Anonymous Denies Responsibility For Sony PSN Attack

Subject: General Tech | May 6, 2011 - 09:20 AM |
Tagged: sony, Internet, Data Breach, Anonymous

As Sony analyzed the forensic data of the recent PSN/SOE attack, they discovered a text file named "Anonymous" and containing the phrase "We are legion," according to Network World. As a result of this, Sony even went so far as to accuse the hacker group as the responsible party in hacking the Playstation Network (and stealing customers' information) in a letter to the U.S. congress.

Anonymous responded to the implications brought by Sony today. Network World reports that Anonymous has stated they were not involved in the attack and that "others performed the attack with the intent of making Anonymous look bad." Based on a press release by the hacker group, it's prior victims had motive to irreparably defame the group in the public eye.  Anonymous stated that they have never been involved in credit card theft.  Further, they claim to be an "ironically transparent movement," and had they truly been behind the attack they would have claimed responsibility for their actions.

The press release goes on to state that "no one who is actually associated with our movement would do something that would prompt a massive law enforcement response."  They further claim that the world's standard fare of Internet thieves would have invested interest in making Sony and law enforcement agencies believe it was Anonymous to throw police off of their trail.

The hacker group names such former victims as Palantir, HBGary, and the U.S. Chamber Of Commerce of being organizations that would like to discredit Anonymous.  "Anonymous will continue its work in support of transparency and individual liberty; our adversaries will continue their work in support of secrecy and control," they state in their press release "we are anonymous."

As Anonymous, Sony, and spectators the world over debate, the affected public continues to wait for the true identies of the hackers involved in stealing 77 milion Sony customers' private information to come to light.

Netflix Employee Terminated For Accessing Customers' Credit Card Information

Subject: Editorial, General Tech | May 5, 2011 - 11:31 PM |
Tagged: Netflix, Customer Data, Corporate theft

It seems as though this Spring season is just a bad time for customers' personally identifiable information. Especially in the wake of the Sony PSN and SOE attack fiasco, to have yet another large corporation found to be involved in compromised customer data is rather disheartening for customers who trust companies with their private information.

Update:  LastPass has also reported a data breach, resulting in customers' emails being compromised.  Luckily; however, users' passwords were salted and hashed so users accounts on other sites should not be compromised in contrast to the Sony case where the passwords were compromised.


Fortunately, in the case of Netlfix, they have determined who the responsible party was and have moved swiftly to address the issue. Maximum tech reports that an un-named call center employee for Netlfix was terminated for accessing customers' information without permission.  On April 4, 2011 Netflix discovered that one of their call center employees had been accessing confidential information of a number of customers that he had spoken with over the phone.  He was found to have accessed the name and credit card information of two customers in New Hampshire.

According to the article, Netflix is now in the process of notifying the two customers in question.

The amount of private data that customers entrust will be kept private by the companies that they do business with everyday is rather daunting.  When large corporations like Sony and Netflix run into problems with keeping information secure, one has to wonder how much compromised information goes under the radar of the majority of people.  While there is not much one can do to stop others accessing their data without permission once information has been lost in a data breach or as a result of corporate theft, people do have control over what information is given to compainies to begin with.  

It may seem rather paradoxical for me to quote Sony of all people; however, they have definitely seen the consequenses and thus can assuredly recommend that customers stay vigilant and protect themselves from fraud.  Using one time credit card numbers (if your bank/card provider offers this) or reloadable visa debit cards with just enough money on them fro the desired transactions can help to protect you from data breaches such as this.  Further, only provide the minimum amount of information necessary for a transaction, especially if it's to a company that you're unsure about.  While various forms of fraud protection can help, preventing yourself from ever needing to use fraud protection in the first place is the best thing you can do for yourself and your private data.  "Remain vigilant."

Source: Maximum Tech

Podcast #153 - Dell UltraSharp U3011 monitor, AMD Phenom II X4 980, 3D transitors and more!

Subject: Editorial, General Tech | May 5, 2011 - 10:58 PM |
Tagged: ultrasharp, u3011, podcast, Phenom II X4 980, Intel, dell, amd

PC Perspective Podcast #153 - 5/05/2011

This week we talk about the Dell UltraSharp U3011 monitor, AMD Phenom II X4 980, 3D transitors and more!

You can subscribe to us through iTunes and you can still access it directly through the RSS page HERE.

The URL for the podcast is: - Share with your friends!

  • iTunes - Subscribe to the podcast directly through the iTunes Store
  • RSS - Subscribe through your regular RSS reader
  • MP3 - Direct download link to the MP3 file

Hosts: Jeremy Hellstrom, Josh Walrath and Allyn Malventano

This Podcast is brought to you by MSI Computer, and their all new Sandy Bridge Motherboards!

Program length: 1:23:01

Program Schedule:


Ultra-cheap PC for education: 25$ gets you a very smart USB stick.

Subject: General Tech, Systems, Mobile | May 5, 2011 - 10:37 PM |
Tagged: usb computer, Education

In case you did not get enough solder for one day: you are in luck! David Braben, previously known for his work developing such games as Rollercoaster Tycoon, Thrillville, and Kinectimals, created an extremely low cost PC for educational use. His goal is ultimately to have computers like the one he created be accessible such that there would be functionally zero barriers to entry for students to pursue studying computing. A charity was created, the Raspberry Pi Foundation, under these beliefs to distribute this device hopefully sometime within the next 12 months.

Am I the only one who finds it weird that an affordable PC uses HDMI?

Given our demographic it would be blasphemous to not relay the specifications of the PC he created. The PC itself is slightly larger than a USB key in size and runs Ubuntu as its operating system though other distributions are likely possible. The processor is an ARM11 clocked at 700 MHz supported by 128MB of RAM and a GPU which supports OpenGL ES2.0 outputting at least 1080p resolutions. For connectivity it has USB port to attach to a keyboard and an HDMI port to attach to a monitor or flat screen TV. Storage is handled for by an SD card and other accessories are mountable such as the demonstrated 12 MP camera. While not explicitly listed on their site it appears as if connectivity is achieved wired via Ethernet through USB.
While this is obviously a low powered device its cost is only around 25$ and should be powerful enough to handle website interaction, scripting, and other educational applications. This PC and others like it should hopefully ensure that everyone has access to the internet and all of its educational, professional, and employment benefits.

Potential LastPass Break-in Disclosed by LastPass

Subject: General Tech | May 5, 2011 - 06:05 PM |
Tagged: security, lastpass

One of the most important parts of security is authentication. A lot of our methods of authentication online revolve around passwords. There is an expectation these days that you are required to remember large passwords composed of completely random characters including numbers and symbols each unique from each other in the event that one source compromises the password you provide it. This necessity confronts our human nature of having terrible memory. Many programs have made attempts at solutions by storing and generating secure passwords for you.



LastPass is currently one of the most popular platforms for that such need. Wednesday, Lastpass announced on their blog that they have noticed on odd behavior on Tuesday morning in their network traffic without being able to track the source. The security firm claims that while they are unable to tell if user data was compromised that there was a possibility that their list of user email addresses and the corresponding salted and hashed, an algorithm designed to encode data in a way that is almost impossible to ever decode, passwords. Passwords are hashed since the server does not need to know what the password is, only whether it is the same as what was input by the user, so storing the password itself is just asking for trouble in case of intrusion.
LastPass is claiming that they will require their users to change their master password especially in the event that your LastPass password is easily guessed. Currently I have not received such notification on my account but comments on their blog suggest that some have been notified of this requirement. If anything this potential break-in illustrates just how hard actual security is and how much of a concern it should be for the general population at all times that valuable information is being handled.

The 8GB Atari 810 Drive, now with flash memory support

Subject: General Tech, Storage | May 5, 2011 - 06:05 PM |
Tagged: mod, microSD, atari 810

It is common knowledge that technology gets smaller as time advances. There is, however, a point where a certain level of advancement trots along the border to absurdity and makes you think about exactly what is possible with modern technology and occasionally an innovative spirit. Leave it to the hackers to consistently push that boundary and entertain the rest of us less talented individuals.

Recently a blogger by the name of Rossum detailed on their Posterous blog their project of creating a microSD reader as a model replacement of an Atari 810 disk drive.
Image from Rossum
The original Atari 810 disk had the storage of 88K which is about 90,000 times smaller than the 8GB microSD card used in the miniaturized model 810 drive. Rossum claims to provide all the models, schematics, and code for the project in the near future for anyone wishing to dust off their soldering irons and create their own.

Gigabyte goes wireless with their new Aviva mouse

Subject: General Tech | May 5, 2011 - 06:04 PM |
Tagged: mouse, wireless, gaming, gigabyte

Gigabyte has joined in the attempts of many companies to convince gamers that wireless mice are cool.  With 50 hours of battery life and 6500DPI sensor the Aviva M8600 sounds good on paper but until you get it on the mat you will never know how well it performs.  Hardware Secrets were certainly impressed by its ambidexterity, they were just as uncomfortable using it with the left hand as with the right.  No complaints about input lag though.


"Gamers usually shun wireless peripherals, always wary of a possible energy loss. No one wants to rummage around for a cable and lose an online match. With that in mind, Gigabyte has released a wireless gaming-grade mouse with a long lasting 50 hour battery that comes with an extra battery that you can rapidly switch. Besides those characteristics, the Aivia M8600 reaches 6,500 DPI and features a design for both right- and left-handed users, plus ten reprogrammable buttons. Let's talk first about its physical aspects and then test its wireless operation."

Here is some more Tech News from around the web:

Tech Talk

Recent Study Finds Students In US Are Not Properly Prepared To Protect Themselves Online

Subject: Editorial, General Tech | May 5, 2011 - 08:35 AM |
Tagged: Internet, Education, Cyber Security

 Microsoft recently posted a press release detailing the results of its sponsored study by the NCSA (National Cyber Security Alliance). The study sought to determine whom people believe bears the responsibility for teaching children how to protect themselves on the Internet, as well as what the current situation is as far as K-12 students’ level of preparedness and education. The executive director of the NCSA, Michael Kaiser, had this to say:

“Just as we would not hand a child a set of car keys with no instruction about how to drive, we should not be sending students out into the world without a solid understanding of how to be safe and secure online."

According to Microsoft, the NCSA advocates for a “comprehensive approach” to teaching children from K-12 how to stay safe and secure online. While the consensus seems to be that students do need educated in Internet security, people are divided on exactly who bears the primary responsibility for teaching children. Children’s teachers, parents, and even government leaders and law enforcement have all been raised as possible responsible parties. The majority of teachers (80 percent) and school administrators (60 percent) surveyed are proponents of parents being responsible for teaching their kids about “digital safety, security, and ethics.” On the other hand, more than 50 percent of the IT coordinators surveyed believe that teachers are the ones that bear the most responsibility of educating kids. From the survey, one area where all groups do seem to agree is on the question of government responsibility in educating kids. Microsoft states that less than one percent believe law enforcement and government officials should bear the responsibility.


While cyber security is important for students to learn, as 97 percent of school administrators believe schools should have courses and an educational plan for students throughout their K-12 grades, only 68 percent of administrators “believe their schools or school districts are doing an adequate job of preparing students...”

The situation of adequate education looks even bleaker when teachers where surveyed. When asked whether they feel prepared to teach students adequately, 24 percent believed they were adequately prepared to talk about and educate kids on protecting personal information on the Internet, and 23 percent are comfortable teaching the risks of cyberbullying. Further, only one-third of teachers surveyed believe they are prepared to educated students on basic Internet security skills “such as password protection and backing up data.” The low numbers are attributed to the lack of professional development training that teachers are receiving. Microsoft states that “86 percent received less than six hours of related training.” Microsoft quotes Kaiser in saying that “America’s schools have not caught up with the realities of the modern economy. Teachers are not getting adequate training in online safety topics, and schools have yet to adopt a comprehensive approach to online safety, security and ethics as part of a primary education. In the 21st century, these topics are as important as reading, writing and math.”

In all of this, there is a ray of hope. Comparing the 2010 study to the NCSA’s 2008 study which you can read here, an increasing number of teachers believe cyber security and professional development training is a priority.More than 60 percent of school officials and teachers are interested in pursing further security training. This interest in training among teachers is up to 69 percent from 55 percent in 2008. IT coordinators and administrators are also becoming more interested in revamping the educational curriculum to better teach their students and workers.  Further improvements in interest among educators pursuing further security training can be seen between the 2010 and the 2011 NCSA study.  Also, slightly higher percentages exist across the board for teachers who have tought aspects of security in their classrooms compared to both the 2010 and 2008 studies.

On the other hand, while interest in training is increasing for teachers, from 2010 to 2011, security topics taught in clases have actually dropped.  This is in addition to a decrease in teachers' beliefs that they bear responsibility in educating kids.


A comparison paper between the 2008 and 2010 study can be downloaded here (PDF).

What are your thoughts on this issue; who bears the primary responsibility in educating children on the importance of Internet safety?


Image 1 courtesy 2011 NCSA study.  Image 2 courtesy 2008 to 2010 NCSA comparison study.  Material is copyright NCSA, and used according to fair usage guidelines for the purpose of commentary and reporting.

Source: Microsoft

Seagate Shows Off 1TB Per Platter Hard Drives

Subject: General Tech, Storage | May 5, 2011 - 08:28 AM |
Tagged: Hard Drive, Areal Density, 1TB Platter

 In an amazing feat of data density, Seagate has once again made a leap to the next level of storage technology unveiling 1 Terabyte per platter drives. WIth an areal density of 625 Gigabytes per square inch, Seagate claims the new drives are capable of storing “virtually countless hours of digital music,” and “1,500 video games.”


The move to 1TB per platter drives is an especially important step for high capacity drives. Current 1TB+ drives are using two 500 GB platters, while current 3TB drives are using either four 750 GB platters in the form of the WD Caviar Green 3 TB that PC Perspective has reviewed here, or the five 600 GB platters. With Seagate’s new technology, they will be able to cut the number of platters in their highest capacity 3 TB drives almost in half. By moving from five platters to three, their drives will run cooler, faster, and with less power draw. Improved areal density also reduces the number of moving parts, and thus decreases the points of failure, even with the inclusion of newer and more sensitive read heads.

The place in the market where this new technology will make the most noticeable difference is in the mobile segment. With just a single platter, mobile users will have close to 1.5 terabytes of internal storage in a two platter drive, or 750 GB in a one platter drive while using less power and being capable of faster reads. This means that road warriors will be able to keep more of their files with them without reducing battery life compared to the current crop of mobile hard drives.

Unfortunately, mobile users will have to wait, as Seagate has only announced 3.5” desktop and external drives. These drives will be branded under both the Seagate Barracuda XT and GoFlex lines respectively.


For desktop users, they can currently expect capacities ranging from 1TB to 3TB drives. In a RAID array, these new lower power and potentially faster drives would make for a great addition to an HD video editing rig. Call me crazy, but I’m going to hold onto my old school 320 GB Seagate drives until I can jump straight to 4 TB. So, where’s my 4 platter, 4TB drive Seagate?

Are you excited about this new platter technology? What would you do with 3 terabytes of storage?

Source: Seagate

What is AIDA64 Extreme Edition? Only the new improved replacement for the Everest benchmarking tool

Subject: General Tech, Graphics Cards, Systems, Storage | May 4, 2011 - 06:43 PM |
Tagged: ssd, everest, benchmarking, benchmark, aida64, aida

BUDAPEST, Hungary - May 04, 2011 - FinalWire Ltd. today announced the immediate availability of AIDA64 Extreme Edition 1.70 software, a streamlined diagnostic and benchmarking tool for home users; and the immediate availability of AIDA64 Business Edition 1.70 software, an essential network management solution for small and medium scale enterprises.


The new AIDA64 release further strengthens its solid-state drive health and temperature monitoring capabilities, and implements support for the latest graphics processors from both AMD and nVIDIA.

New features & improvements

  • LGA1155 B3 stepping motherboards support
  • Preliminary support for AMD “Bulldozer” and “Llano” processors
  • Intel 320, Intel 510, OCZ Vertex 3, Samsung PM810 SSD support
  • GPU details for AMD Radeon HD 6770M, Radeon HD 6790
  • GPU details for nVIDIA GeForce GT 520, GT 520M, GT 550M, GT 555M, GTX 550 Ti, GTX 590

Pricing and Availability
AIDA64 Extreme Edition and AIDA64 Business Edition are available now at Additional information on product features, system requirements, and language versions is available at Join our Discussion Forum at

AIDA64 license renewal is now available. For more information, visit
A migration program is available for all EVEREST customers at

Source: AIDA