of games laced with malware and phishing attacks. The next time you’re tempted by that illegal download of Minecraft or Grand Theft Auto V think twice about it.

How much does stolen account information go for anyway? It’s a lot less than you would expect. Here’s a break down of what happens with stolen banking information.

On Monday hacking of a different caliber began. Curious gamers with hacking and programming knowhow were treated to Valve’s release of Steam OS. (To be fair, anyone can download the Linux-based operating system.) Valve’s custom OS is recommended for savvy Linux users because the program is not yet considered stable. In addition to Steam OS, the 300 promised Steam Machines arrived at the homes of lucky PC gamers. Gamers can begin immediately beta testing the black PC boxes and new controller. If you’re more curious about what’s under the hood of a Steam Machine here’s a tear down for you. Hint: the components inside the box aren’t cheap; the graphics card alone is worth more than $500. It’ll be interesting to discover how much Valve’s Linux-based gaming PCs will cost when they are finally available to the public.

If you’re not interested in technology perhaps a good animated film is just the thing you need. Miyazaki’s final film, The Wind Rises isn’t due out in North America until February but it has already won a number of awards including both the Online Film Critics Society and the Toronto Film Critics Association’s “Best Animated Feature” award. Hopefully The Wind Rises can win a Golden Globe when award season arrives.

There is one place that has not been winning any awards or good will among its users. I’m talking about YouTube, of course. The Content ID changes have drawn the ire of many users. This Taiwanese CGI animated video will explain the major issues to you:

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