Archive | February 2012

Microsoft India backtracks, hack may have exposed customer credit card details after all

microsoft india 520x245 Microsoft India backtracks, hack may have exposed customer credit card details after all

Microsoft has performed an about-turn in India and revealed that a recent hack of its online store may have compromised credit card details belonging to customers in the country.

When the Microsoft India Store was hacked earlier this month, the company emailed its customers to assure them that “databases storing credit card details and payment information were not affected during this compromise”. However, it now appears that this is incorrect.

As Wall Street Journal columnist writes on his own blog, a new update from Microsoft, which was sent to its customers today, has rather different news:

Further detailed investigation and review of data provided by the website operator revealed that financial information may have been exposed for some Microsoft Store India customers.

Furthermore, the store itself is still down, some two weeks after the incident, suggesting that there are serious problems afoot.

ms india down 520x338 Microsoft India backtracks, hack may have exposed customer credit card details after all

Agarwal claims that Quasar Media, the company responsible for managing the online store, may have held customer data in plain text within the database. If true, it would allow the perpetrators of the attack to gain the information, and serious questions must asked as to why credit card details were not properly secured.

However, Medianama speculates that the hackers may have breached the secure payment gateway, which handles the payment process, or other found other holes in the system.

Microsoft is advising its customers who have used a credit card in the store to contact their provider and let them know the card may have been accessed. Customers are also advised to keep an eye out for any “abnormal activity”, while a helpline has been set up to provide further assistance.

The update is a serious issue for Microsoft. Not only will customers be disappointed at being given false statements, a massive question mark remains around how customer data was secured and why the store remains down.

Here are the leaked specs of Samsung’s white-hot Galaxy S III

samsung 520x245 Here are the leaked specs of Samsungs white hot Galaxy S III

With a ton of rumours surrounding the launch of Samsung’s Galaxy S III smartphone, from the actual launch date, to what to expect from the phone itself, BGR is has just reported some pretty interesting specs to wrap your head around.

With no confirmation on the predicted sleek 7mm body, 1.5 mm thinner than its predecessor, according to BGR, everything else about this phone is expected to be just as sexy as we were hoping.

It looks like the Galaxy S III will in fact become Samsung’s first quad-core smartphone, with an 8 megapixel rear-facing camera and a 2-megapixel front facing camera as we expected.

Another expectation that looks likely to come true is support for LTE networks, including 4G networks. The phone will sport a 4.8-inch full HD screen, with 1080p resolution and a 16:9 aspect ratio display.

Running Android’s latest version, Ice Cream Sandwich, the phone will feature a ceramic case. Expected to launch in May, the Samsung Galaxy S III is creating quite the bit of buzz for the Korean smartphone maker, and rightfully so.

This guy is getting a jump on the future by creating his own Facebook ID cards

fb id tbx 740 520x245 This guy is getting a jump on the future by creating his own Facebook ID cards

With a project that might seem like a novelty to most and a slight possibility for the future to others, German artist Tobias Leingruber has created, and is distributing, ID cards with your Facebook information on them.

The project is called FB Bureau, and Leingruber is handing out these futuristic identification cards at conferences in Berlin and Amsterdam next month.

Here’s how Leingruber explains the Facebook ID card:

Governments like Germany have released new passports that offer online identity checks as well, but they will likely never succeed with their technologies given the already existing structure of Facebook, powered by lazieness (or convience). The other way around though – A future where a Facebook Identity becomes more important than any governments’ doesn’t seem unrealistic. This possible future is already half-way there. What is exciting about this, what can be our role as artists and why should one even bother? Let’s find out!

What type of information does the card include? No Facebook ID would be complete without your real name, username, gender, location, and the date you joined the social network. In addition to this info, the card has a handy QR code that will send people right to your profile.

fb id card 740 520x346 This guy is getting a jump on the future by creating his own Facebook ID cards

While this identification card is pretty much useless for purposes other than vanity, Facebook Connect is easily the most popular way to connect to websites today and could become quite useful for real-world signups in the future, such as payment systems. Some think that you may even be able to vote for the President using your Facebook credentials one day.

All of this futuristic stuff might be a few years off, but Leingruber’s project definitely has us thinking towards a day where you might be asked for your Facebook ID card when trying to enter a bar or airport.

Dubbed the ‘iTunes of India’, Flipkart’s new music store takes Flyte

Flipkart launches Flyte Feb 27 2012 520x360 Dubbed the iTunes of India, Flipkarts new music store takes Flyte

Last week we brought news that Indian e-commerce giant Flipkart was preparing to launch its maiden music store, and yesterday Flyte finally went live in the country.

The store, which gives Flipkart more similarity with Amazon, the company it is often compared to, contains more than one million DRM-free MP3 files from 150,000 albums. Each track can be download at a range of quality levels, from 64kbps to 320kbps, with the latter ‘CD quality’available for 99 percent of the catalog.

The price of tracks, which can be bought individually, begins at $0.12 (6 INR) with albums priced as low as $0.51 (25 INR). Users are able to download each file four times in total, allowing them to put content on multiple devices directly from the site.

Standard payment methods, such as credit and debit cards and Internet banking, are available alongside Flipkart Wallet, the company’s own system, while gift vouchers can be redeemed on Flyte too.

Commenting on the launch, Flipkart co-founder and CEO Sachin Bansal hinted that this is just the company’s first step into the digital content space, so it seems we can expect more:

We had maintained that making digital content available was one of our focus areas and this launch marks our first step in that direction. An online music store made sense given the wide appeal this category enjoys in the country. Needless to say, all the features that delight Flipkart customers – selection, convenience and customer service will also be intrinsic to Flyte.

The site has been formed following the acquisition of streaming service Mime360 and after Flipkart purchase of a collection of bollywood content from Chakpak. Mime360 manages content for a number of the country’s biggest publishers and services, and together they give Flipkart links to much of the music industry.

Just last week, the company’s Twitter account suggested the company would move into ePublishing next, in what could be one of many new projects as it expands its horizons.

@Failgunner mp3, imminent future. ePub, near future. @slackerninja @udayvirgarg

— Flipkart (@Flipkart) February 22, 2012

Flyte has been billed as ‘India’s iTunes’ and its selection of local content will give it a strong advantage when competing the Web music establishment.

Flipkart recently welcomed new competition to its core market after retail giant Amazon rolled out Junglee, its first local offering in India. The service is currently in beta and lacking a number of features — notably on-site payment options — but it looks set to develop and offer greater rivalry with Flipkart.

As promised, The Pirate Bay officially drops torrent files for Magnet links

4971610105 0af908d1d3 z 520x245 As promised, The Pirate Bay officially drops torrent files for Magnet links

Last week, a UK court stated publicly that it found The Pirate Bay to be illegal but that wasn’t going to stop the file sharing site from operating.

In a Facebook post, it promised that it would be dropping BitTorrent links in lieu of Magnet links, which take up way less space and can’t be blocked like torrent files can:

As we’ve said before, the 29th of february is the last day we offer torrents in it’s current form. Then it will be all magnets, which works pretty much the same. Before you go “oh ma goood why why why?!!!11″, please understand that it’s a necessary move in the saga known as The Pirate Bay. Not having torrents will be a bit cheaper for us but it will also make it harder for our common enemies to stop us (which they can’t. but everything that makes it harder for them brings more lolz to our lips)

Today, The Pirate Bay has made good on its promise and has switched over to the new Magnet links:

Today marks the end of an era. Sort of.

OS X 10.8 Mountain Lion DP VMware Image download torrent TPB As promised, The Pirate Bay officially drops torrent files for Magnet linksTPB will no longer give out links to .torrent files. The reason is simple: They’re just a waste of space and our time.

Instead we’re giving you Magnet links. It’s simpler for us and no more hassle for you. It’s more resilient than .torrent files and it uses much less bandwidth for those who wants to mirror. Also, since the magnet links are just a hash, it’s on every single torrent detail page – so noone knows that you actually downloaded a file or not.

As The Pirate Bay goes on to explain, since Magnet files live on the webpage, they can’t be blocked without access being blocked to the pages completely. This will make shutting down sites that mirror The Pirate Bay even more difficult, since it will be easy to replicate the site’s directory on any type of server.

To celebrate the change to Magnet links, The Pirate Bay has temporarily altered its main search page:

The Pirate Bay The galaxy s most resilient bittorrent site 520x249 As promised, The Pirate Bay officially drops torrent files for Magnet links

Nothing changes for users, as Magnet links will fire up your favorite torrent software of choice. This is just the latest move in the cat and mouse game The Pirate Bay has been in since 2003.

Friend Manager lets you drag and drop your Facebook friends into different categories

5886225374 c57c6c1966 z 520x245 Friend Manager lets you drag and drop your Facebook friends into different categories

One of the most difficult parts about using Facebook is knowing exactly who is going to see the things that you post on your profile. It’s not the most user-friendly experience, but luckily we now have an app for that.

Friend Manager comes via former Blip.tv CEO and current Facebook Product Manager Mike Hudack and lets you drag and drop friends into three different buckets; Regular Friends, Close Friends, and Acquitances. By using the app, you’ll now have a better grasp on how to use the friends list feature on Facebook.

In the same way that Google+ has made “privacy” an afterthought with its Circles premise, Facebook friend lists hope to do the same thing. Until now, I’ve found them to be confusing but Friend Manager makes it clearer. While Hudack works at Facebook, this is an unofficial app.

Convofy 148 520x303 Friend Manager lets you drag and drop your Facebook friends into different categories

As soon as you get started, all of your friends are loaded into the “Regular Friends” or “Close Friends” bucket. The latter is automatically generated by Facebook based on your usage.

Once you start dragging and dropping friends, you’ll notice the addition of the new “Acquintances” category as an option under friends when you go to update your status:

2 Facebook 520x308 Friend Manager lets you drag and drop your Facebook friends into different categories

This is definitely a visual approach that Facebook should embrace and integrate as part of its friends list functionality. The ease of sliding people in and out of Circles has made it easy to onboard new Google+ users, and an approach like this does the same thing.

Friend Manager

Microsoft Flight is now available for free download

ms flight 520x245 Microsoft Flight is now available for free download

Ahead of its big Windows 8 event in Barcelona, due to start any minute at the time of writing, Microsoft has made Flight, its new flight simulator, available as a free download.

Making a scheduled landing today, the sim is designed as an easily accessible alternative to the full-on Flight Simulator X, and Microsoft has opted for a free-to-play model, with expansion packs being charged for.

Having taken an early look at the sim, our own Alex Wilhelm noted: “Flight will likely attract a casual audience, and given its no cost, a large one. However, this will do little to disrupt the yet popular Flight Simulator X, a game that has its own cottage industry that create modifications and models for the game.”

If you want to get flying, follow the link below to download this PC-only game.

Microsoft Flight

Microsoft Windows 8 Consumer Preview is available to download now!

As it promised, Microsoft has today made Windows 8 Consumer Preview, the beta version of its next operating system release, available to download.

At an event in Barcelona, timed to coincide with the ongoing Mobile World Congress, Microsoft is demoing the new OS, which features both a traditional Windows interface and the more tablet-focused, Windows Phone 7-inspired ‘Metro’ interface.

The operating system was unveiled at last September’s BUILD conference and after months leaks and other snippets of news dripping out, we can finally get our hands on the actual, working OS in its near-final form.

Read our liveblog from today’s event for all the details of what you can find within the Preview, ahead of the full commercial release later in the year.

Ready to dive in and try Windows 8? You can download it here, or the ISO images here.

Video: Jay Z and Kanye West’s gutted Maybach expected to fetch $100,000 [w/video]





The memory of Jay Z and Kanye West laying waste to a $350,000 Maybach for the duo’s “Otis” music videocontinues to bring a smile to our face. We’re always fans of the Mad Max treatment on any vehicle, and taking a Sawzall and a cutting torch to a ludicrously expensive luxury barge remains the stuff of our twisted fantasies. If you’ve been wondering what ever happened to the zombie Maybach, wonder no more. What’s left of the ‘Bach is officially headed to auction, with the proceeds going to Save The Children, a non-profit charity dedicated to improving the lives of children around the world. In this case, the auction will benefit families in East Africa.

How much will the cannibalized Maybach fetch once the gavel falls? Early estimates say bids could reach as high as $100,000, or less than a third of the vehicle’s total value pre-Otisification. Worth it? Well, we certainly won’t tell you how to spend your cash, but if you’re a fan of hip hop royalty and/or Save The Children, we’re inclined to think so. Hit the jump to check out the video for yourself.

Official: Kia posts first images of KH concept on Facebook

A couple of weeks ago, we shared sketches of the KH concept sedan by Kia (also called the K9 in some circles), but if you’re friends with the South Korean automaker on Facebook, you got first access to images of their flagship sedan.

As we reported before, Soon-Nam Lee, the company’s overseas marketing director, says the car will go on sale in South Korea in the first half of this year and then in most major markets soon thereafter. It’s based on the same real-wheel-drive BH platform shared by the Hyundai Genesis and Equus, and should therefore have some 5.0-liter V8 horsepower to back up its big, bold, BMW-like looks.

Before it hits the streets, though, Kia needs your help. They’re asking their Facebook fans to put on their collective thinking caps and name the stately sedan. Suggestions so far include Kratos, Stylus, Zion, Luxor, Nirvana, Decima and Panther. But we’re pretty sure Autoblog readers can come up with way better names than that.