The best wireless workout headphones

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By Lauren Dragan

This post was done in partnership with Wirecutter, reviews for the real world. When readers choose to buy Wirecutter’s independently chosen editorial picks, it may earn affiliate commissions that support its work. Read the full article here.

After testing 136 sets of headphones and considering an additional 90, we are yet again convinced that the JLab Epic2 is the best pair of wireless workout headphones for most people, because they sound good, fit comfortably, and stay out of your way during rigorous workouts. Our testing showed that these earbuds should withstand abuse, sweat, and moisture when used properly, plus they’re backed by a one-year warranty and responsive customer service.

Who should get this

Wireless workout headphones are for people who want to block out external distractions and don’t need to hear their surroundings during a workout. You’ll need to charge them from time to time, and they’re not meant for swimming. If either of those factors are a dealbreaker for you, check out our guide to wired exercise headphones instead. And if you’re a biker or runner who needs to be aware of traffic to stay safe, you’d be better off with one of our unsealed picks from the best running headphones guide.

How we picked and tested

Photo: Kyle Fitzgerald

When researching the best workout headphones, we sifted through the offerings of more than 100 headphone companies, and consulted editorial reviews from a number of publications. We also looked at customer reviews from a handful of major retailers. We eventually settled on this list of crucial features for wireless workout headphones:

  • Sweat and water resistant
  • Comfortable to wear and don’t easily fall out
  • An intuitive remote
  • Relatively inexpensive price
  • Noise isolation, with solid audio quality
  • Brand reliability and warranty

We called in every model that met these criteria (and either had positive reviews or was too new to have any feedback) for our expert panel to evaluate. We asked each panelist to consider fit, comfort, ease of use, and sound quality of each set of headphones and to rank their top picks. Then, we brought our favorite pairs along for a workout to test how well they performed in the real world. Finally, we tested for durability by yanking the cords and exposing the headphones to water and sweat. To learn about our testing process in detail, please see our full guide to wireless workout headphones.

Our pick: JLab Epic2

Photo: Kyle Fitzgerald

The JLab Epic2 is our top pick yet again because these earbuds fit most people comfortably and stay firmly in place during rigorous workouts. They’re also easy to use, affordable, and very durable with proper care. And they sound great too. We tested dozens of new headphones in this category, and none of them were as pleasant to use on a regular basis. Many had huge Bluetooth transmitters that slammed against the neck when we bounced, long cables that snagged and made noise, or sound quality so terrible we literally couldn’t hear parts of our music. Once we saw just how much junk was out there, the many attributes of the Epic2 became even more appealing.

The Epic2 excels when it comes to durability: Sweat, water, and dirt are no match for these earbuds. We were also impressed with their sound quality. It had a little extra bass, but not so much that it muffled other frequency ranges; the effect was just enough that songs with a solid bassline had a little more oomph. Overall, nothing else available is as well-rounded as the Epic2. These headphones are tough, great sounding, and comfortable, so your focus will stay on completing your workout, not on fiddling with your earbuds.

Runner-up: Jaybird X3

Photo: Kyle Fitzgerald

If our pick is sold out, or if durability is your top priority, consider the Jaybird X3. With a unique charging system that has no battery door, plus an extra-thick connector cord between the earbuds and a two-year warranty against sweat damage, the X3 is made to take a beating. This set comes with a wide variety of both silicone and Comply memory-foam tips, as well as stabilizing wings, so you can customize your fit. Once in place, the X3 will stay put through high-impact workouts. Plus, you can wear the X3 with the cable threaded over your ear or hanging down, further adapting it to your personal preferences. And in our tests, the sound quality was very good, with a slight sibilance to consonants and a little extra bass.

Although the X3 has a ton of great features, it’s the downsides of those features that kept this set from being our top pick. For example, the unique charging system that prevents water from getting inside the battery requires a special adapter that’s really small and easy to lose. Additionally, there’s a bit of a learning curve involved when figuring out which wings and tips will fit your ears the best.

Budget pick: Aukey Latitude EP-B40

Photo: Kyle Fitzgerald

If you’re looking to spend as little as possible without buyer’s remorse, the Aukey Latitude EP-B40 is the way to go. Comfortable for most people, durable, and backed with a two-year warranty, the Latitude bests everything else in its price range. Why? These earbuds stay in place, they’re easy to use, and they sound decent. In our tests, so many other workout headphones under $50 were uncomfortable, poorly built, or marred by piercing high-frequency ranges that made turning the volume up past 40 percent literally painful.

The main downfall of the Latitude is the cable length. Although the coating on the cord that connects the two earbuds is textured in a way to make it less likely to snag, it still catches on occasion, and when it does, one of your earbuds will tug loose. Additionally, the cable bounces annoyingly when you run on a treadmill.

This guide may have been updated by Wirecutter. To see the current recommendation, please go here.

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17 fashion bloopers of the year gone by

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17 fashion bloopers of the year gone by
Being a fashionista requires both creative genius and an inventive mind and our Bollywood divas are always at work, be it their red carpet looks or their airport ensembles. While actresses usually go for comfort clothing most of the time, fashion, like any science, calls for a few experimentation every now and then. Some become trends and make way to every girl’s wardrobe or shopping wish list, while some leave us asking for an explanation. Though 2017 was a year quite high on fashion with landmark moments like Priyanka Chopra in the longest trench at the Met Gala or Aishwarya Rai Bachchan in the most gorgeous princess gown at the Cannes Film Festival, our divas still have a day off some times. Here’s listing the 17 oops moments from the fashion world this year.
Jacqueline Fernandez

17 fashion bloopers of the year gone by

This overwhelming ensemble left quite a few discombobulated. The contrasting colour, the mismatched clutch, the loud jewellery, everything was like a concoction. It was a miss and quite a bad one for Jackie.

Kareena Kapoor Khan

17 fashion bloopers of the year gone by

While maximalism is the future, Bebo took it a little too far. There was anyway too much going on in the abstract print dress, the belt and the tasselled earrings just made the whole look too much to take in.

Katrina Kaif

17 fashion bloopers of the year gone by

Not only is the outfit too dull and oversized for Katrina, the muted make-up which works for her everytime, is doing absolutely nothing for her here. And we’re sure you’ve noticed the unnecessary frilled ends on her sleeves.

Aishwarya Rai Bachchan

17 fashion bloopers of the year gone by

The dated flowers on the yolk, the contrasting panelled skirt and the dress length, all made the look too busy and unappealing.

Deepika Padukone

17 fashion bloopers of the year gone by

This shimmery emerald pant suit was not meant for heavy eyes with a nude lip or those earrings. While she’s got the bod to pull off almost anything, this look was just not quite there.

Huma Qureshi

17 fashion bloopers of the year gone by

A little risk is always nice and green was enough risk for Huma because she made it look good on the red carpet, but apart from that, this gown was just unflattering and the material did absolutely nothing for her.

Madhuri Dixit Nene

17 fashion bloopers of the year gone by

The sheer blouse was a clear bad choice and the colour wasn’t doing much for the beauty either. We’re still confused about the rosy pally of the drape.

Priyanka Chopra

17 fashion bloopers of the year gone by

This one hit like a bus. The length of the jacket made it look gimmicky, the studded boots were a bad choice, the hair was too average and she could have easily ditched the neck piece. Overall, the look is too disconnected in itself.

Malaika Arora

17 fashion bloopers of the year gone by

There’s no denying that Malaika looks smokin’ hot in this ensemble, but it seemed a little inappropriate for the event, not to miss a little too elaborate for a party. The corset and the cape, great choice otherwise, were an obvious miss for her this time.

Richa Chadha

17 fashion bloopers of the year gone by

The gown gives Richa a very boxy appearance and her dulled down make-up doesn’t help with the look at all. The fringe at the end of the lampshade-like sleeves are a complete no here.

Shilpa Shetty

17 fashion bloopers of the year gone by

While the skirt is gorgeous, the fringe blouse was so unnecessary and uncalled for. Also, the necklace was quite a mismatch.

Sonakshi Sinha

17 fashion bloopers of the year gone by

Dissecting this look would take a while. The white saree with a colourful pallu, a strapless blouse and to top it all a belt to clinch it all together. The blonde hair, too, wasn’t doing much for Sonakshi in this fashion attire.

Vidya Balan

17 fashion bloopers of the year gone by

Once you recover from the blinding golden saree, the faux bob and the potli purse are the bigger misses in the look. While she wears the most gorgeous drapes there are, this was unlike Vidya Balan.

Taapsee Pannu

17 fashion bloopers of the year gone by

Sarees have become yards of experimentation now. While some work wonders, this one backfired big time. The texture of the saree and the fact that the pallu goes under the blouse makes absolutely no sense and only makes it look tacky.

Shraddha Kapoor

ff

The unflattering colour, the overwhelming matching heels and the wrinkly fit, nothing working for Shraddha in this outfit.

Swara Bhaskar

ff

While the monochrome pant suit is classic and you’d think one can’t go wrong with it, Swara paired it with feathery sandals and instead of being whimsy, it made the look land in this list.

Sridevi

ff

If you want an answer to how can denim on denim go wrong, the evergreen Sridevi has the answer. The obviously ill fitted jacket and the so outdated skirt were a bad choice individually and she went with the two together.  

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Meet the AI startup that wants to make a digital copy of every person in the world

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“Oben,” in German means “above,” or to be on top. That, in a nutshell, is also the vision Nikhil Jain has for the AI startup ObEN, of which he’s CEO and co-founder. The company raised $5 million from a group led by Tencent this summer and has an ambition in keeping with the meaning of its name.

Nikhil is working to advance technology that gives ultimately everyone in the world — the famous, the infamous, the ordinary and everyone in between — a 3D avatar that looks and sounds like them. ObEN, in that scenario, would power an AI level that sits, in other words, “above” physical, face-to-face interactions, opening up a new way of interacting with technology. And each other.

“We believe every person in the world will eventually have their own copy,” Jain told BGR. “One that looks like them, talks like them — it’s not that far off. An AI-driven virtual copy that can be used by consumers like us in day-to-day applications. For example, my AI — my copy — can now sing better than me.”

All ObEN needs to do that is a selfie of you and a voice recording. Here’s a YouTube clip showing Nikhil on one side, and his ObEN-made virtual copy on the other:

From fake news, to fake me. That’s apparently where we’re headed in 2018, with ventures like ObEN and others that BGR has covered this year — like Canadian tech startup Lyrebird — that use voice- and face-copying to present a version of me saying whatever I want. Or a version of, well, someone else, saying almost anything I want.

Lyrebird, BGR noted earlier this year, requires you to give it about a minute of your speech. The program then analyzes your voice and reverse-engineers it into computerized vocals that can be made to say anything — and to sound exactly like you would if you were the one saying instead of a computer.

ObEN, which has raised $21.7 million, takes things even farther.

The company, which reportedly plans to launch celebrity avatars in 2018, was founded in 2014. Nikhil sees it as a wildly futuristic idea that nonetheless has plenty of practical application, starting with himself. He travels a lot for work, for example, and some kind of virtual AI copy of himself could be used to interact with his kids so they didn’t end up missing him as much.

This news has been on the more positive and useful end of the spectrum of AI news we’ve covered in 2017, a spectrum that includes Elon Musk continuing to try to scare us to death about AI on the other extreme. We’ve covered startups like Nauto, based in Palo Alto, that uses cameras and an AI system to help monitor drivers to improve performance and safety, and just this month VR pioneer Jaron Lanier told us he didn’t even think AI as such is really, well, a thing.

Nikhil and the folks at ObEN, of course, sees it as plenty useful. And people are buying into their story. This summer, tech giant Tencent led a $5 million funding round into the company. Levin Yao, executive director of Tencent Investment, described the new form of entertainment and celebrity AI-driven content ObEN is working to build as “inspiring.”

Also this year, ObEN announced the formation of AI Stars, a joint ventures with S.M. Entertainment, one of the largest entertainment companies in Asia with a portfolio of celebrities including K-pop stars. That new joint venture will use ObEN’s technology to deliver new products and services that merge technology and celebrity intellectual property. According to the publication Tech in Asia, ObEN is also working with Bollywood celebrities.

“Celebrities want to be connecting with their fans,” Jain said. “Once we have their avatar, we can give it instructions. OK, avatar, we want you to now sing this song.”

Avatars, in a sense, also enable the person they’re copying to live forever, Jain continued. How to get his company to its end goal of every person having their own virtual 3D representation — that’s the futuristic goal at least one startup found itself wrestling with as 2017 draws to a close.

Blunders and blockbusters from the biggest names in tech

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In many ways, the world in 2016 was defined by its mistakes. Companies let products languish, and when they did release updates, they often made questionable design choices. And of course, one of Samsung’s most important phones literally went up in smoke. This year was a different story though. Some previous offenders learned their lesson while others set themselves up for success down the road. Not that everything was rosy. There were plenty of errors along the way, including glitchy products and misguided strategies. With that in mind, let’s look at the hits and misses of 2017 — and more importantly, consider how they’ll affect what happens in 2018.

Apple

Apple iPhone X

You could call 2017 Apple’s year of redemption … or at least the start of its redemption. Whereas 2016 was defined by iterative devices and a sense that Apple had lost its way (see the dongle-tastic MacBook Pro), this year saw Apple rethink multiple products with a mind to 2018 and beyond.

To start, it apologized for botching the Mac Pro and neglecting the pro market as a whole. Soon after, it unveiled the iMac Pro as a near-term fix, but the biggest news was the promise of a redesigned Mac Pro in 2018 that addresses gripes about expandability and performance. Whereas 2017 began with pros wondering if Apple was abandoning them, 2018 will start with a renewed (if cautious) optimism. The company also spent much of 2017 laying the groundwork for more futuristic technologies, including virtual reality and external graphics cards. Between this and refreshing most of its computer lineup, Apple made it clear that the Mac will enjoy a renaissance in 2018 — and catch up with tech that Windows has had for a while.

And then there’s the iPhone. After years of conservative updates, Apple finally shook things up with the iPhone X. Its nearly all-screen design was a welcome upgrade, and its depth-based face detection was a clever (if imperfect) replacement for fingerprint readers. It’s safe to say that Apple will spread the iPhone X’s technology across other parts of its lineup in 2018.

On top of this, 2017 was the year the Apple Watch came into its own. A rocky launch notwithstanding, the Series 3 addressed the wish lists of early adopters with cellular data, improved performance and longer battery life. The new model helped Apple regain its lead in the wearable world and left little doubt that smartwatches would continue to be hot commodities in 2018.

That’s not to say there weren’t missteps. Buggy software marred some key products, from an Apple Watch connection glitch to iOS 11 reliability issues to a scary Mac root access flaw. And that’s not even including the uproar over battery-related slowdowns. Moreover, 2017 was the year of premature hardware announcements. The HomePod, iMac Pro and new Mac Pro were all unveiled several months before they were due to ship, which is unusual for a company that frequently delivers newly announced hardware within weeks. Even the iPhone X missed the usual iPhone release window in September. Simply put, Apple developed a habit of announcing products well before they were ready, but hopefully in 2018 the company will focus on fulfilling promises rather than making them.

Google

If Google had only been dipping its toes into the hardware waters before, it dove in headfirst with its 2017 lineup. In many cases, the company’s AI know-how was a central feature — and that’s likely to continue in 2018. The Pixel 2 and Pixel 2 XL were two of the best phones of the year, thanks in part to their excellent AI-assisted cameras, and they’re only likely to improve through features like the Pixel Visual Core. Google’s smart speaker line clearly blossomed too. The Home Mini’s lower price made Google Assistant more accessible in the living room, while the Home Max gave audio enthusiasts an alternative to the Sonos One and (eventually) Apple’s HomePod. The company prepared for VR’s wireless future with support for standalone Daydream headsets, and it even gave hope to Chrome OS fans by replacing the Chromebook Pixel with the more flexible Pixelbook.

Even so, to say that Google flubbed a few things would be an understatement. The Pixel 2 line launched with its share of glitches, and the 2 XL took an extraordinary amount of flak for its display. Between blue tinting, muted colors, burn-in and unresponsive edges, there were so many complaints that Google extended warranties to quell upset customers. Software fixes addressed some of these problems, but it’s evident that quality control will need to be a priority for 2018.

And then there are the Pixel Buds. While they do offer solid sound quality, just about everything else about them screams version 1.0. Fiddly controls, an awkward charging case and the questionable utility of the signature translation feature (which could easily be handled on your phone) make them a tough sell. There’s a good chance Google will address at least some of these flaws later in 2018, but for now they don’t live up to their promise.

Amazon

This was the year Amazon went all out in its bids to conquer the smart speaker arena and make Alexa the voice assistant of choice in 2018. It released no fewer than five Echo models in 2017, all but one of which could do considerably more than play audio. Want a smart home hub? Echo Plus. Video viewer? Echo Show. You can even get an alarm clock (the Echo Spot) or a fashion adviser (the Echo Look). And that’s not including Alexa-equipped devices like the Cloud Cam, Fire HD 10 tablet and new Fire TV. While we had our misgivings (the second-gen Echo’s sound quality was initially lousy, for one) Amazon made Alexa far more accessible and capable. Expect that trend to continue in 2018: There has already been a leak hinting at a hybrid Echo/Fire TV media hub.

However, Amazon’s real coup was getting other device makers to hop on the Alexa bandwagon. It wasn’t just the Sonos One, although that was definitely the most prominent example. Jeff Bezos and company managed to slip Alexa into hardware as diverse as the HTC U11 smartphone, the Ecobee4 thermostat and even Mercedes-Benz cars. While the AI helper doesn’t currently have the international reach of Apple, Google or Microsoft, Amazon’s rapid international expansion of Alexa support at the end of 2017 hinted that Alexa could become truly ubiquitous in the year to come.

Unfortunately for Amazon, things started to unravel toward the end of the year. Google pulled support for YouTube on both the Echo Show and Fire TV in a dispute over Amazon’s hardware sales policies and unofficial apps, hobbling two of Amazon’s most important products. Amazon only just started making amends by carrying the Chromecast. Plus, there were a few questionable gadgets. Does anyone really want an upscale Kindle reader or Alexa game button? Amazon may have spread itself too thin, and there are easily a few products that could fizzle out in 2018.

Facebook

Oculus Go

There was one common theme for Facebook’s hardware in 2017: VR, VR and more VR. Just under its own brand, it introduced 360-degree pro cameras, launched social VR spaces and promoted virtual reality technology at every given opportunity. There were other hardware initiatives, such as the Building 8 lab’s brain-computer interface and internet drones, but there’s no indication that you’ll get more than peeks at these projects in 2018.

Oculus was certainly busy as well. It spent 2017 priming itself for a future in which VR is truly wireless, whether it’s the low-cost Oculus Go or the advanced Project Santa Cruz prototype. It revamped its VR interface to be easier to use. While there’s no guarantee the Go or Santa Cruz will reach your head in 2018, Oculus will go into the year with the clear goal of leaving clunky, complicated headsets firmly in the past.

Microsoft

This was a renewal year for Microsoft’s hardware. After laying low in 2016, the company’s device teams sprung into action, not only refreshing products that had been left untouched for more than a year but also addressing long-standing requests from fans who wanted a more complete selection. Its PC line finally got a conventional portable in the form of the Surface Laptop, while the Surface Book 2 added a 15-inch model packing the sort of horsepower that pros and gamers crave. There’s no certainty that Microsoft will continue to aggressively update its Surface line, but its device catalog is much stronger going into 2018.

The Xbox One X will shape Microsoft’s new year too. Even more so than in 2017, you can expect the company to push its high-end Xbox as a vehicle for all things 4K, whether it’s the latest games or streaming services. It could even be a Trojan horse for VR, given that there are plans to bring mixed reality headsets to the Xbox. The challenge is that Microsoft is somewhat late to the party. Sony offered gamers a taste of 4K with the PS4 Pro and has already been selling PlayStation VR for over a year, so Microsoft will have to spend 2018 proving that its hardware was worth the wait.

Microsoft’s Hololens provides mixed reality tools to assist in the workplace. Microsoft

Microsoft has some more experimental projects too. It might offer a glimpse of its next-generation HoloLens headset in 2018 and thus show everything it has learned about wearable holographic computing over the past few years. There are even reports that it could resurrect the Courier digital notebook concept.

In some ways, Microsoft’s biggest move in 2017 was enabling hardware for others. Windows Mixed Reality established a common platform for AR and VR on Microsoft-powered PCs. The Cortana voice assistant, meanwhile, spread beyond computers and phones to reach smart home devices like speakers and thermostats. Microsoft even revived ARM-based Windows PCs, with ASUS and HP unveiling laptops that could easily last all day while keeping you connected. Only a small amount of this hardware arrived in 2017, but you should anticipate a flood of it in the year ahead. Microsoft may have already defined the tech trends that will shape the industry in 2018.

There weren’t any major gaffes in 2017, but the company’s less-than-ideal execution suggests it has room to improve going forward. It had to grapple with claims of poor Surface reliability and questionable design decisions, such as underpowered chargers. The Xbox One X’s high price didn’t do it any favors and gave the PS4 Pro another advantage. Windows 10 S was meant to offer an alternative to Chromebooks with similar security and more flexibility, but the dearth of hardware didn’t exactly put Google on notice. Moreover, Microsoft came to terms with its long-term failures by putting Windows Mobile on life support and ending Kinect production. It’s beginning 2018 with a clean slate, but only after learning some hard lessons.

Samsung

Samsung ended 2016 with its tail between its legs, to put it mildly. The Galaxy Note 7’s battery fiasco was so bad that it led to the company effectively killing the phone, and that left many people wondering whether Samsung’s reputation would recover in 2017.

Thankfully for Samsung, it did. The Galaxy S8 and Galaxy Note 8 not only represented returns to form but also pushed the boundaries of smartphone design in a literal way with their edge-to-edge displays. The tech giant also took the Note 7’s failure head on, offering a detailed explanation of the battery problems and clear solutions. Even the firm’s wearable efforts hit their stride between the solid Gear Sport smartwatch and the Gear VR controller. Samsung regained a lot of the trust it lost. And while rumors hint that 2018’s Galaxy S9 could be an iterative update, Samsung might just shake up the mobile world with its plans to release a foldable Galaxy Note.

However, we still wouldn’t call it a stellar year. Samsung made a push into voice assistants with Bixby, but the AI helper was undercooked at best — and that’s a problem when the S8 and Note 8 have a dedicated Bixby button. Yes, Bixby 2.0 could address some of the assistant’s limitations (particularly around language recognition), but Samsung is starting 2018 after having placed a lot of faith in technology that remains shaky. The company is likely to bring Bixby to devices beyond phones and tablets in 2018, such as a smart speaker, but right now the assistant isn’t mature enough to do justice to the hardware.

Check out all of Engadget’s year-in-review coverage right here.

 

 

The Most Shocking, Surprising, and Awesome Gaming Moments of 2017

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Throughout the past 12 months, we’ve talked about how 2017 was a great year for games. It is arguably the greatest start in video game history. I don’t really have to go over this again since we’ve done so numerous times. Needless to say that if you were a gamer in 2017, you had a lot of titles juggle. The gaming gods blessed us many times over.

Outside of the abundance of titles to play, 2017 also saw a number of noteworthy events happen in the industry. These include the release of new hardware, the rise and fall of new and classic titles, shady business practices, and gaming celebrities acting like complete jackasses. Some of the things we saw happen in gaming were good, some were confusing, and others were just downright awful. These events certainly made gaming in 2017 all the more interesting — even if some of the things that occurred are best forgotten.

Below are some of the biggest and most surprising gaming moments of 2017.

Nintendo Switch

Nintendo Switch dock

I think it’s safe to say 2017 would have been a lot less interesting without the release of Nintendo Switch. Many (myself included) believed Nintendo was on its last legs after the abysmal failure that was Wii U. I think even the hardest of the hardcore Nintendo fan was caught off guard with regards to how successful the Switch has been. If things keep going the way they have, Switch will outsell the Wii U in less than a year. That’s pretty freakin’ incredible.

So why did Switch take off like it did? One factor is its portability. While handheld gaming has existed for decades, Switch represents something new. It really is a console you can take with you. It’s not as powerful as a PS4 or Xbox One, but it certainly blows away the PS Vita and 3DS in terms of horsepower. There’s also the fact the system is playable on a TV with an optional Pro controller. Switch is a versatile device that fits different types of lifestyles.

Of course, we can’t forget the biggest reason Switch is doing so well: games. Wii U was notorious for having long periods without any big AAA first-party releases. Switch on the other hand has had at least one major release every month since launch. Games like The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild, Super Mario Odyssey, Super Mario Kart 8 Deluxe, and Mario + Rabbids make the system extremely enticing. The fact it’s getting so many indie games and hot third party titles can’t be ignored either.

Will Switch’s success continue in 2018? It’s hard to say at this time, but whatever happens, no one can take 2017 away from Switch. The year truly belonged to Nintendo’s console.

Xbox One X

Nintendo Switch wasn’t the only new console released in 2017. Late in the year, Microsoft released “the most powerful console ever” with the Xbox One X. Like the PS4 Pro, this was another mid-gen upgrade system designed to take advantage of 4K televisions. Boasting 6 teraflops of power, few could deny how impressive the system was from a technical standpoint. It certainly made die-hard Xbox fans happy, even if it did set them back (another) $500.

The Xbox One X is also a lesson that power doesn’t mean much without games to play. PlayStation 4 and Switch have enjoyed a bounty of stellar first-party titles in 2017. In contrast, first party support on Xbox One has been virtually non-existent this year. Xbox One X owners can enjoy playing older titles which have been enhanced with 4K textures. Unfortunately, outside of Forza Motorsport 7 and Halo Wars 2, there aren’t many new first party games that truly demonstrates what the system is capable of.

Xbox One X may not be a runaway success like Switch, but it pleases the audience it was meant for (the aforementioned harcore Xbox fans). In that regard, the system has done well for itself. Just don’t expect much media buzz about the system going into the new year.

Microtransactions/loot boxes

Excuse my French, but I think it’s safe to say the most bullshit moment of 2017 was all the nonsense with microtransactions and loot boxes in some of the year’s biggest games. These practices aren’t new to the gaming industry. Mobile games practically thrive on this business model and have done so for years. However, when players start getting nickel and dimed for games they paid $60 for, there’s going to be backlash. Especially if one of those games is a Star Wars title.

Microtransactions aren’t necessarily a bad thing on their own. The problem starts when games are deliberately designed around them. Players feel obligated to spend money in order to progress. Loot boxes take things to another level since customers don’t know exactly what they’re purchasing. Because of this, countries like Belgium and states like Hawaii want to classify games with loot boxes as a form of gambling. I don’t think I need to tell you the inherent problem with the government regulating video games.

While the whole loot crate/microtransaction drama of 2017 frustrated many, it can lead to small reform. Now that customers are more aware of these practices, we’ll likely see big publishers like Activision and EA rethink their strategies. Folks are willing to spend more on a game they like. What they don’t want is to feel ripped off in the process. Hopefully, everyone has learned a lesson from all of this.

Mass Effect Andromeda

Mass Effect Andromeda funny faces

EA didn’t have a great year, publicity-wise. Though it wasn’t the only one, the publisher received an extreme amount of flak after the whole debacle with loot boxes in Star Wars: Battlefront II. This event is relatively recent, which is why it’s still fresh in people’s minds. However, we can’t forget about another debacle surrounding an EA game released earlier in the year. I’m of course referring to the disaster that was Mass Effect Andromeda i.e. the game that killed a franchise.

Truth be told, we shouldn’t have been that surprised with the way Mass Effect Andromeda turned out. The game saw directors and producers come and go throughout its troubled production. Though it might be unfair to say this, the title also wasn’t being developed by the same Bioware team responsible for the original trilogy. Thanks to the good will garnered by the series, it was easy for people to ignore these warning signs. Unfortunately, what we ended up getting was indeed a sub-par product.

In all honesty, I didn’t find the game all that bad. It wasn’t as high-quality as previous entries, but I still got enjoyment out of it. With that said, the weird faces, bland characters, and overall lack of polish turned off a lot of gamers and critics. Because of Mass Effect Andromeda’s failure, EA has put the series into cryostasis. With Bioware putting all its efforts into Anthem, it’s likely we won’t see another Mass Effect game this generation. Like with loot crates, EA has an opportunity to learn from its mistakes and will hopefully release a worthy Mass Effect sequel in the future.

PewDiePie Acting a Fool

PewDiePie

Felix “PewDiePie” Kjellberg really stepped in it in 2017. First, Disney dissolved a partnership with the world-famous YouTuber after he made a series of videos which were considered anti-semitic. During the summer, Kjellberg said the N-word in a blatantly insulting manner during a livestream. His flippant use of such a derogatory and insulting term even got him attention from the mainstream media. Half-hearted apologies did little to quell the anger many felt towards the YouTube Star.

PewDiePie’s actions are bad enough on their own, but the consequences of what he did are perhaps more troubling. Many believe YouTube’s infamous “Adpocalypse” was a direct response to the toxicity of YouTubers like PDP. Secondly, his usage of the N-word potentially normalizes it in a way that gives others an excuse to casually use it themselves. And lastly, he just makes gamers look bad — which is something the community certainly doesn’t need. Considering how PDP still has millions of subscribers and makes millions of dollars, it’s doubtful he’ll ever change his ways.

PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds

PlayerUnknown's Battlegrounds

2017 was a fantastic year for video games, but none loomed larger than PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds. Despite having numerous bugs, server issues, and subpar graphics, PUBG came through town like a tank and demolished everything in its path. Reaching nearly 30 million sales in less than a year is quite impressive for a game that was only officially finished in mid-December.

Why did PUBG do so well? It’s a number of factors. The main one is its simplicity. PUBG is a last-man-standing shooting game that places players on a map which is constantly shrinking. Players are mostly left to their own devices; making each and every match vastly unique. The game has no central narrative. Players make up their own story as they go along. There’s also the fact PUBG only cost $30, which makes it accessible to nearly anyone who wants it.

PUBG’s success has already inspired a number of imitators. Both Fortnite and Grand Theft Auto Online have incorporated PUBG-esque battle royale modes. It’s safe to assume future games will either incorporate this formula into their own online modes or completely rip off the idea. We may well see PUBG-likes that are technically better than the original which inspired them. However, now that PUBG is in the public zeitgeist, it’s hard to imagine a similar game dethrone it. PUBG is the new Counter-Strike, whether we like it or not.

The Death of NeoGAF

For years, NeoGAF has been the most popular gaming forum on the internet. It was a place where developers and journalists would frequently post hot rumors or leaks. For many in the industry (myself included) it was an invaluable source of information. It also received a great deal of heat from detractors who felt the site was a hostile environment for anyone that didn’t wholeheartedly go along with whatever viewpoint “Gaffers” approved of.

Given its power and influence, it was interesting to see just how quickly NeoGAF crumbled after its founder, Tyler Malka, was accused of sexual harassment. The site eventually returned as a hollow shell of its former self; with many of its former members moving on to a new site called ResetEra.

Pokemon Go Fest Debacle

Photo via Polygon

Niantic held a huge Pokemon Go festival in Chicago during the summer. Here, players from around the world would gather in order to collect rare Pokemon by completing a series of challenges. What should have been a fun day for attendees quickly turned sour when server issues made it impossible to play the game. It was a colossal failure on almost every conceivable level, one that thoroughly embarrassed Niantic.

Eventually Niantic was able to fix the server issues and get attendees hunting for Pokemon as originally planned. Niantic is sure to take the lessons of this inaugural Pokemon Go fest to heart if it ever decides to do another one in 2018.

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Filmfare Flashback 2017: The starry year that was

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As the year comes to an end, we take a trip back to the glorious year that 2017 was for Filmfare. We had a great run with some blockbusters cover shoots. Starting the year on a romantic high were Aditya Roy Kapur and Shraddha Kapoor. And then it just got better. From Deepika Padukone’s smokin’ hot cover shoot to Kareeena Kapoor Khan flaunting her fit body, Filmfare covered all that trended. We covered international waters as we shot with Kangana Ranaut in London and goofed around with Ranveer Singh in Mauritius. 

We also celebrated love with Alia Bhatt and Varun Dhawan and we celebrated glamour with our winners of the Reliance Digital Filmfare Glamour and Style Awards. We raised a toast to the stardom of Salman Khan as well.

So now here’s giving you a flashback of the cinematic, glorious and stunning year that 2017 was through all the shoots we did.

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2017- Making Sense of the year from Jan to Dec!

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By Sonia Chopra

At a pre- New Year’s gathering recently (yes, it’s a thing), a question went around asking everyone what 2017 was like for them in a single word. ‘Extreme’ is the first word that seemed to resonate with most in the room. It’s strange how each year has its own personality that reflects in some way on everyone.

Flashback 2017: Top 20 Instagram Moments of 2017

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Flashback 2017: Top 20 Instagram Moments of 2017
Just like us, our Bollywood celebs have also gave in to the Instagram obsession. It’s amazing how we get to see all the fun our favourite celebs are upto as they post their special moments on this app. Be it their stunning selfies, their dreamy vacay shots or just having a chill time with their favourite people around. For us fans, it’s sure a visual treat to watch all of it through social media. Year 2017 was high on all the entertainment thanks to our Bollywood stars. Be it Kareena Kapoor Khan and Saif Ali Khan’s little prince Taimur Ali Khan breaking the internet or newlyweds Virat Kohli and Anushka Sharma officially announcing their wedding – we simply couldn’t stop gushing looking at them.

But wait, it didn’t end there, we then had as always high on good vibes – Ranveer Singh going the ‘Thug Life’ way in his selfie with Aamir Khan. Meanwhile, King Shah Rukh Khan didn’t forget to thank his fans for all the love on his birthday with his picture with them and his youngest baby AbRam. With all of this we had our festive season on where those Diwali party pictures left no bit to take the internet by storm. As happy and amazing it could be, it’s still hard to get over it.

As we wrap up the year, we pick our favourite 20 super starry Instagram moments of 2017. Check them out here.

1. When King, Shah Rukh Khan captured his special birthday moment with son AbRam Khan and his fans.

2. When Shahid Kapoor shared the perfect family picture of the year.

3. When Karisma Kapoor had the best of Diwali celebrations with Varun Dhawan and Deepika Padukone.

4.     When team Student Of The Year celebrated its 5 amazing years.

5. When Ranveer Singh had his Thug Life moment with Aamir Khan.

6.      When little Taimur Ali Khan shared a special moment with his mamma.

7. When Karan Johar shared with the world his two gorgeous babies for the first time.

8. When no one could pout better than uncle Johar and junior Khan.

9. When li’l AbRam showed us all how to hit the dance floor, just the right way!

10  & 11 – When #Virushka officially announced their dreamy wedding. 

12 When International star Vin Diesel couldn’t stop praising our desi girl – Deepika Padukone.

13. When queen Sonam Kapoor gave us a sneak peek of all the Diwali madness she had with her Veeres.

14. When original Judwaa set the floor on fire for Judwaa 2

15.  When our favourites Bebo and KJo ended up giving us those major #BFFGoals!

16. When King Khan, Katrina and Karan Johar set the temperatures high!

17. When new daddy Shahid Kapoor for the first time shared a picture of his princess Misha.

19. When Badshah proved it that there’s always one King!

20. When Bhaijaan Salman Khan was the perfect uncle to his little nephew!

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Flashback 2017: 35 cutest Taimur Ali Khan pictures which broke the internet this year

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Flashback 2017: 35 cutest Taimur Ali Khan pictures which broke the internet this year!
Saif Ali Khan and Kareena Kapoor Khan’s baby boy and nation’s current heartthrob, Taimur Ali Khan turned one just a week ago. While we just sit and scroll through this little prince’s pictures from the time when he was born back in December last year, it’s hard to believe how quickly time flies. Right from breaking the internet from the first time when the royal couple announced his birth to today when he has become a pro at handling and posing for the paparazzi – it has truly been amazing for all the fans out there. Be it pictures of him travelling with his stunning mamma, going out for his play dates with BFFs Lakksshya Kapoor, Yash and Roohi Johar or just chilling like a boss on his favourite swing or just vacaying in Swiss Alps – he’s one social media star.

As this baby boy continued to remain the biggest newsmaker throughout the year, we pick 50 cutest Taimur Ali Khan pictures which will give you the perfect throwback to the year that was oh so good! 

All eyes on you munchkin!

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Music Round Up 2017

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Music Round Up 2017
AR Rahman’s output in 2017 were the soundtracks of OK Jaanu and Mom. While the best songs of OK Jaanu were reworkings of his own OK Kanmani soundtrack, they got side-tracked by the publicity generated by Humma humma remix by Tanishk Bagchi. Sun bhavara, sung by Shashaa Tirupati, was an original creation by Rahman for the film and stood out. His compositions in Mom, like Raakh baaki, Chal kahin door and Muafi mushkil were more on the mode of background tracks and did serve that purpose in the film.

Music Round Up 2017

We mentioned Tanishk Bagchi earlier and the composer was able to shrug off his image of being the remix man and gave us some melodious tunes (along with Vayu) in Shubh Mangal Saavdhan. Kanha, sung by Shashaa Tirupati stood out.

Shankar-Ehsaan-Loy did not have a release this year. Vishal-Shekhar too had just one album in Tiger Zinda Hai. The songs, Swag se swagat sung by Vishal and Neha Bhasin and Dil diya gallan sung by Atif Aslam made listeners sit up and take notice though.

Music Round Up 2017

Vishal Bhardwaj has by and large stopped composing music for other people. The only time we hear his compositions nowadays are in the films he directs. He did give us some hummable tunes in Rangoon. Songs like Bloody hell, sung by Sunidhi Chauhan, Mere miyan gaye England, sung  by Rekha Bhardwaj, and Julia sung by Sukhwinder Singh, KK and Kunal Ganjawala were reminiscent of his trademark style but didn’t outlast the film.

Amit Trivedi had releases like Qaidi Band and Secret Superstar to his credit. While songs of Qaidi Band were more or less ignored by the listeners, his Secret Superstar had gems like Main kaun hoon and Nachdi phira which were full of energy and original melody. Both were sung by the super talented Meghna Mishra, quite clearly the find of the year as far as playback is concerned.

Sachin-Jigar’s best work this year was in Simran. The album was a complete package and complemented the theme of the film to a T. Guru Randhawa and Jonita Gandhi’s jugalbandi stood out in Lagdi hai thaai, Sunidhi Chauhan made her mark with Pinjra tod ke and Shalmali Kholgade and  Divya Kumar were a hoot in the fun song Majaa ni life. Sachin-Jigar also gave us the romantic ballad, Maana ke hum yaar nahi, from Meri Pyari Bindu, sung by Sonu Nigam and Parineeti Chopra. The duo also gave us some nice tunes in Hindi Medium. The standout song there was Suit suit karda by Guru Randhawa. Guru Ranhawa, along with Rajat Nagpal was also the composer for the massy hit Ban ja rani from Tumhari Sulu. Sung by Randhawa himself, it was a reworking of a song from his hit album Tu Meri Rani.

Music Round Up 2017

Shaswat Sachdev made his debut with Phillauri. Given the film’s subject, the album has a predominant Punjabi feel to it. Dum dum, sung by Romy and Vivek Hariharan and Sahiba by Romy and Pavni Pandey stood out. Another newbie, Rohit Sharma, was responsible for the earthy Anaarkali Of Aarah. Rekha Bhardwaj’s thumri, Badnaam jiya, was a find and Pavni Pandey was at her bawdy best in Aye sakhi. Pakistani Coke Studio favourite Zeb Bangash too made some noise as a composer with with Lipstick Under My Burkha! The songs, however, were mostly reworkings of her Coke Stuido work. Le le jaan, sung by her is a fast paced version of her original. Jigi jigi, sung by Malini Awasthi too had a catchy feel to it.

Music Round Up 2017

Last, but not the least, 2017 can easily be said to be Pritam’s year. He was in form in Jagga Jasoos, composing some 29 songs for the film, most of which sadly didn’t make it to its soundtrack. It had peppy, fun songs like Ullu ka pattha, sung by Arijit Singh and Nikhita Gandhi, the funky Galti se mistake sung by Arijit Singh, Shubhanshu Kesharwani, Amit Mishra, and one of its kind number Jhumritalaiyya, sung by Arijit and Mohan Kanan. The film didn’t do well at the box office but the soundtrack’s popularity didn’t get dented because of that. His other film was Imtiaz Ali’s Jab Harry Met Sejal, which too had an eclectic soundtrack. Songs like Radha, sung by Sunidhi and Shahid Mallya, Parinda sung by Pardeep Singh Sran, Hawayein by Arijit Singh, and Ghar by Mohit Chauhan and Nikhita Gandhi carried the day. The group JAM8, which he mentored, gave us the romantic Zaalima from Raees as well. Pritam was at his experimental best and we hope the lack of commercial success of both Jagga Jasoos and Jab Harry Met Sejal doesn’t deter him from that path.

Music Round Up 2017
Best Songs of 2017

1. Swag Se Swagat

Film: Tiger Zinda Hai

Singer: Vishal Dadlani and Neha Bhasin

 ______________

2. Ban Ja Rani

Film: Tumhari Sulu

Singer: Guru Randhawa

  ______________

3. Main Kaun Hoon

Film: Secret Superstar

Singer: Meghna Mishra

  ______________

4. Mere Rashke Qamar

Film: Baadshaho

Singer: Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan, Rahat Fateh Ali Khan

  ______________

5. Nachdi Phira

Film: Secret Superstar

Singer: Meghna Mishra

  ______________

6. Hawayein

Film: Jab Harry Met Sejal

Singer: Arijit Singh

  ______________

7. Suit suit

Film: Hindi Medium

Singer: Guru Randhawa

  ______________

8. Baarish

Film: Half Girlfriend

Singer: Ash King and Shashaa Tirupati

  ______________

9. Kanha

Film: Shubh Mangal Saavddhan

Singer: Shashaa Tirupati

  ______________

10. Ullu ka pattha

Film: Jagga Jasoos

Singer: Arijit Singh

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Alleged swatting hoax ends in the death of a father of two (updated)

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Wichita Eagle via Getty Images

Yesterday evening, a 28-year-old Kansas man was shot by police after the station received a call about a hostage situation taking place at the man’s residence. “It was a shooting call involving hostages,” Deputy Police Chief Troy Livingston said during a press conference last night. “The original call, we were told that someone had an argument with their mother and dad was accidentally shot. And that now that person was holding mother, brother and sister hostage. We learned through that call that a father was deceased, and had been shot in the head. That was the information we were working off of.” But that information turned out to be wrong and shortly after the incident, reports began to surface online that the call was part of a “swatting” stunt — a hoax wherein someone makes a false police report in order to fuel a large law enforcement response.

Here’s what seems to have gone down. Two individuals were playing Call of Duty and got into an argument online over a game with a $1.50 wager. One of them, a person with the Twitter handle @SWauTistic, threatened to swat user @7aLeNT. The latter then provided an address that wasn’t actually their own in response to the threat. Shortly thereafter, @SWauTistic allegedly called in the false report, which led to a police response at the provided address. Andrew Finch, who lived at the address, reportedly went to the front door in response to the commotion and was shot. “As he came to the front door, one of our officers discharged his weapon,” said Livingston. The police haven’t said whether Finch had a weapon at the time, but his family has said there were no guns in the house. The officer who fired the shot is a seven-year department veteran who will be put on paid administrative leave pending an investigation.

Once the story began attracting media coverage, @SWauTistic tweeted that the house he swatted was on the news, which was then followed by a tweet saying he didn’t get anyone killed because he wasn’t the person who shot Finch.

KrebsOnSecurity reports that the individual then changed his Twitter handle to @GoredTutor36, but not before KrebsOnSecurity got its hands on weeks’ worth of the original account’s tweets. The person behind the account has claimed credit for a number of swatting hoaxes and other threats including one that led to the evacuation of the Dallas Convention Center earlier this month, a bomb threat at a Florida high school in November and the threat that caused the FCC to pause its net neutrality vote a couple of weeks ago.

In direct message conversations with KrebsOnSecurity, the person running @GoredTutor36 said that they had remorse over Finch’s death but that they would not be turning themselves in. “People will eventually (most likely those who know me) tell me to turn myself in or something. I can’t do that; though I know its [sic] morally right. I’m too scared admittedly,” they wrote. They also said, “Bomb threats are more fun and cooler than swats in my opinion and I should have just stuck to that. But I began making $ doing some swat requests.” The person also noted that the thrill of such hoaxes “comes from having to hide from police via net connections.”

Finch was a father of two children — a two-year-old and a seven-year-old — and his family said he didn’t play video games.

Update: The Wichita Police department has confirmed this is an incident of SWATting, and released material including audio of the phone call that sent officers to Finch’s door and video of what happened when officers arrived. According to the police, their investigation is ongoing, however they noted that the caller continued to contact 911 even after the police had arrived on the scene.

Images: @mattcarries via KrebsOnSecurity

 

 

2017’s biggest cybersecurity facepalms

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2017 was a year like no other for cybersecurity. It was the year we found out the horrid truths at Uber and Equifax, and border security took our passwords. A year of WannaCry and Kaspersky, VPNs and blockchains going mainstream, health care hacking, Russian hackers, WikiLeaks playing for Putin’s team, and hacking back.

In 2017 we learned that cybersecurity is a Lovecraftian game in which you trade sanity for information.

Let’s review the year that was (and hopefully will never be again).

Moscow mules

This was the year Kaspersky finally got all the big press it’s been angling for. Unfortunately for the antivirus company, it wasn’t for its research. Kaspersky spent an uncomfortable year in the headlines being accused of working with Russia’s FSB (former KGB). Eventually those suspicions got it banned from use by US government agencies.

Kaspersky’s alleged coziness with Putin’s inner circle has made the rounds in the press and infosec gossip for years. But it came to a head when an NSA probe surfaced, the Senate pushed for a ban, and — oddly — the Trump administration came with the executioner’s ax.

Obviously, Kaspersky — the company and its CEO of the same name — denied the accusations, and offered to work with the US government. They offered up their code for review and filed suit when the ban passed.

At this point, the only thing that might save Kaspersky’s reputation in the US would be finding us that pee tape. Fingers crossed.

Be still, my backdoored heart

A ransomware attack on Hollywood Presbyterian Hospital in 2016 put health care hacking center stage, but in 2017 it turned into a true nightmare.

The WannaCry ransomware attack spread like wildfire, locking up a third of the National Health Service (NHS) in England. That was followed by other worms, like Petya/NotPetya, which hit US hospitals in June.

The security of pacemakers was exposed as being awful, specifically in the case of medical device manufacturer St. Jude Medical (now rebranded as Abbott). A lot of people hated on researcher Justine Bone and MedSec for the way they went about exposing pacemaker flaws, but they were right. The FDA put a painful pin in it when it notified the public of a voluntary recall (as a firmware update) of 465,000 pacemakers made by St. Jude Medical.

Meanwhile, white-hat hackers put together the first Cyber Med Summit — a doctor-run hacker boot camp for medical professionals. That the Summit exists is a tiny bit of good news in our medical mess, but it also proved that you should probably make sure your doctor keeps a hacker on staff.

Medical staff at the Summit got a wake-up call about medical-device exploits and concluded they need to add “hacking” to their list of possible problems to assess and diagnose.

I’m not crying, you’re crying

On May 12, more than 150 countries were hit in one weekend by a huge ransomware crime wave named WannaCry. The attack was derived from a remote code execution vulnerability (in Windows XP up through Windows Server 2012) called “EternalBlue,” found in the April Shadow Brokers/NSA dump. Those who did their Windows updates were not affected.

WannaCry demanded $300 in bitcoin from each victim, and among those included were the UK’s National Health Service (NHS). The ransomworm was stopped in its tracks by the registration of a single domain that behaved like a kill switch. The creators apparently neglected to secure their own self-destruct button.

Researcher MalwareTech was the hero of the day with his quick thinking, but he was sadly repaid by having his identity outed by British tabloids. Adding insult to injury, he was later arrested on unrelated charges as he attempted to fly home after the DEF CON hacking conference in August.

Two weeks after the attack, Symantec published a report saying the ransomware showed strong links to the Lazarus group (North Korea).

Others independently came to the same conclusion. Eight months later, and just in time for his boss’ warmongering on North Korea, Trump team member Thomas P. Bossert wrote in the Wall Street Journal that “the U.S. today publicly attributes the massive ‘WannaCry’ cyberattack to North Korea.”

Maybe he’s just a backdoor man

US Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein in October introduced the world to the new and totally made-up concept of “responsible encryption” — and was promptly laughed out of the collective infosec room.

“Responsible encryption is effective secure encryption, coupled with access capabilities,” he said.

He suggested that the feds won’t mandate encryption backdoors “so long as companies can cough up an unencrypted copy of every message, call, photo or other form of communications they handle.”

Even non-infosec people thought his new PR buzzwords were suspect. “Look, it’s real simple. Encryption is good for our national security; it’s good for our economy. We should be strengthening encryption, not weakening it. And it’s technically impossible to have strong encryption with any kind of backdoor,” said Representative Will Hurd (R-Texas) at The Atlantic’s Cyber Frontier event in Washington, D.C.

Politico wrote:

It’s a cause Rosenstein has quietly pursued for years, including two cases in 2014 and 2015 when, as the US attorney in Maryland, he sought to take companies to court to make them unscramble their data, a DOJ official told POLITICO. But higher-ups in President Barack Obama’s Justice Department decided against it, said the official, who isn’t authorized to speak to the news media about the cases.

To everyone’s dismay, Rosenstein doubled down on his “responsible encryption” campaign when he capitalized on a mass shooting — using as his example the phone of Devin Patrick Kelley, who opened fire on a congregation in Texas, killing 26 people.

He said, “Nobody has a legitimate privacy interest in that phone … But the company that built it claims that it purposely designed the operating system so that the company cannot open the phone even with an order from a federal judge.”

Like Uber, but for Equifax

If there was some kind of reverse beauty pageant for worst look, worst behavior, and best example of what not to do with security, we’d need a tiebreaker for 2017. Equifax and Uber dominated the year with their awfulness.

Equifax was forced to admit it was hacked badly in both March and July, with the latter affecting around 200 million Americans (plus 400,000 in the UK). Motherboard reported that “six months after the researcher first notified the company about the vulnerability, Equifax patched it — but only after the massive breach that made headlines had already taken place… This revelation opens the possibility that more than one group of hackers broke into the company.”

Shares of Equifax plummeted 35 percent after the July disclosure. And news that some of its execs sold off stock before the breach was made public triggered a criminal probe.

Which brings us to the “unicorn” that fell from grace.

In late November, Uber admitted it was hacked in October 2016, putting 57 million users and more than half a million drivers at risk. Uber didn’t report the breach to anyone — victims or regulators — then paid $100,000 to the hackers to keep it quiet and hid the payment as a bug bounty. All of which led to the high-profile firing and departures of key security team members.

Just a couple of weeks later, in mid-December, the now notorious “Jacobs letter” was unsealed, accusing Uber of spying and hacking. “It was written by the attorney of a former employee, Richard Jacobs, and it contains claims that the company routinely tried to hack its competitors to gain an edge,” Engadget wrote, and “used a team of spies to steal secrets or surveil political figures and even bugged meetings between transport regulators — with some of this information delivered directly to former CEO Travis Kalanick.”

The letter was so explosive, it’s now the trial between Uber and Waymo — so we can be sure we haven’t seen the last of Uber’s security disasters in the news.

Images: Getty Images/iStockphoto (Wannacry); D. Thomas Magee (all illustrations)

 

 

Photo Alert: Twinkle Khanna gets emotional on father Rajesh Khannaâs birthday

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Photo Alert: Twinkle Khanna gets emotional on father Rajesh Khanna’s birthday

Known best for her wit, Mrs Funnybones – Twinkle Khanna celebrates her 43rd birthday today. The actress cum writer is currently in Cape Town, South Africa with husband Akshay Kumar and kids Aarav and Nitara.

Coincidentally what many of you may not know, Twinkle shares her birthday today with father Rajesh Khanna. Dec 29 marks the birth anniversary of the legendary actor, which is why daughter Twinkle, fondly called as Tina took to Instagram to wish her late father. Twinkle shared an old picture with Rajesh Khanna and wrote, “Happy birthday Dad”

Earlier in one of her tweets, Twinkle revealed that her father always wanted her to be a writer. She wrote, “Dad always said I should be a writer- was proud of my maggot filled poetry-would’ve been beaming that I got that paper in my hand eventually.”

Here’s wishing this amazing father daughter duo a super special birthday. Meanwhile, just in case if you have missed Akshay Kumar’s special romantic birthday wish for Twinkle Khanna, then you can read it right  here

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Blockbuster Tiger Zinda Hai hits double century in its first week

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Blockbuster! Tiger Zinda Hai hits double century in its first week

Director Ali Abbas Zafar’s latest release Tiger Zinda Hai is roaring loud at the box-office. After breaking all the records this year, the film has now entered the 200 crore club by earning massive Rs 206.04 crore at the box-office. With just its first week collection, Tiger Zinda Hai has become the second highest grosser of the year after Baahubali 2.

Interestingly, the film has not just performed well in the Indian markets but has also done well internationally by earning Rs 54.79 crore in the first weekend. As per the trade gurus, the film has proved as one of the most successful films of all time.

Commenting on the film’s success, Katrina told a news source, “It feels incredible. When we set out to make Tiger Zinda Hai, we knew that we had a very good script in hand and Ali has done an outstanding job in translating the script to a mind-blowing film that is entertaining audiences of every age-group and across the nation.”

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Blockbuster Tiger Zinda Hai crosses the Rs 200 crore mark at the box-office

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Blockbuster! Tiger Zinda Hai crosses the Rs 200 crore mark at the box-office

Salman Khan and Katrina Kaif will surely be thanking their lucky stars right now with Tiger Zinda Hai becoming the highest grosser of the year 2017. Within just 7 days of its release, the film has earned more than Rs 200 crore leaving behind Ajay Devgn’s Golmaal Again. The amount Ajay’s film earned throughout its run, Bhaijaan’s film has earned more than that in a week. While Golmaal Again earned Rs 205.67 crore throughout its run, Tiger Zinda Hai has managed to cross over that mark within only 7 days by making Rs, 208 crore.

When Salman was asked to give a reason for the success of the film, the actor said, “One reason, and that’s Katrina Kaif.” On the other hand, Katrina said, “It feels incredible. When we set out to make Tiger Zinda Hai, we knew that we had a very good script in hand and Ali has done an outstanding job in translating the script to a mind-blowing film that is entertaining audiences of every age-group and across the nation. As an actor, I always want to be part of movies that audiences thoroughly enjoy and the feedback that I’m getting from audiences is overwhelming and extremely satisfying,” Thanks to team Tiger Zinda Hai, the year 2017 is ending on a high note at the box office!

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