The idea of hardcoding a flaw into a game to identify pirate is a pretty old one and one that has been used on more than one occasion. Ubisoft has done this with their most recent game Far Cry 4 by removing a control from the game. The control is the field of view (FOV) in the game. Apparently when the game was put out this control was missing and it was not given out until a patch that you can only get with a legally purchased copy of the game.
There is a misconception in the industry as a whole that “pirates” are inherently evil people and bent on nothing less than the destruction of civilized society. The fact that this sounds like the plot from a bad movie/game is probably not a coincidence. In Hollywood at least the way they portray piracy is right out of fantasy land from their numbers to their claims on how they are about keeping jobs. In the gaming industry it is often not the developers that worry about piracy, but the big distribution/publishing groups. They are very worried about the money they make and also follow the same line as Hollywood when talking about the effects of piracy on their business.
It seems that Ubisoft is trying to get out from under the stigma the bad launch of Assassin’s Creed Unity. After pushing what many are calling a half-baked game, they have made a few excuses and have also promised different patches to remedy the bugs including a day one patch that really did not do much to make things better. So what is Ubisoft pointing at now to remove blame from themselves? Well some of the choices are entertaining to say the least.
Just when you thought it was safe to get back on the internet privately. Although we have maintained that TOR has never been the end-all of anonymity we are surprised to finally see public conformation of techniques that have been around for years. In a report that discusses the use of flow records for detecting users on proxy networks we find that the tools to track you through TOR and many other networks have been right there all along.
Ubisoft is under a lot of pressure since the launch of the Assassin’s Creed Unity. The game had a large number of bugs along with some rather disappointing performance to boot (30fps). In the days leading up to the launch Ubisoft attempted to tell everyone know that 30fps was more than enough and that it was in line with a cinematic experience. The number of articles making fun of these rather poor excuses was quite large and while trying to pass off a poor performing game as something wonderful is not unexpected it is still in rather poor taste if circumstances make it look like you might have done it on purpose.
Encryption is an interesting thing. On the surface it offers protection from prying eyes and sense of security in protecting your communication and files. At least that is what you should feel when talking about encryption. The problem is that encryption is only as secure as the protocol and API that is in use. Even if you have a rock solid certificate the protocol and APIs that you use to connect can be compromised to by-pass this. This is what has happened to almost every major SSL/TLS stack. So far in 2014 we have watched them fall one at a time to the dismay of security experts.
The targeting of travelers is something that is a very old idea. To the would-be attacker you are getting a target that is not familiar with their surroundings and (in many cases) has a lot of money on them. In the “old days” the target was the cash they brought with them. This quickly changed to a number of scams to get access to their credit card numbers and the cash that they protected. Still the idea was to go after the traveler because they were easy targets when they were out and about.
In one of the dumbest moves I have seen a court make in some time it is now possible for a copyright holder to go after the company that registered a domain name if that name is used for piracy. The logic behind this decision escapes me and will most people that put any thought to it. However the copyright industry is boasting about how this gives them new tools to combat piracy.
It would seem that even the next generation of “secure” payment systems are showing up with flaws before they really hit the streets. According to security researchers there is a flaw in the next generation of electronic payments dubbed chip-n-PIN. This new technology has been hailed as the more secure means of using your cash without all the worry of swipe fraud or other hassles of using the more traditional magnetic cards. However, as with far too man y technologies these days, someone missed a rather big loophole for the bad guys to exploit
Today is was announced that Futuremark would be “joining” Underwriters Laboratories. The standards group that most people in the US are familiar with his buying up the same benchmarking company that most of us have come to love and hate. According to both Futuremark and UL the acquisition is more like a partnership, it is just that one will fully own the other: “Today, we’re announcing a new partnership. One that will significantly strengthen Futuremark through increased investment in our people and products while protecting our independence and neutrality.”