Hilton data breaches lead to $700,000 penalty

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tupungato

The attorneys general of New York and Vermont both announced today that their joint investigation into two Hilton data breaches has resulted in a $700,000 penalty and a promise to strengthen security. In February of 2015, Hilton was made aware of a cybersecurity breach that occurred between November and December of 2014. A second breach that exposed sensitive customer data between April and July of 2015 was uncovered that July, but the company waited until November of that year to inform those affected by the breaches. In all, over 363,000 credit card numbers were exposed.

New York’s and Vermont’s probe into the matter concluded that Hilton took too long to notify its customers of the breach and failed to properly protect their information. The settlement announced today stipulates that New York will receive $400,000 from Hilton while Vermont will receive $300,000. Hilton has also agreed to change its information security program, which includes designating an employee to supervise it, identifying risks to information security as well as implementing risk safeguards and performing regular testing of their effectiveness.

“Businesses have a duty to notify consumers in the event of a breach and protect their personal information as securely as possible,” New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman said in a statement. “Lax security practices like those we uncovered at Hilton put New Yorkers’ credit card information and other personal data at serious risk. My office will continue to hold businesses accountable for protecting their customers’ personal information.” TJ Donovan, Vermont’s attorney general, said, “We continue to make enforcement of our data breach laws a top priority.”

 

 

Signal's secure messaging is now available in a desktop app

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Signal

You can already use Signal for secure chats on the desktop, but you’ve had to use a Chrome web app to participate in those encrypted conversations. What if you don’t like Chrome, or would just prefer something more elegant than a browser? Signal is ready to help. It just released a stand-alone PC app, Signal Desktop, that offers privacy-minded messaging without heading to the web. The experience isn’t a radical break from what you’ve known before, but it will make sure that you don’t type in the wrong browser tab and reveal your innermost secrets.

The software is available if you’re running at least the 64-bit version of Windows 7, macOS 10.9 Mavericks or a Linux distribution that supports APT (Advanced Package Tool). If you’re using a semi-recent computer, you can probably give it a try. And don’t fret if you’ve already been using the Chrome app: you can import your data into the dedicated program to carry on with business as usual.

 

 

Android ‘Fast Pair’ will quickly connect Bluetooth devices

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Google

Android devices now have a new option to quickly sync with smartphones. Today, Google developers announced Fast Pair, a process that quickly discovers using Bluetooth Low Energy and connects over traditional Bluetooth. It’s an obvious competitor to the quick-pairing that Apple introduced last year for its AirPod headphones, but better late than never.

So long as your smartphone or tablet runs Android 6.0 Marshmallow or above and Google Play services 11.7+, it can use Fast Pair. The process bypasses the need to connect by fiddling with settings: Simply put a Fast Pair-equipped device in pairing mode and any Android phone or tablet will get a prompt to connect.

Thus far, only the Google Pixel Buds and Libratone’s Q Adapt On-Ear have Fast Pair equipped, and soon on Plantronics Voyager 8200. Fast Pair functionality is currently rolling out to Android 6.0+ devices.

 

 

You wanted more Switch games, so you got 'Monopoly'

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Ubisoft / Hasbro

As the Nintendo Switch was gearing up to launch back in March, fans worried that it would go the way of the big N’s prior consoles: Spectacular first-party games with minimal third-party support. But after a tenuous few months when Zelda: Breath of the Wild seemed like the only thing worth playing, the floodgates have opened. Titles of all stripes are coming to the console, from Doom to Shin Megami Tensei V — and so, it seems, has Monopoly.

Ubisoft has brought Hasbro’s iconic(ly frustrating) board game to Nintendo’s platform, and there’s sure to be a Switch-owning family that would enjoy recreationally bankrupting each other. Up to six players can load up a game on-or-offline, and there are a trio of themed boards to liven up the proceedings. There’s also six ‘House Rules’ (assumedly including the ‘Free Parking’ unofficial rule) and a few additions that aim to speed up the game. If you like recreating property ownership’s cruel twists of fate or need the most family-friendly game out there, Monopoly on the Switch could be your ticket.

 

 

Microsoft pulls in LinkedIn details for Outlook.com users

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Microsoft

It’s only been a day since Microsoft killed Outlook.com premium features like tougher email security and more storage and brought them to Office 365 members instead. Today, the company announced that it will bring LinkedIn integration to Outlook.com subscribers, a feature that has been part of Windows 10 since June of this year.

The company is also bringing a host of other additions to Office 365, including a translation feature in Word for Office Insiders, “Tell Me” support for both people and documents and new learning tools for Word on iPad. Tell Me users can now search across their company, share files with co-workers, and use slides and graphs from previous documents. The new LinkedIn tools for Outlook.com users will give you insights, profile pictures and work histories of your contacts right in your personal inbox. LinkedIn integration is rolling out to Outlook.com members now, says Microsoft, and will arrive for all customers by the end of November.

 

 

Amazon Prime Video is available on Xbox consoles worldwide

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Kevork Djansezian / Reuters

There’s more to the Xbox One X than just 4K gaming. Beyond playing UHD Blu-rays, the console will stream media from your provider of choice in 4K, too. That includes Amazon Prime Video, which is now available worldwide on Xbox consoles following its staggered launch last year.

A post on Xbox Wire says that to celebrate, customers in Australia and New Zealand can sign up at a discounted rate for the first six months — $2.99/£2.99 per month — and after the into period it’ll jump to $5.99/£5.99. Brazilians can sign up for $7.90 per-month, and the price more or less doubles after the first six months.

Meanwhile, Apple TV owners are still waiting for an Amazon Video app of their own. That announcement was in June, so the company has a few months to make good on that “later this year” promise from WWDC.

 

 

Google lists all the devices Home supports for easy reference

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Chris Velazco / Engadget

The number of gadgets Google Home supports is getting pretty large these days. According to the company, more than 1,000 smart home devices from more than 150 brands play nice with its smart speakers to control things around your house. That’s quite a lot of gadgets. If you’re looking for a way to find out whether or not your Google Home, Mini or Max will work with the specific smart devices you have in your own home, the company has provided a new support page that lists all the compatible gear.

The support page offers a long alphabetized list of all the partner brands that Google Home supports, including Anova Culinary, Alarm.com, Electrolux Frigidaire, Firefly Home, Honeywell and Lowe’s iDevices. You can filter the list at the top with the brand name or device type, and each entry has a link out to its respective support page. Now you’ve got a place to head the next time you want to purchase a smart device to confirm it will work with your Google Home.

 

 

You won't have to pay to win in 'Battlefront II' after all

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Bloomberg via Getty Images

If nothing else, EA is listening to the fans for Star Wars: Battlefront II. After all, outcry was the reason the game will have a single-player campaign mode and an awful lot more depth. So, perhaps it isn’t too surprising that the game company paid attention when people were up in arms over the game’s loot box implementation.

Essentially, what the development team has done is removed a good deal of the “pay to win” criticisms lobbed at it by making sure you can’t access stuff like Epic Star Cards (high value power-ups) from crates. “To help keep everyone on a level playing field, these Star Cards will primarily be available through crafting, with the exception of special Epic Star Cards available through pre-order, deluxe and starter packs,” a blog post reads.

More than that, if you want a new weapon for a specific class, you’ll have to play as that class to unlock it — not just buy a bunch of crates and hope for the best. Same goes for class-specific gear.

Oh and you’ll need to hit a certain rank before you can start crafting upgraded Star Cards, too. “You won’t be able to buy a bunch of Crates, grind everything up into crafting materials, and immediately use them to get super powerful Star Cards,” the post says. “You can only upgrade the ability to craft higher tier Star Cards by ranking up through playing the game.”

This is all well and good, and should keep things on an even keel in terms of balance. You won’t just be able to drop a bunch of cash on crates and start dominating new players who would rather progress without spending money beyond the game itself. Will EA admit that its decision to shutter Visceral Games was a bad idea and cancel pivot Amy Hennig’s Star Wars game back to its original pitch too? Unfortunately, that’s probably not going to happen regardless of how much digital ink is spilled.

Star Wars: Battlefront II will be released November 17th on PlayStation 4, PC and Xbox One.

 

 

Conductive thread stores data in clothes without built-in tech

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University of Washington

New technology may soon enable you to get into your home or office with nothing more than your coat, wristband or tie. Scientists at the University of Washington have found a way to create smart fabric, using only conductive thread with no other added electronics.

The team manipulated the polarity of magnetized fabric in cloth patches to encode different types of data, which so far can include 2D images and strings of bits, which can store things like passwords. The data can then be read with a standard smartphone using “its inbuilt magnetometer,” wrote the researchers. They also found out that magnetized fabric won’t lose data when washed, ironed or dried. The team developed a glove made of the smart fabric that was able to perform gestures in front of a smart phone with 90 percent accuracy. The scientists said that the fabric can be used in a variety of accessories, too, like necklaces, wristbands, ties and belts that can then carry data within them.

While the smart fabric patches created by the researchers lost around 30 percent of their original magnetic field strength after a week, they were able to be remagnetized and retain at least partial field strength for months. The researchers also note that this new tech has the advantage over RFID technology in that any basic smartphone with a magnetometer can access the data, while RFID tags require specialized readers that fit the tag’s specific frequency in the 120kHz to 10GHz band. “RFID readers can cost hundreds to thousands of dollars,” the scientists wrote. “Magnetometers are as cheap as $0.78, 10000x cheaper than some RFID readers. Each magnetized fabric tag cost < $0.17. This is competitive with RFID tag prices.”

 

 

Lauren Gottliebâs Fitness Secrets

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Believe it or not, millennials are all about fitness and a healthy lifestyle. With detox diets and Pilates taking over the lives of people now, misguidance has become the biggest vice of the time.

To everyone’s rescue, we’ve got the hot, happening and healthy Lauren Gottlieb to share her fitness mantra with us. From staying strict with her workout regime to pushing in one of those scrumptious cheat days, we talk about it all exclusively with Filmfare.

Lauren Gottlieb’s Fitness Secrets

Catch up on your fitness and health with the sexy and in shape Lauren Gottlieb.

Comcast&#039;s Xfinity X1 finally streams Netflix in 4K

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Netflix

Netflix has offered 4K streaming on seemingly every platform under the Sun by this point, but not Comcast’s Xfinity X1. You’ve had to settle for 1080p if your TV, console or digital media player somehow wasn’t up to the job. No more: Comcast has made 4K streaming available on the X1. You’ll need an XG1v4 box, a Netflix Premium subscription and (of course) a 4K TV, but you too can watch Stranger Things or Narcos without missing a pixel.

The addition is part of a broader expansion into 4K, we’d add. Comcast says it’s planning to bring the higher resolution to curated Xfinity on Demand collections and discovery using the voice remote. You’ll also have a choice of resolution for programs, so you don’t have to test the limits of your capped connection by streaming everything in 4K. The cable giant is clearly late to the party, but it’s hard to knock this when it makes 4K Netflix available to people who might never buy a streaming device of their own accord.

 

 

Best Buy stops selling full-price iPhone X following backlash

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Chih-Chung Johnny Chang / Alamy

Last Friday, when the iPhone X became available for preorder, would-be Best Buy customers found that to buy the phone upfront through the retailer, they would have to pay $100 more than what Apple itself was charging. Rather than $999 or $1,149 depending on what amount of storage was wanted, Best Buy was charging $1,099 and $1,249. Now, as Bloomberg reports, Best Buy has stopped selling the iPhone X upfront and is only offering it through carrier-specific billing plans.

Last week when customers began complaining about the increased prices of the already expensive phones, a Best Buy spokesperson told Bloomberg, “Our prices reflect the fact that no matter a customer’s desired plan or carrier, or whether a customer is on a business or personal plan, they are able to get a phone the way they want at Best Buy. Our customers have told us they want this flexibility and sometimes that has a cost.” They added that having multiple purchasing options “has a cost” and the different prices were a reflection of that.

The customer backlash appears to have had an effect. “Although there was clearly demand for the un-activated iPhone X, selling it that way cost more money, causing some confusion with our customers and noise in the media,” a Best Buy spokesperson told Bloomberg today. “That’s why we decided a few days ago to only sell the phone the traditional way, through installment billing plans.” Now, customers can only get the iPhone X from Best Buy if they do so through Verizon’s, AT&T’s or Sprint’s plans.

Apple’s iPhone X hits stores on November 3rd.

Verizon owns Engadget’s parent company, Oath (formerly AOL). Rest assured, Verizon has no control over our coverage. Engadget remains editorially independent.

 

 

Fawad Khan is going to Hollywood

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Fawad Khan is going to Hollywood!

Fawad Khan’s affair with Bollywood was short lived but high on drama, nevertheless.

He came, he saw, he melted our hearts but had to sadly leave…. The political scenario between India and Pakistan disturbed artistic ties between the two nations and Fawad Khan, Mahira Khan, Ali Zafar, Atif Aslam unwittingly became victims of that. All of them have loyal fan bases in India till date. Fawad’s shows are still being watched, his debut as a Prince in Khoobsurat alongside Sonam Kapoor still makes the girls swoon and boy, his stint in Ae Dil Hai Mushkil is memorable for all the hot reasons!

A little birdie recently told a leading daily that the dishy daddy of two is now trying his luck in Hollywood. Hell yeah, you read that right. “This is all new to Fawad. He never wanted to step out of his comfort zone. But with nothing happening to his career in Bollywood and Pakistan, he will now move ahead to explore options in the West,” read the quote.

All we can say is ‘Watch out Hollywood!’ As of now Fawad is gearing up for Bilal Lashari’s Maula that stars Hamza Ali Abbasi, Mahira Khan, Adnan Jaffar, Shamoon Abbasi and Humaima Malik.

Soha Ali Khanâs travel diaries

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She’s the latest and without doubt the fittest mommy in B-town. Soha Ali Khan carried off her pregnancy in the healthiest style possible. Keeping her lifestyle simple and one to take inspiration from.

Aside from being a loving mother to baby Inaaya Naumi, Soha Ali Khan has an undying love for travel. She sure has had the travel bug bite her quite early up. With that thought in mind, we caught up with the glowing lady and had her talk about her love and lust to wander the world.

Soha Ali Khan’s travel diaries

Watch the beautiful Soha Ali Khan share her travel experiences and love for the same in this exclusive chat with Filmfare.

&#039;PlayerUnknown&#039;s Battlegrounds&#039; arrives on Xbox One December 12th

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For Xbox One owners, the wait to play PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds (PUBG) will end December 12th. The battle royale game consistently racks up 2 million daily players on Steam, and in just over a month it will transition to the Xbox Game Preview program as a work in progress, with studio Bluehole leaning on players to help guide the game’s development. “We can use it like Steam Early Access where we can develop on console with the community, and that’s going to be really essential — in our view — for getting a really great version on console,” creator Brendan Greene told Engadget.

The version that comes out in December won’t be a direct 1:1 port, though. At least not yet. The most noticeable difference is that PUBG on Xbox One won’t feature the PC version’s upcoming “Desert” map (below), which has a big emphasis on verticality in an urban environment. Greene said there wasn’t a timeframe for when Xbox fans will be able to explore that map. Other than that, he said that the two games are “essentially” the same.

That means the Xbox version will have vaulting and climbing at launch in December, which was announced back at E3 in June but still is in testing on PC. The game’s 1.0 version will release sometime later in December, according to a post on Xbox Wire.

What separates the pair is the development cycle. PUBG has been playable on PC since March, and as such it has a nine month (at least) lead time in terms of features. “We want the same game on both platforms, but the Xbox version is obviously lagging a little bit behind when it comes to the PC version,” Greene said. “There’s not a different feature set, it’s at just different points in development.”

When asked if Bluehole had a timeframe in mind for the PlayStation 4 version, Greene’s answer wasn’t hopeful. “No, not at all,” he admitted. He said that right now the team is focused just on getting the Xbox One port out the door.

And, since the PS4 doesn’t offer its own game preview program it’s anyone’s guess when that will happen, but games need to be pretty much feature complete for Sony to list them on the PlayStation Network Store. For example, Ark: Survival Evolved didn’t come out for PS4 until late this August, when the Xbox Game Preview version was released in December 2015.

Early Access isn’t all sunshine and rainbows, though. Sure, PC games like Dead Cells, Nuclear Throne and PUBG have benefitted greatly from fans being able to play works in progress. Their respective developers have been able to take good games and make them great, tapping the players for input about what does and doesn’t work. But there’s another side to this coin.

The aforementioned Ark currently sits with a 4/10 user score on Metacritic for its PC version, with the PS4 and Xbox One editions ranking 3.9/10 and 4.1, respectively. But with how PUBG has taken over Steam and Twitch, it doesn’t seem like that’ll be the case once the game arrives on Xbox One. The game had already sold 10 million copies on PC as of September.

Come December PUBG could very well be the poster child that the Game Preview program desperately needs: a high-profile indie that’s garnered almost universally positive acclaim during an extended — and public — test period. It won’t have much competition with other exclusives on the system this fall, that’s for sure.