Huge Lay-offs at Telltale Games ("Majority Studio Closure")

Subject: General Tech | September 21, 2018 - 06:17 PM |
Tagged: pc gaming, telltale

This afternoon, Telltale Games announced that they have laid off all but 25 employees; those who remain are there to “fulfill the company’s obligations to its board and partners”. Various sites are reporting that this equates to the loss of about 90% of their jobs. That number would be even higher if you compared it from a year ago, however, where they had “between 350 and 400” employees, according to an interview that Eurogamer had with Job Stauffer at Gamescom 2017.

The signs were there; I just wasn’t paying attention.

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The company has not fully outlined what will happen with their various titles yet. Rumors are that The Wolf Among Us: Season Two and their Stranger Things projects have been canceled. Basically, at least if the rumors are correct, the last 25 employees will wrap up The Walking Dead and that will be it. That said, you never know whether some publisher will swoop in and pick up some licenses. It’s a bit harder in Telltale’s case because their content is licensed from existing franchises (apart from Puzzle Agent and a few card games).

I do hope that someone will swoop in and pick up a bunch of employees, however. The industry, as commonly happens when these things occur, has created a venue to connect those who are affected with potential new employers. This time it is a Twitter hashtag, #TelltaleJobs. If you own a game studio, then you probably already know about this, but, just in case you haven’t, it’s a good place to let people know you’re hiring (if you are).

Amazon's new kit

Subject: General Tech | September 21, 2018 - 03:02 PM |
Tagged: amazon

Amazon announced a variety of products, new or improved for you to order from them.  The Echo Dot, Plus and Show have all been improved, both in performance and aesthetics such as adding temperature monitoring to the Plus to give feed back to your smart thermostat.  The Echo Sub can be linked to existing bluetooth speakers to give your audio some bass while the Echo Input can add any speaker into your Alexa powered audio system.  Pop by The Inquirer for a look at the rest of the new products, up to and including the microwave.

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"AMAZON HAS taken the covers off its new Echo and Alexa range and against all expectation, much of the range will be coming to the UK from the outset. But it looks like we've been diddled out of the microwave."

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Source: The Inquirer

Come on let's go Space Garbage Truckin'

Subject: General Tech | September 20, 2018 - 02:32 PM |
Tagged: sapcex, RemoveDEBRIS, nifty, Falcon 9

Kessler syndrome, aka the Kessler effect, describes a critical point that space garbage in low earth orbit could reach which would effectively trap us on the planet.  Not only that, it would turn orbiting satellites into even more space garbage, which would be a bad thing for the modern world.  As you can see in the picture below, there is already a large amount of fair sized junk in our orbit. 

The RemoveDEBRIS spaceship was designed to help ensure this never happens, and it was launched into orbit and delivered to the ISS on the most recent Falcon 9 flight.  Hackaday reports that the first test was successful, and the test target was successfully tracked and captured in the net that RemoveDEBRIS launched at it.   This is just the first step, the next test would involve attaching a drag sail to the netted debris so it can be deorbited, in a manner that would more or less ensure the debris doesn't land in your bathroom or otherwise inconvenience us sitting at the bottom of the gravity well. 

Check it out here.

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"To that end, RemoveDEBRIS deployed a CubeSat target and allowed it to drift approximately seven meters away. Once the target had moved to the prescribed distance, a net developed by Airbus was fired at it. When the center of the net struck the CubeSat, weights along its edges wrapped around the target, completely ensnaring it."

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Source: Hackaday

Podcast #514 - NVIDIA GeForce RTX 2080 and 2080 Ti Deep Dive

Subject: General Tech | September 20, 2018 - 12:23 PM |
Tagged: turing, RTX 2080 Ti, RTX 2080, rtx, podcast, pascal, nvidia, Intel, i9-9900K, i7-9700K, coffee lake

PC Perspective Podcast #514 - 09/20/18

Join us this week for discussion on both the Turing architecture, NVIDIA RTX 2080 and 2080 Ti product reviews, more 8-core Intel Coffee Lake Rumors 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: http://pcper.com/podcast - Share with your friends!

Hosts: Ryan Shrout, Jeremy Hellstrom, Josh Walrath, Allyn Malventano

Peanut Gallery: Alex Lustenberg

Program length: 1:38:19

Podcast topics of discussion:

  1. Week in Review:
  2. Thanks to Casper for supporting our podcast! Save $50 on select mattresses at http://www.casper.com/pcper code pcper
  3. News items of interest:
  4. Picks of the Week:
    1. 1:26:40 Jeremy: @#*$ing NewEgg
    2. 1:28:35 Josh: Physical Media 4 Evah
    3. 1:31:20 Allyn: Lego Voltron
  5. Closing/outro

AIDA64 v5.98 arrives just in time for RTX

Subject: General Tech | September 19, 2018 - 07:13 PM |
Tagged: aida64

AIDA 64 have just updated their software with two fairly big updates.  You receive no points for guessing that one of these updates is the details for the GeForce RTX 2000 Series, however if you guessed better support for AMD B450 and X470 chipsets then you should indeed feel proud and collect a few internet points.

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The full list of new features and updates includes the following:

  • Microsoft Windows 10 October 2018 Update support
  • VAES optimized AES benchmark
  • EVGA Z10 LCD support
  • Improved support for ARM64 systems
  • Thermaltake Riing Plus sensor support
  • Improvements for AMD B450 and X470 chipset based motherboards
  • Corsair H80i Pro, H100i Pro, H115i Pro, H150i Pro sensor support
  • Support for Matrix Orbital EVE LCD displays and OK OLED displays
  • Vulkan 1.1, WDDM 2.4 support
  • GPU details for AMD Radeon RX 560X, Radeon RX 570X, Radeon RX 580X
  • GPU details for nVIDIA GeForce RTX 2000 Series

You can update your client or visit AIDA64 to purchase your copy.

 

Source: AIDA 64

The Tale of a quest that has gone four the Bards

Subject: General Tech | September 19, 2018 - 02:31 PM |
Tagged: gaming, bards tale IV, Brian Fargo

Four stacks of 99 Beserkers; are you kidding me?  While it is early days yet and my quest has but begun Brian Fargo's resurrection of his old series, The Bards Tale, is looking good.  The graphics seem a little prettier than when last we visited Skara Brae but many of the mechanics remain the same.  You even get to print out and make your own code wheel, something not often seen now that the days when cloth maps were included with your game have passed into memory.

That sad, if you lack the desire for that nostalgic feel, you might not enjoy this game as much as some, at least until some patches come out.  Save points are not exactly the best way to keep your narrative flowing, as Rock, Paper, SHOTGUN points out and they had some technical issues which I had not noticed; apart from it strongly disliking full screen mode on multiple monitors.  If you backed the Kickstarter as I did you have probably already given this a spin, otherwise you can grab it on Steam or GOG and if you are on the fence then hold off for a bit to see how inExile improves the game over the next few months.

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"I cannot stress enough that, no matter how much it looks like we control the theatrical metal bands on the top half of the game’s screen performing for a crowd down in the pit at the bottom, we’re actually put in charge of that bottom lot to duff up the topfolk."

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That's a big ARM you've got there Mr. Ampere

Subject: General Tech | September 19, 2018 - 12:42 PM |
Tagged: Ampere Computing, arm, Ampere

Ampere Computing have been busy developing an impressive ARM processor, which they talked to The Register about today.  The new Ampere is a 3.3GHz 32-core 64-bit Armv8 CPU fabbed on TSMC's 16nm FinFETs.  It can address up to 1TB of DDR4-2667 and sports 42 PCIe 3.0 lanes, all on a single socket with the next generation adding multiple socket support once it is fabbed on 7nm TSMC FinFET.   This is not your normal ARM processor and its 125W power draw is more in line with an AMD or Intel server processor. 

There are no benchmarks but there is quite a bit of detail to go through in the article, including confirmation that they have addressed the Spectre and Meltdown vulnerabilities. 

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"Carlyle Group-backed Ampere Computing, run by ex-Intel president Renée James, says it is, at last, shipping its 64-bit Arm-compatible server processor."

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Source: The Register

Owning the 2080 Ti is still a fantasy but this will not be the final leak of benchmarks

Subject: General Tech | September 18, 2018 - 01:07 PM |
Tagged: RTX 2080 Ti, nvidia, leak, benchmark

A new leak has sprung from the green team, with a 2080 Ti purportedly showing up on some Final Fantasy XV benchmarks.  The cards are in reviewers hands so it is possible someone slipped up on their NDA and these accurately depict performance, though this being the internet it is also likely someone is trolling.  If true, the new card is almost 25% faster than the mighty Titan Xp, at least in a Final Fantasy XV benchmark.   Unfortunately it will also cost more than a Titan Xp when it does finally arrive. 

Drop by The Inquirer for a peek.

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"At least that's according to results that popped up in a leaked database of Final Fantasy XV benchmarks, hat tip to TechRadar, in which the RTX 2080 Ti racked up a score of 5,897 compared to the 4,756 achieved by the Titan Xp."

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Source: The Inquirer

Are you sure you want to bite into that Apple?

Subject: General Tech | September 17, 2018 - 01:43 PM |
Tagged: apple, security, webroot, webkit, SecureAnywhere

There is a bit of a fuss being made by Apple fans today, as once again reality contradicts their claims of the invulnerability of their favourite devices.  The less serious but still active bug is more an inconvenience than a threat, but having your device crash simply because you visited a webpage is more than a little embarrassing.

The second vulnerability involves SecureAnywhere and while it has been mitigated in recent updates (9.0.8.34) it was unpatched for quite a while.  The patch was released several months ago, but it is only this week we are learning about it, with the justification offered to The Register following the usual claims that letting people know might expose more devices to the threat.  Security through obscurity can lead to delayed upgrades as users wait to see if a patch has negative effects, while leaving themselves open to attack.  In this case the vulnerability was only effective on an already compromised device, hopefully that reduced the number of people targetted.

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"Details of a locally exploitable but kernel-level flaw in Webroot's SecureAnywhere macOS security software were revealed yesterday, months after the bug was patched."

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Source: The Register

Realtime Raytracing Commit Spotted in Unity GitHub

Subject: General Tech | September 14, 2018 - 10:32 PM |
Tagged: rtx, Unity, ray tracing, directx raytracing, DirectX 12

As Ken wrote up his take in a separate post, NVIDIA has made Turing architecture details public, which will bring real-time ray tracing to PC gaming later this month. When it was announced, NVIDIA had some demos in Unreal Engine 4, and a few partnered games (Battlefield V, Shadow of the Tomb Raider, and Metro Exodus) showed off their implementations.

As we expected, Unity is working on supporting it too.

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Not ray tracing, but from the same project at Unity.

The first commit showed up on Unity’s GitHub for their Scriptable Render Pipelines project, dated earlier today. Looking through the changes, it appears to just generate the acceleration structure based on the objects of type renderer in the current scene (as well as define the toggle properties of course). It looks like we are still a long way out.

I’m looking forward to ray tracing implementations, though. I tend to like art styles with anisotropic metal trims and soft shadows, which is difficult to get right with rasterization alone due to the reliance on other objects in the scene. In the case of metal, reflections dominate the look and feel of the material. In the case of soft shadows, you really need to keep track of how much of a light has been blocked between the rendered fragment and the non-point light.

And yes, it will depend on the art style, but mine just happens to be computationally expensive.

Reopening a cold boot case

Subject: General Tech | September 14, 2018 - 03:31 PM |
Tagged: security, Lenovo, dell, apple

Many, many moons ago a vulnerability was discovered which would let you grab some or all of the data last written to RAM.  A computer in sleep mode could be powered off, the firmware specifically modified and then booted from a USB drive, allowing an attacker to extract data from the RAM.  This requires physical access and a specific skill set but does not take all that long.  This new attack is used to grab the encryption keys from memory, which then allows them to gain access to the data stored on your encrypted drives.  The Inquirer reports that there is a solution to this resurrected vulnerability, however it is only easy to implement before a system is provided to customers, worrying for companies using these commonly deployed brands.

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"But F-Secure principal security consultant Olle Segerdahl, along with other researchers from the security outfit, claim they've discovered a way to disable that safety measure and extract data using the ten-year-old cold boot attack method."

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Source: The Inquirer

Cooler Master's Canadian clicky keyboard, the CK552

Subject: General Tech | September 13, 2018 - 06:42 PM |
Tagged: input, Gateron Red, gaming keyboard, cooler master, CK552

You can only find CM's CK552 at Best Buy, Staples Canada, and EB Games stores and it only comes with Gateron red switches; the CK550 is more widely available and offers a choice of Gateron mechanical switches. If you are curious if this keyboard is the equivalent of some sort of chromium chinpokoman, you should drop by The Tech Report for a look at why they recommend it.  It does help to share in their addiction to the click, but at ~$80 it could also be a good gateway into the world of clicky keyboards.

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"Cooler Master's CK552 mechanical gaming keyboard relies on Gateron switches and a fat-free design to offer the quality and feel of mechanical key switches without a high price tag. We put the CK552 under our fingers to see whether it delivers. "

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Coffee Lake ssssssssssssssssss

Subject: General Tech | September 13, 2018 - 12:41 PM |
Tagged: rumour, leak, Intel, coffee lake s

The S in Coffee Lake S should obviously sound like air slowly leaking out of an air mattress as we now have an idea of the pricing before Intel has official announced them.  The prices come from a Singaporean site, so the direct currency conversion which The Inquirer links to may not be completely accurate but the prices do seem in the right ballpark.  You can expect to pay around $452 for the i9-9900k with the i7-9700k coming in one hundred dollars cheaper at $352 or $251 for an i5-9600k.  If these prices are more or less correct then AMD's Ryzen 2 chips are noticeably less expensive. 

We do have to wait for the release before we can give you performance per dollar ratings, either by thread or by chip.

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"INFO AROUND INTEL'S 9th-gen chips is leakier than a bucket that been battered by a morning star, an indicated by the prices for the next wave of Intel CPUs slipping out prematurely in Singapore."

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Source: The Inquirer

Podcast #513 - Gaming on Threadripper 2990WX, Huawei Cheating in Benchmarks, and more!

Subject: General Tech | September 13, 2018 - 10:45 AM |
Tagged: podcast, ryzen, Threadripper, 2990wx, 2950x, be quiet, Silent Base 601, toshiba, XG6

PC Perspective Podcast #513 - 09/13/18

Join us this week for discussion on gaming on Threadripper 2990WX, Huawei Cheating in Benchmarks, 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: http://pcper.com/podcast - Share with your friends!

Hosts: Allyn Malventano, Jeremy Hellstrom, Josh Walrath, Ken Addison

Peanut Gallery: Alex Lustenberg

Program length: 1:22:09

Podcast topics of discussion:

  1. Week in Review:
  2. Thanks to Casper for supporting our podcast! Save $50 on select mattresses at http://www.casper.com/pcper code pcper
  3. News items of interest:
  4. Picks of the Week:
    1. 1:14:25 Ken: ASUS PG27UQ for less money
  5. Closing/outro

Play the other Battlefield for cheap

Subject: General Tech | September 12, 2018 - 01:56 PM |
Tagged: ea, battlefield, battlefield 1, battlefield 4, origin

If you didn't pick up BF1 when it was released or during a sale, or you still lack some or all of the DLC then you should consider picking it up this week.   The DLC, as in all of them, are currently free over on Origin and the base game is selling for $5 US.  You could pick up the the Premier Edition for about $12 US if you are one of those who like to support the existence of loot boxes; which are supposedly not in the new Battlefield.

While you are there you can also grab the entire list of DLC for BF4 for free as well, though the base game will set you back $20 if you do not have it.  Visit Rock, Paper, SHOTGUN for direct links or just head to Origin.

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"Battlefield 5‘s open beta is over, but the battle for objective points is eternal. As promised last week, EA have made the DLC Premium Pass for Battlefield 1 free today and for the next week."

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A glimpse through the new Windows; Edge goes full Clippy

Subject: General Tech | September 12, 2018 - 12:36 PM |
Tagged: microsoft, windows 10, onedrive, edge, Storage Sense

Ars Technica posted a look into some of the new features offered in the upcoming Windows October update.  The first feature Microsoft will offer you is a nag screen when you try to install another browser for the first time, reminding you of the existence of the Edge browser and what Microsoft would like you to think about the program. 

The second feature is every bit as useful as the previous one and will help you with those pesky storage space problems you have been experiencing.  Storage Sense is a feature which will automatically remove various files, from your temp directories, downloads folder and even OneDrive files you haven't recently used, thus ensuring that 1TB drive you have will have a few extra megabytes of free space.   This will replace the current Disk Cleanup tool, though hopefully cleanmgr.exe will still be available for those who would rater choose what files are removed.  They have more details as well as a way to keep your OneDrive files handy and modify your cleaning schedule in this post.

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"Because, of course these users know Edge exists; they're explicitly choosing not to use it. Why is Microsoft being so invasive and telling them something that they already know and don't care about?"

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Source: Ars Technica

1MORE is at the spearhead of 3D audio design

Subject: General Tech | September 11, 2018 - 02:34 PM |
Tagged: audio, 1MORE, Spearhead VRX, gaming headset

While it might look like 1MORE's Spearhead uses an ancient voice tube style microphone but the truth is far more terrifying.  That tube is part of the RGBs and will glow whenever you are talking; in fact there are three microphones on this device.  The one which picks up your voice is a pinhole style, providing audio quality at the exact level TechPowerUp and you would expect.  The two additional microphones are rear facing and are used for the sound cancellation feature on the Spearhead.  On the plus side, this is the first headset to feature the Waves Nx technology that enables 3D audio very effectively. 

Take a read through the whole review here.

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"The freshly released 1MORE Spearhead VRX is the newest, technologically beefiest, and most expensive gaming headset 1MORE has to offer. It comes with a unique head-tracking unit that works in conjunction with an advanced DSP to achieve an immersive surround sound experience."

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Source: TechPowerUp

Coffee is Refreshing, if it is authentic

Subject: General Tech | September 11, 2018 - 01:37 PM |
Tagged: geekbench, ryzen 2, coffee lake s, rumours, amd, Intel, i9-9900K, i7-9700K

Geekbench leaks are pretty common, and often at least a wee bit photoshopped so don't take the performance numbers leaked out as fact but there is a slight possibility they are based in reality.  The i9-9900K is shown with a score of 6248 points in single core and 33037 in multicore, while the i7 part reached 6297 and 30152 respectively.  The logic holds somewhat as the i7-9700K is 100MHz slower than the i9 but has half the threads as it is not multi-threaded.  These numbers are higher than Ryzen 2 in single threaded performance but fall behind on multi-threaded apps; as has been historically the case.  

Grab your salt shaker and head to WCCFTech for more details on these two chips as well as the i5-9600K.

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"Geekbench 4 benchmarks for three next-generation Core processors popped up early according to the folks at WCCFtech, with the chips so far look to be mild refreshes on the current Coffee Lake S generation of processors."

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Source: WCCFTech

NVIDIA and Arrow Electronics New Jetson Xavier AI Computer

Subject: General Tech, Systems | September 10, 2018 - 04:59 PM |
Tagged: jetson xavier, nvidia, arrow electronics

Looking to do a little bit of black box programming but need new hardware to do it?  NVIDIA have partnered with Arrow Electronics to produce the newest Jetson system, the Xavier.

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The Xavier supports JetPack and DeepStream SDKs, as well as CUDA, cuDNN, and TensorRT software libraries.  The 512-core Volta GPU with Tensor Cores offer 10 TFLOPS at FP16 and 20 TOPS at INT8, with the two NVDLA engines adding another 5 TOPS each.  It is not just the processing power which has been upgraded, running full out the Xavier is rated at 30W with the option to reduce that maximum to 10W or 15W if efficiency is more important than raw speed.

If you are currently using the Jetson TX2 you have some thinking to do as this units pin-out will not be compatible, however many of the signals are.  The units are in pre-order right now, with the Dev Kit selling for $2500 (USD), $1300 if you are a NVIDIA Developer Program member.

Check out the specs and PR below.

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SANTA CLARA, Calif., Sept. 10, 2018 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- NVIDIA and Arrow Electronics, Inc. today announced they are bringing NVIDIA Jetson Xavier, a first-of-its-kind computer designed for AI, robotics and edge computing, to companies worldwide to create next-generation autonomous machines.

The collaboration combines NVIDIA’s world-leading AI capabilities with Arrow’s global roster of industrial customers and its broad support network of engineers and designers. This opens the door to the development and deployment of AI solutions for manufacturing, logistics, smart cities, healthcare and more.

“We are entering a new era of intelligent machines that will supercharge industries from manufacturing to healthcare,” said Deepu Talla, vice president and general manager of Autonomous Machines at NVIDIA. “NVIDIA and Arrow are working together to ensure that the unmatched AI capabilities of the Jetson Xavier platform reach deep into the global marketplace with first-class technical support and design.”

“At Arrow, we focus on connecting our global customers and developers to the right technology to enable transformative digital business,” said Aiden Mitchell, vice president and general manager, IoT Global Solutions at Arrow. “NVIDIA’s AI platform and Jetson Xavier is at that point, and our industrial customers can secure the Xavier developer kit from Arrow.com today.”

Jetson Xavier — available as a developer kit that customers can use to prototype designs — is supported by comprehensive software for building AI applications.

This includes the NVIDIA JetPack and DeepStream SDKs, as well as CUDA, cuDNN and TensorRT™ software libraries. At its heart is the new NVIDIA Xavier processor, which provides more computing capability than a powerful workstation and comes in three energy-efficient operating modes.

“Edge intelligence in modern robotics is a critical component in driving new use cases and increasing adoption. This relationship is primed to showcase the value of robotics in new areas and help drive continued innovation in the space,” said John Santagate, research director of Worldwide Robotics at IDC.

The NVIDIA Jetson Xavier developer kit is now available for purchase through Arrow’s website at https://www.arrow.com/nvidia.

 

Source: NVIDIA

Why hack into Apple devices when the userbase is willing to pay to have their device infected?

Subject: General Tech | September 10, 2018 - 01:10 PM |
Tagged: apple, security, app store, Adware Doctor

Adware Doctor is a $5.00 app available on the macOS app store which is a rip off of Malwarebytes for Mac with some extra data harvesting included.  The app will grab all your history from Chrome, Firefox, and Safari and send it off to parts unknown as well as a list of running processes which implies it can get around Apple's sandbox implementation.  The researchers who discovered this also informed The Register of other apps which have the same behaviour, including Open Any Files, Dr. Antivirus, and Dr. Cleaner.  The new version of macOS, due in the near future, should ameliorate this issue but in the mean time you should check what apps you have installed on your devices and reconsider your next purchase on the App Store carefully.

adware-doctor.jpg

"As Wardle – an expert in Apple security – noted, Adware Doctor, which sold for $4.99, was the fourth-highest grossing app in the "Paid Utilities" category of the macOS App Store."

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Source: The Register