The last time anything from Microsoft was reported as being hacked goes back to November 2010 when a developer reportedly "hacked" the Kinect for Xbox 360 and just recently the Microsoft Store for India, operated for Microsoft by Quasar Media, was temporarily taken offline in response to attacks from the group Evil Shadow. This adds the Microsoft Store to a long list of other companies that have been hacked over the past 2 years such as Sony's PlayStation Network (now the Sony Entertainment Network), Sega Pass Online, Electronic Arts and Activision's Call of Duty Elite service.
On Monday the 13th, Microsoft decided to take their India store offline after realizing that it's customer database might have been compromised. In a blog post, someone calling themselves 7zl and the organization Evil Shadow, took credit for the attack. They also released usernames and passwords to accounts that Microsoft had kept stored in plain text. In most cases, retailers only secure the minimum amount of information required by the Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard which only really entails encrypting payment processing information. As bad as this is for customers, it's still a step up from Twitter employees storing usernames and passwords in plain text in their gmail accounts. Microsoft released a generic statement saying that they are dealing with the situation.
The store customers have already been sent guidance on the issue and suggested immediate actions. We are diligently working to remedy the issue and keep our customers protected.
Sony recently tipped their hand a little by showing us how they see the future of power distribution in the year 2030 with their prototype power outlets. About 18 years from now we will no longer be slaves to the power companies' monopoly on our lives and the pay-as-you-go way of life will have infiltrated more than just mobile communications service providers and charging stations for your electric cars and e-bikes.
The outlets themselves will be outfitted with FeliCa transmitters which are an RFID (radio frequency identification) technology that works over existing power lines. This is meant to allow the user to be identified and payment to be processed based on a pay-as-you-go-basis where the user can simply swipe a card across the outlet or automatically get charged based on the payment information on file with Sony. They would also give the user a choice from energy sources currently available so if your house just so happens to have solar panels and batteries or perhaps a personal nuclear reactor, you might feel better about having more control over power.
Leveraging this conceptual technology to make the world a better place has some major dependencies to contend with. Check out Sony's concept movie below and see just how bright and white Sony thinks the future will be.
After an interesting battle with the FCC, LightSquared, and subsequently Sprint, who had announced a plan to partner with LightSquared for 4G LTE, the company has been dealt a crippling blow. The FCC has suspended a waiver granted to them in 2010, that would allow them to build-out their LTE network. The waiver was revoked over concerns that the spectrum used by LightSquared would be dangerously close to navigational GPS, and that it could affect up to 75% of GPS signals.
The National Telecommunications and Information Administration, in a letter,
Based on NTIA's independent evaluation of the testing and analysis performed over the last several months, we conclude that LightSquared's proposed mobile broadband network will impact GPS services and that there is no practical way to mitigate the potential interference at this time.
What does LightSquared have to say about all of this? Hit the break.
Microsoft has made a bold move this week, announcing the end of an era; the most inappropriate branding in the tech industry. For the past 20 years, Microsoft has used a flag to denote its Windows line of products, but it didn't used to be that way and won't be that way much longer.
Paula Scher, from the Pentagram design agency, asked the Windows team a very simple, but important question:
Your name is Windows. Why are you a flag?
Indeed. So, how do you solve that problem? You return to Windows origins, as so much of the consideration for Windows 8 and the Metro UI in general has done, and re-imagine the original logo with a modern flare. The new logo features live tiles, the foundation for the Metro interface, arranged to form a window. When compared against the existing Windows logo, it seems a huge departure, but when compared against the original Windows logo, everything over the last 20 years seems to be the departure from the sane.
Hit the break to see the new logos side-by-side, along with the current Windows logo.
As if Kodak doesn't have enough trouble on its own, Apple has asked the bankruptcy court for permission to sue the struggling company, again. Apple believes that Kodak's importing of some products, including printers and digital cameras, infringes on patents held by Apple.
While this is not the first time Apple and Kodak have gone head-to-head in court, it is certainly the most interesting. First, Apple wants to bar the importing of products Kodak has announced it will no longer manufacture. While we all know Apple is a company known for suing instead of innovating, it would seem that trying to block the import of non-existent product would be a waste of time, granted the printers will still exist.
Secondly, what patents could Apple possibly hold on digital imaging that the inventors of digital imaging could possibly be infringing on? Kodak has been involved in digital imaging since before Steve Jobs was openly involved with fruit. How could Apple believe they hold a patent on the technology? I guess only time will tell, if this case is allowed to go to court.
It has been an interesting week at Google. Last week, it was discovered that there were two security flaws in Google Wallet. This week, the laughably-easy to exploit issue was addressed by the search giant quickly and publicly.
It started with Google shutting down provisioning of pre-paid cards, the important step in stealing a user's information, until they were able to find and fix the issue. Google has issued a hotfix to prevent re-provisioning of existing pre-paid cards and restored access to pre-paid cards in general.
To find out what Google said about the issue and find details on the "fix," hit the break.