CategoriesHackingNews

Hacker Steals User Data from Epic Games Forums

The usernames and email addresses of over 800,000 Epic Forums users were stolen by a hacker. According to Leakedsource.com, the attack happened on August 11. The hacker obtained the data by exploiting “a known SQL injection vulnerability found in an older vBulletin forum software, which allowed the hacker to get access to the full database” (ZDNet). In addition to the usernames and email addresses, the database contains scrambled passwords, IP addresses, birth dates, and activity such as posts, comments and private messages. Access tokens for Facebook were also breached. Epic Games has stated that the scrambled passwords will not be not easily crackable.

An Epic Games Spokesperson says that passwords do not need to be changed for the Unreal Engine and Unreal Tournament forum but a “compromise of our legacy forums covering Infinity Blade, UDK, previous Unreal Tournament games, and archived Gears of War forums revealed email addresses, salted hashed passwords and other data entered into the forums. If you have been active on these forums since July 2015, we recommend you change your password on any site where you use the same password.”

Epic’s Forums were also hacked last year.

CategoriesGaming

Study Suggests Gamers Have Better Academic Performance

The Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology in Australia conducted a study that tested reading, math and science skills of students who were 15 years of age. One of the factors considered in the study was how much time each student spends playing video games. The results suggested that the students who gamed most days did way better in every category, “scoring 15 points above average in math and reading, and 17 points above average in science.” (Seeker)

One argument can be made that gamers tend to do better in school because smarter kids might be more likely to play games than others (correlation does not equal causation). Additionally, kids that played games every single day without any breaks in between actually did worse on the academic tests.

The idea that gamers are smarter is nothing new. In 2004, SourceFed released a video titled “16 Ways Video Games Make You Smarter” which discusses research that demonstrates video games actually improve cognitive skills:

A similar study last year determined that gamers have more grey matter and better brain connectivity (Science Alert). Gaming can have beneficial effects on your brain such as hand-eye coordination and improved cognitive control. It is worth noting that other tasks that require skill like sports and art will have a similar effect on brain development.

CategoriesGamingVirtual Reality

Project Sansar: The “Second Life” of VR

See ya later, real life! The creator of Second Life, the socially-focused online world, is looking for 3D content creators to make “social experiences in virtual reality” (Venturebeat).

Linden Lab recently put out an application for users of 3D Studio Max, Unity and other computer graphics programs for “Project Sansar“: an online virtual world that will soon be available for VR headsets. Project Sansar aims to make “it easier than ever before to create, share, and monetize your own social VR experiences”. Applicants who are accepted will receive an invitation later this year. We learned last year in an interview with Tom’s Hardware that the creators will be able “rent simulators that will let them build any VR experience they see fit.”

Here is an interview from last August where Second Life CEO Ebbe Altberg discusses content creation within Project Sansar:

Do you need experience with coding in order to create content for this new virtual reality platform? The short answer is no. While the application hints that you will need experience in order to be accepted for the testing program, the platform is designed so that anyone can create a VR experience:

“We believe we will democratize the medium of VR, we provide all of the difficult pieces of creating VR in our platform. We are lowering the barrier of entry to content creation.” -Second Life CEO Ebbe Altberg

Like Second Life, the new virtual reality platform will allow creators to buy and sell the items they create. If you’re interested in applying for Project Sansar or getting updates about the program, please visit https://projectsansar.com/creatorpreview.

(Featured Image by Nan Palmero)

CategoriesInternetNewsPrivacySecurity

Skype Will Better Protect Users by Hiding IP Addresses

Skype has announced that in their new update, they will finally hide your IP address so that you are protected from “trolls”. This news is especially good for gamers who often find themselves DDoS’d by gaming rivals. There have been many YouTube tutorials helping Skype users find IP addresses through Skype calls. This sometimes leads to retaliation tactics against other gamers.

Here is an example of one such tutorial:

Instead of allowing users to opt-out of sharing IP addresses with contacts, Skype’s new update will automatically hide the IP address.

“Microsoft says the measure will “prevent individuals from obtaining a Skype ID and resolving to an IP address,” which won’t only protect gamers, but other Skype users who may be targeted by online trolls.” –Matt Brian, Engadget

Many believe that Skype is responding to the wishes pro-gamers have had for a long time. Some users were already using work-arounds to disguise their IP to protect themselves.

If you still need to get the latest version of Skype, you can find it here.

CategoriesGamingNews

PlayStation 5 and Xbox 2 May be Launched Earlier than 2020

Reports are coming in that suggest that Microsoft and Sony could be launching their next-generation consoles earlier than we thought. The release date for both consoles has been predicted to be 2020 based on the histories of their previous release dates, however journalists at Techspot have argued that we may be able to get them sooner for a couple of reasons:

“The typical lifecycle of a premium console is around seven years in the mainstream and another three years or so before being put out to pasture. The next consoles from Sony and Microsoft, however, are expected to break this cycle and arrive ahead of schedule due to a number of factors.” – Shawn Knight at Techspot

One such factor is the rush to move toward 4K resolution or Ultra High Definition (UHD) which will feature higher resolution, faster refresh and better color quality than the current HDTVs. Game consoles will need to keep up with this trend as more people buy these new types of televisions. Another factor is virtual reality. With the release of Oculus VR on the horizon, today’s current consoles will take a backseat to three dimensional gaming environments if they don’t keep up with new technology.

This is all good news for gamers. Additionally, if rumors hold true, Xbox fans may see their favorite console released before PS5.

“Rumours indicate that gamers will most likely see the Xbox Two in action before PlayStation 5. It was confirmed recently that the Microsoft will be working on (or may possibly even already be working on) a successor to the Xbox One. Everyone is calling it the Xbox Two.” –Patrick Mabilog – Christian Today 

This competition between manufacturers is an exciting race toward the future of gaming.