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Week in Review

| 28 Apr 2012 14:00

This week we learn that many may lose their precious internet in July, until robots can control your mind they must obey our wishes and Google is a fan of Starcraft.

Facebook Faces Underage Gamer Lawsuit

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The world's most popular social network is once again facing legal trouble, this time from a California woman who claims that the ability of underage gamers to purchase Facebook credits for use in its games violates her state's consumer protection laws. Facebook policy prohibits the purchase of credits by users under the age of 18 without parental consent but the plaintiff, Glynnis Bohannon, claims it's not doing enough to actually keep it from happening. Bohannon filed the action on behalf of herself, her minor son and "all others similarly situated," and is seeking to represent "all parents and legal guardians whose minor children allegedly made unauthorized purchases of Facebook credits from the minor's account." (Link)




"Hundreds of Thousands" May Lose Internet in July

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Back in November, the FBI dropped the hammer on a group of international hackers who were running an online advertising scam that allowed them to infect and take control of an estimated 568,000 computers around the world. Exploiting weaknesses in Windows, they were able to redirect infected computers to their own "rogue DNS servers," effectively leading them into a fake internet. The hackers earned an estimated $14 million through the scam, but the more long-term problem is that the victims were also made reliant on the rogue servers for web functionality. Recognizing the potential for trouble, the FBI called in the Internet Systems Consortium, which set up two clean servers to take the place of the impounded rogue servers. (Link)




Scientists Unveil Mind-Controlled Robot

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Judging from reports, there wasn't really anything all that impressive about the tiny robot making its way around the laboratory at the Federal Institute of Technology in Lausanne, Switzerland. It was barely a foot tall and could only travel around, turning left and right as commanded. The impressive bit was how it was controlled - or rather, who was controlling it. The operator was Mark-Andre Duc, a resident in a hospital in the town of Sion, about 100km from the Lausanne lab. Remote-control robots are hardly anything new, but what made this interesting was that Mr. Duc is partially quadriplegic, having lost the use of his fingers and legs in a fall. (Link)




Cryptic Reveals 2010 Database Hack

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Cryptic Studios, the publisher of MMOs including Star Trek Online and Champions Online, announced yesterday that it had "recently detected evidence of an unauthorized access to one of our user databases." Not good news, but nothing all that super-terribly unusual in this post-PSN-hack world we live in either. But this attack wasn't actually post-PSN at all: it happened in December 2010. We're only hearing about it now because Cryptic just stumbled upon evidence of the intrusion due to recent "increased security analysis." (Link)




Google "Zerg Rush" and Prepare for Browser Attack

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Google famously allows its workers to spend one fifth of the work week furthering whatever project sparks their interest. Quintessential Google features like the Transit directions in Maps, or cultural documentation like the Google Art Projectall started through work using this "extra" time. I can only imagine that the latest Easter Egg found in Google's search engine came from a 20% project, but this time it's a nod to a little game from Blizzard called StarCraft. (Link)

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