National / International News

Sony and Microsoft fight ... the Lizard Squad

Marketplace - American Public Media - Fri, 2014-12-26 07:35

Starting on Christmas Eve, Microsoft's Xbox Live and Sony's PlayStation Network suffered outages that lasted through Christmas Day and beyond. By the morning of the 26th, XBox was said to be back online, but judging by the continued grumpiness on Twitter, PlayStation Network was still not working.

A group called Lizard Squad posted messages on Twitter, taking responsibility.

Lizard Squad, a group of so-called "black hat" hackers, has a history of attacking gaming networks. In those earlier attacks, Lizard Squad used what’s called D-Dos or Distributed Denial of Service attacks, in which hackers send a bunch of essentially fake online traffic to a website or a service and bring it down by overwhelming the system.

No one is saying that these hacks are related to the earlier attacks on Sony Pictures that President Obama has blamed on North Korea. But it does come at an inopportune moment for the company.

Of the many tweets on the subject, perhaps the most amusing come from someone with a fake Kim Jong-Un account. Starts by quoting a headline from the tech blog Gizmodo: “Xbox Live and PSN are still messed up” and ends: “It wasn’t me, PEACE”

 

Cardiff Blues 17-23 NG Dragons

BBC - Fri, 2014-12-26 07:30
Gutsy Newport Gwent Dragons hold out for a Pro12 win over Cardiff Blues in dreadful conditions at Cardiff Arms Park.

VIDEO: Charity 'dippers' North Sea plunge

BBC - Fri, 2014-12-26 07:27
Hundred of people braved a dip in the North Sea off the Norfolk coast on Boxing Day to help raise money for charity.

Urgent talks call over City Link

BBC - Fri, 2014-12-26 06:59
A union demands "urgent talks" with ministers and administrators about the collapse of the UK parcel delivery service City Link.

VIDEO: Boxer Khan in Pakistan school pledge

BBC - Fri, 2014-12-26 06:56
The boxer Amir Khan has arrived in Pakistan to lend his support to the victims of the Peshawar school shooting massacre, in which 141 people, including 132 children, were killed.

Rescued seal 'needs a lot of care'

BBC - Fri, 2014-12-26 06:52
A seal found exhausted in a field miles from the sea will need "a lot of attention" before it can be released, the RSPCA say.

PODCAST: How the hacker stole Christmas

Marketplace - American Public Media - Fri, 2014-12-26 06:43

Christmas is always a busy day for Microsoft XBox and Sony Playstation's servers, as people unwrap their new game consoles and try to log on. But in what may be the Grinch move of the season, hackers claim to have orchestrated a digital attack that's been slowing or halting those gaming networks since yesterday. 

Want to not make friends or influence people in a bar? Try going on about trade policy. But NAFTA and other trade agreements may have altered the texture of American business and the job market more than any other set of policies. And there are new trade agreements in the works that could play prominently in our coverage in 2015.  

And, some airlines these days are now trying to make life in coach a bit less contemptuous, with fluffier head-rests and bigger video screens. But as Sam Hartnett reports this is happening even as some of the seats are getting smaller.

PODCAST: How the hacker stole Christmas

Marketplace - American Public Media - Fri, 2014-12-26 06:43

 

Christmas is always a busy day for Microsoft XBox and Sony Playstation's servers, as people unwrap their new game consoles and try to log on. But in what may be the Grinch move of the season, hackers claim to have orchestrated a digital attack that's been slowing or halting those gaming networks since yesterday. 

Want to not make friends or influence people in a bar? Try going on about trade policy. But NAFTA and other trade agreements may have altered the texture of American business and the job market more than any other set of policies. And there are new trade agreements in the works that could play prominently in our coverage in 2015.  

And, some airlines these days are now trying to make life in coach a bit less contemptuous, with fluffier head-rests and bigger video screens. But as Sam Hartnett reports this is happening even as some of the seats are getting smaller.

Turkey Frees Teenager Who 'Insulted' The President

NPR News - Fri, 2014-12-26 06:26

The most recent crackdown on President Recep Tayyip Erdogan's critics is proof for many that Turkey is veering toward authoritarianism.

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Ukrainian Peace Talks Put On Hold

NPR News - Fri, 2014-12-26 06:24

The talks that began on Wednesday were expected to be continued today in Minsk. Belarus, which is hosting the dialogue, declined to comment on the reason.

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Silviniaco Conti in King George win

BBC - Fri, 2014-12-26 06:20
The favourite Silviniaco Conti dominates to make it back-to-back wins in the King George VI Chase at Kempton.

Brentford 2-4 Ipswich Town

BBC - Fri, 2014-12-26 06:17
Two goals from Daryl Murphy help Ipswich Town beat Brentford and move top of the Championship table.

Man dies after Boxing Day road crash

BBC - Fri, 2014-12-26 06:16
A 37-year-old man from County Fermanagh dies following a one-vehicle road crash.

VIDEO: Thai murder testimony put on hold

BBC - Fri, 2014-12-26 05:58
The trial of two men accused of murdering two British holidaymakers on the Thai island of Koh Tao has got under way, the BBC's Jonathan Head reports.

Di Maria suffers training injury

BBC - Fri, 2014-12-26 05:57
Manchester United winger Angel Di Maria suffers an injury in training, missing the Boxing Day match against Newcastle.

Ivory Coast's ex-first lady on trial

BBC - Fri, 2014-12-26 05:56
Ivory Coast's ex-first lady, Simone Gbagbo, goes on trial for her alleged role in post-election violence which killed thousands five years ago.

VIDEO: Hackers hit Xbox and PlayStation

BBC - Fri, 2014-12-26 05:49
Microsoft and Sony have been working to restore internet platforms for their Xbox and PlayStation gamers' consoles.

Factory fire 'turned sky black'

BBC - Fri, 2014-12-26 05:38
A major blaze on an industrial estate in Berkshire leaves clouds of thick black smoke "floating across the sky".

Chelsea 2-0 West Ham United

BBC - Fri, 2014-12-26 05:36
Leaders Chelsea tighten their grip on the Premier League's top spot with a commanding victory over West Ham.

Wal-Mart aims to make a buck from your gift card

Marketplace - American Public Media - Fri, 2014-12-26 05:29

If you received a gift card for Christmas, Wal-Mart wants to make you an offer: Trade it in for a Wal-Mart gift card... for less than face value. An estimated billion dollars worth of gift cards may go unused this year, and Wal-Mart hopes to take a chunk of that business. 

The retail giant is partnering with an outfit called cardcash.com, which is already in the business of trading in slightly-used gift cards— offering a check, or PayPal, or an Amazon gift card. Here are some examples:

Some sample offers from cardcash.com, as found on the morning of Dec. 26 2014.

Dan Weissmann/screenshot from cardcash.com

Card Cash then turns around and offers the cards for sale through its site— at higher prices than it pays. Target cards sell for face value, for instance. Home Depot cards go for 6 percent off. Starbucks cards go for 12.5 percent off.

Wal-Mart, in this partnership, offers slightly better terms for its cards. Here are some offers retrieved from the partnership site:

Some offers from the Wal-Mart side of cardcash.com, as found the morning of December 26, 2014.

Dan Weissmann/screenshot from walmart.cardcash.com

 

Sucharita Mulpuru,  a retail analyst with Forrester Research, says gift cards are such a big business, it was just a matter of time before Wal-Mart got into secondary markets like this. 

However, she is surprised that Wal-Mart is partnering with a company that does so much business with arch-rival Amazon. "If I were in a partnership with any company, I probably would not want them to have significant relations with my biggest competitor," she says. 

 

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